Twitter signs exclusive multiyear NFL live content deal
- Twitter and the National Football League (NFL) announced a multiyear deal for year-round daily content curated specifically for the social media platform, according to in a news release.
- The content includes a 30-minute live digital show hosted by NFL Network talent which covers breaking news, game highlights, key storylines, fantasy projections, team power rankings and pre-game updates that will air five days a week during the season; live pre-game coverage via Periscope and Twitter, with a behind-the-scenes look at player warm-ups and sideline interviews; and a "full slate of highlights, breaking news and analysis" video clips programmed by the NFL for Twitter.
- "Twitter continues to be an important partner in accessing millions of highly engaged fans on digital media," Brian Rolapp, chief media and business officer for the NFL, said in a statement. "We have every expectation that the new daily live show, produced by NFL Network and featuring some of our top analysts, will quickly become some of the most popular programming on Twitter."
Twitter streamed 10 NFL Thursday Night Football games last season but recently lost a bid to retain the rights to that content to Amazon, which shelled out $50 million compared to the $10 million Twitter put down two years ago. Amazon's high payout reportedly included an additional $30 million in free marketing and promotions for the NFL, pointing to how much value the sports league's content has for digital streaming platforms looking to make a dent in the traditional TV arena.
Twitter might not have the leverage it did even a few years ago but obviously still wants to be a part of the NFL's plans for the long haul, especially as it continues to double down on live video offerings and seeks out fresh monetizations options following a long, tortured period of stagnant revenue growth. For the NFL, expanding its digital content to include streaming on Amazon — which is more associated with streaming traditional content then Twitter — with newer content types focused on real-time reports brings its Twitter strategy more inline with where the platform's strengths are.
The type of content NFL is now making for Twitter is especially interesting, covering the territory typically handled by the major broadcast networks in pre- and post-game coverage or specialty cable channels like ESPN. Traditional TV, on the whole, is facing declining ratings amid a trend toward cord-cutting, and powerhouses like ESPN have been hit hard in terms of subscribers, with the Disney-owned network recently cutting 100 staffers, including popular on-air personalities.
Still, TV networks are continuing to demand higher ad rates, insisting they're better at reaching targeted audiences, which might make them a less appealing marketing channel as eyeballs migrate to digital alternatives. Twitter could capitalize on that tension, offering essentially the same type of programming as TV with legitimate NFL partners, coupled with cheaper inventory. For the NFL, avenues like Twitter present an opportunity to get in front of younger audiences who don't really watch TV much at all.
The press release noted that the NFL and Twitter have collaborated since 2013 through the Amplify program.
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