Last Thursday, Twitter live streamed the first of the ten NFL games it scored in April, attracting over 2.3 million viewers in total. While a decent viewership for a digital livestream, it is but a small fraction of the 48 million viewers that watched the game on live TV. The stream averaged 243,000 viewers per minute, with each viewer watching an average of 22 minutes. For comparison, the game averaged 15.4 million viewers on CBS and NFL Network.
The livestream received some positive feedback for image quality and smooth playback, but also left some room for improvement. Specifically, some viewers complained about the delay of Twitter’s livestream compared to the live TV feed, which caused problems for the Twitter viewers who saw tweets from TV viewers in the curated Twitter feed beside the livestream video player.
Why Brands Should Care
All things considered, Twitter made a solid debut with its first NFL livestream, delivering a pleasant digital viewing experience for free. Granted, Twitter’s viewership numbers pale in comparison to those of live TV, but this is still early days for live streaming sports events. Unlike most OTT streaming services, Twitter did carry a number of ads during the broadcast, allowing brands to reach online sports fans. As it continues to build out its video products and fix the delay issue, Twitter should be able to further optimize the viewing experience and attract more viewers, especially cord-cutters and cord-nevers, to its ad-supported livestreams.