- The National Football League kicked off its season with an audience of 15.7 million viewers across all platforms from traditional TV to Twitter, according to a release put out by the organization.
- Most of those viewers came on linear TV via CBS and NFL Network, while 314,00 viewers watched via digital platforms for at least 25 minutes, resulting in a total digital reach of 2.4 million viewers.
- Drilling down into Twitter-specific numbers for the Thursday night game, 2.3 million watched the pre-game show and then the game for at least three seconds with video being 100% in view on their feeds; the average audience tuning into the social media platform at any given time during the broadcast was 243,000.
The final numbers for Twitter are somewhat disappointing in light of positive user response to the stream, but given that good buzz viewership might climb as the platform continues its planned 10 game package deal with the NFL. The brand has been betting big time on live streaming content like sports — programming that continues to largely be in the purview of linear TV despite three of the four big networks reporting drops in viewership over the past year. Twitter’s first NFL live stream also experienced technical hiccups, slightly lagging behind CBS's broadcast of the same game and subsequently causing problems for users watching the real-time feed next to the Twitter stream, according to The New York Times.
The Twitter showing of the game also caused problems for those running ad blockers, interrupting the stream with a message stating: "Ad blocking prevents this video from playing. Please disable ad blocking or try a different browser.” The message is clear and understandable given that the brand has seen slowed ad revenue growth in recent financial quarters.