Twitter announced in April that it had acquired the digital streaming rights to 10 of the NFL’s Thursday night football games. Since then, the micro-blogging firm has been pursuing more of the same but hasn’t found anything related (or we can say relevant).
Deals that do not count
One might think otherwise when observing the recent headlines about Twitter’s live-streaming deals. Foremost, the micro-blogging firm declared its first deal with Wimbledon, and after that, it partnered with Bloomberg, and then with CBS, and then with Pac12 Networks. Then on Tuesday, it announced a deal with the NBA.
The way Twitter is developing its version of a cable network reaching wide masses over the Internet for free is actually striking and inspiring.
“Instead, it’s delivering something else: 10 NFL games, and then a bunch of fringe content — leftover stuff that might fill some time if you’re bored, but certainly won’t drive mainstream audiences like an NFL game would,” states Re/code.
Twitter’s Wimbledon deal does not include any live match footage, and its NBA deal too lacks live game broadcasts, while the Pac12 Network includes packages like water polo, wrestling and ice hockey, but the deal lacks football or basketball games. Twitter’s CBS deal, which gave it live coverage of the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, “was made of content from CBSN, the network’s free digital news service —- not the same stuff you see on prime-time TV,” according to Re/code.
Some benefits for Twitter
The upside to this is that Twitter is getting video content for its platform. It also gives Twitter a chance to prove to technicians and their ad teams that it can deliver such content to its subscribers and then deliver eyeballs to marketers. Since Twitter can do that, there is always a chance to get more valuable streams down the line.
Twitter doesn’t see itself as a TV competitor but instead as an alternative platform for TV networks to reach audiences they were missing out on.
“A significant percentage of our audience is 18- to 24-year-olds and 18- to 34-year-olds, and those are the cohorts that have never signed up for pay television or are deciding not to continue with pay television,” Twitter CFO Anthony Noto told Re/code.
Meanwhile, Twitter is struggling as its user base is no longer growing, and it hopes these streams will drive new users to its platform.