No, it’s not a lifeline to the content industry since while it does mean more people may view the photo or video that’s shared the speed at which things get co-opted on Twitter means a fraction of the audience will actually attribute it to the original creator. There are certainly great things about it but unless you can turn those casual video watchers into engaged fans who are visiting the source website on a regular basis this is a pretty flimsy lifeline. And that’s part of why it’s unlikely the new features will help publishers monetize their material in any new or substantive way.
But while this is certainly cool functionality and a great idea for publishers since media almost always is more engaging, it’s easier to argue that Twitter is simply looking to be the new platform publishers pay more attention to. And, like other platforms, it’s actually looking to take audience attention away from the sites that originally publish content.
That’s not a malicious intent. Twitter conversations would soon become very dry if there were no more New York Times or other newspapers or magazines to link to. But it’s just that point that’s at the heart of this change: Instead of the main action that a reader on Twitter can take being to click a link and go read the story, watch the video or some such this is all now contained within the Twitter experience.
Granted this is still less of a power grab than some other social networks have instituted. But publishers of any stripe need to be sure they’re tracking how audience behaviors are changing in the wake of new features introduced by Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or any other platform where they’re looking to engage with the audience, distribute their own material and otherwise interact.