Twitter is in discussions with Apple to launch a Twitter app for the Apple TV that will allow users to watch NFL games on Apple’s set-top box, reports The New York Times. The micro-blogging platform owns the rights to stream Thursday night National Football League games this season.
Twitter exploring ways to stream content
Apart from the NFL, the micro-blogging giant has been striking deals for other live-streaming content also. Even though Twitter’s strategy for live-streaming is not “fully-formed” yet, the social network is thinking about how to bring that content to users, either in the Moments tab or on the main timeline of the current application for different platforms.
Twitter has directed its Chief Financial Officer, Anthony Noto, a former Goldman Sachs banker with strong ties to the sports media industry, to spearhead the charge on live-streaming. In addition, the micro-blogging giant has assigned an engineering team to create its streaming video player, reports The New York Times.
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Chief Executive Jack Dorsey believes streaming is an important component of Twitter’s focus “on ‘live’ experiences, along with Periscope, its app that allows smartphone users to live-stream video.”
Facebook was in the running for NFL games
To gauge interest in the streaming rights for Thursday Night Football, the NFL had requested bids from a number of companies, including Apple. However, the tech giant declined to offer any bid. Alongside other tech companies, Facebook and Twitter went head to head in March in bidding for the rights to live-stream Thursday Night NFL games. The micro-blogging site eventually emerged as the winner.
Citing two people familiar with the matter, The New York Times said that the NFL observed disadvantages with other offers. For example, Facebook had set extreme terms under which it wanted to sell all the ads that would air during the football games. This basically meant removing the business relationship between the NFL and advertisers.
Interestingly, Twitter was ready to pay $10 million to the NFL to stream 10 games and sell just a part of the ad inventory. The San Francisco-based company wanted the Thursday night games because of their popularity. Last season, every single game drew around 13 million viewers.
Noto, who helped forge the streaming deal, said, “Having that live programming every night when sports are playing — with no paywall, no logging in and directly from the source — that’s key to us.”
Twitter will live-stream its first Thursday Night Football game on September 15 when the New York Jets visit the Buffalo Bills.