Several of the big playing digital companies — like Amazon and Verizon, were seen as front-runners to live stream 10 Thursday night NFL games, in the upcoming season. However, when the final whistle sounded, a surprising underdog named Twitter put up the low winning bid of $10 million.
Although there have been declining TV ratings, it seems the numbers for sporting events (like the NFL) and other live TV events are still drawing many millions of viewers.
The recent trends in cord-cutting are massive and have significant implications for how we’ll consume media not just over the next few years, but also decades.
Why This Such a Big Development:
Yahoo’s recent success with live streaming NFL games last season, and now with this Twitter deal demonstrates how the two sides are following the eyeballs. Yahoo’s live stream last season of a Buffalo-Jacksonville game saw 33.6 million video streams and 15.2 million unique viewers. Furthermore, this led to major traffic spread across Yahoo’s other channels.
Other social media publishers are remodelling their own platforms to make them more video-friendly. Google has launched YouTube Red, allowing users to disable ads and feature original content. With Snapchat and Periscope users can send videos and images to each other in an instant. Facebook has also recently launched its new Video Hub, which introduces new video content from a variety of brands and users. Also, the big push from Facebook for 360 Video and Live Video speaks volumes to how much the company is prioritising video moving forward.
Therefore, it must be said that Twitter has taken a major step forward with this deal by launching a new live product with what is seen as one of the world’s leading brands – the NFL. However, it does remain to be seen how many users will actually visit the site to see those Thursday night games.
Could This Solve Twitter’s Growth and User Acquisition Problem?
Currently, viewers do not have to be registered Twitter users in order to watch the live games. However, Twitter isn’t only relying on streaming the games to boost user growth; it’s also releasing exclusive and extensive content that will include; game highlights and pre-game broadcasts on Periscope from the players and teams. This will not only keep users streaming but also interested in the unique second-screen experience that Twitter is providing.
How Twitter is planning to Monetize Games Effectively
One thing Twitter has always been great with is capturing the spirit of live events in real time with its ad product suite. Through event, keyword/hashtag and TV targeting, Twitter has enabled brands to tap into this, and target users who are watching in real-time and interacting with these events.
Twitter is also continuing to roll out new product suites that could allow for this to be a successful enterprise for all types of advertisers. With a combination of its existing product suite and a focus on pre-roll and video retargeting, Twitter really is looking to generate a big ROI for its advertisers.
So, What Happens Next?
Online content producers will look to this Twitter deal with the NFL as a precedent for receiving compensation for the content they are creating. Will this significantly increase the value of influencer content?
This deal is also going to raise questions, such as:
- Will other large companies and social media platforms follow Twitter’s deal?
- Where does this place the NBA, NHL, or even live concert streams?
- Will Netflix and Hulu through their hats in the ring for live events?
- Will this destroy the pay-per-view system if users can access this content for free via their social media channels?
- Will users still use cable to watch live events, when they can be accessed in a more mobile-friendly world?
- What does this mean for TV?
- How will this affect advertising analysis and social media marketing in the future?
It’s obviously too early to answer these questions. But the one thing we do know is; Twitter – a social network that pundits like to bash, has gotten back in the game, literally and figuratively.