CANNES — Who you calling niche?
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo answered critics on Friday who say the micro-blogging site doesn’t reach a wide enough audience, claiming that over 3 billion tweets about Ellen’s Oscar selfie were shared within 48 hours of the event.
“We are as scalable as it is profitable — infinitely,” said Costolo responding to a question from interviewer Martin Sorrell, the chief executive of WPP, the UK advertising and public relations firm.
“Twitter is the only platform that’s public and widely distributed,” Costolo added, noting that the eight-year old San Francisco company would be investing more heavily in distribution and syndication of its content.
“When we talk about Twitter in terms of audience, it’s absolutely a mainstream service,” the tech executive said. Costolo also is focusing Twitter on in-the-moment-commerce, and how Twitter can point people to products.
The QA with Sorrell, which also included Viacom CEO, Philippe Dauman, took place at the Cannes Lions confab here, the annual gathering of the world’s brightest advertising executives.
Twitter is partnering with Billboard magazine to create real time Top 40 in-the-moment that could spur download sales, Costolo said. The ad industry should be paying much more attention to the business models around short form content, he said.
When asked for an example of business models worthy of being studies, Costolo pointed to events and tours involving new digital video talent.
The 50-year old CEO, who has led Twitter since October 2010, more than three years before it went public, said the wide reach of the 140-character message system was also evident in Spanish town of Jun, a suburb of Grenada, where the Mayor governs and solicits feedback from citizens on all kind of topics via Twitter and the police wear Twitter handles on their uniforms.
People can also make restaurant reservations and transact with official government with their Twitter handles.
As Twitter pushed to expand international revenues, Costolo touched upon China, the biggest market the company has yet to tap.
“We would love to operate in China but we are blocked like Facebook,” said Costolo.