Twitter Scores A Lot More NFL Content (Sans Actual Games) For Live Video

What Happened
Twitter continues its aggressive push for more live video content on its site by signing a new multi-year deal to distribute official NFL video and other types of NFL content year-round. During football season, a new half-hour live show featuring NFL network personalities will air on Twitter five nights a week. In addition, the deal also includes live pre-game coverage such as Periscope broadcasts of play warm-ups and sideline interviews that grant football fans behind-the-scene peeks. However, the deal does not contain any actual NFL game.

What Brands Need To Do
Earlier this year, Twitter lost the bid to stream the NFL’s Thursday Night Football games this year to Amazon. But the microblogging service has been adamant in ramping up the video content on its site, as it works with Bloomberg Media to launch a 24/7 live news channel and signed content deals with 12 digital publishers for more original content earlier this month. Twitter is hoping these new video content will attract enough viewers to sell video ads against, and its ad-supported live video provides brand marketers with a valuable channel to reach sport fans, especially those whose viewing habits have shifted away from traditional linear TV and are therefore hard to reach via TV ads.


Source: TechCrunch

Amazon Prime Wins Streaming Rights Of NFL Thursday Night Games

What Happened
Amazon has reportedly shelled out around $50 million to livestream ten NFL games of the new season, five times more than what Twitter paid last year. Interestingly, Amazon won’t stream the games to anyone who wants to watch online for free as Twitter did. Instead, the NFL Thursday night games will be a new addition to the ever-growing list of perks for Amazon Prime members.

What Brands Need To Know
On a larger picture, this deal signals the continuing shift of live sports viewing from TV to online streaming. Amazon reportedly beat out the likes of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube for the bid, which underscores how determined the ecommerce giant is about growing out its streaming offering. The decision to only allow Prime members to stream this also points to the company’s core strategy that positions the membership program as the lynchpin for fostering customer loyalty.

This marks a very different approach than Twitter, who bought the rights last year to raise its profile as a live-streaming platform and generating revenues from selling the ad slots allocated for local TV ads at a high price. In comparison, Amazon wouldn’t necessarily be interested in selling ads (although it could very well use those ad slots to promote its services and original shows.) Researches have shown that Prime members on average spend two times more than regular shoppers on Amazon every year. Therefore, it makes sense that Amazon would pay the big bucks to secure the live-streaming rights of NFL games and use it to drive signups and retain subscriptions for Prime. Other brands should learn a thing or two from Amazon’s strategy and start thinking about ways to improve and integrate their loyalty programs so as to establish a long-term relationship with customers.


Source: Re/Code

NFL Teams Up With Google For Original VR Series

What Happened
Continuing its experiments with VR content, the NFL announced it is expanding its partnership with Google to develop a nine-part VR series that will offer viewers a 360-degree perspective of life in and around the NFL. This marks the league’s first foray into producing content in virtual reality. The series will be available to watch via the NFL channel on YouTube, with the first episode scheduled to debut on Thanksgiving Day, as well as via the NFL VR app for Daydream, Google’s upcoming affordable mobile-powered VR headset.

What Brands Should Do
As more and more brand marketers rush into VR to capitalize on the booming popularity of the emerging medium, many fail to come up with a sustainable, long-term VR strategy that fits their brand. The NFL, however, avoid this rather short-sighted approach by developing this multi-episode VR series, which could attract more football fans to try out VR viewing. Brands should take a cue and start developing VR content that truly enhances brand messaging and contributes to the campaign objectives.

The Lab currently has four VR headsets — an Oculus Rift, an HTC Vive, and two Samsung Gear VRs — ready for demos. Virtual reality is something that has to be experienced to be understood, so come by the Lab and ask for a VR demo to get a hands-on experience and figure out how your brand can use it to excite and engage with consumers.


Source: TechCrunch

Guess How Much Twitter Is Selling Its NFL Ad Packages At

What Happened
Twitter, which struck a deal with the National Football League (NFL) to exclusively live stream 10 games this season, has been reportedly hawking their NFL ad packages for as much as $8 million. The 10-game bundle is said to include in-stream commercials with sponsorships of NFL highlights. Brands and agencies can also go for a $2 million package which does not include ad spots during the game, but instead gives advertisers pre-roll spots on other NFL content shared on Twitter. So far, it has sold half the live-stream inventory to sponsors, including Sony, Budweiser, Ford, and Nestlé, and it is promising category exclusivity to the big spenders to sweeten the deal.

Why Brands Should Care
It is interesting to see how Twitter is essentially acting like a TV network as it tries to figure out the bundling and pricing of its valuable yet limited NFL-related ad offerings. The microblogging service reportedly paid around $10 million to secure the simulcast rights for the 10 Thursday night games, a cost that should be easy to recoup if it manages to sell the ad bundles at their reported pricing. As Twitter pushes for more video ads, brand advertisers and agencies should keep an eye on this development as it may set a precedent for future ad buying in sports live streams.


Source: Digiday

YouTube To Get More NFL Content Including Full-Length Games

What Happened
The National Football League has struck a multiyear renewal of their partnership with YouTube to expand the content they provide YouTube with, including, for the first time ever, full-length games. Under the expanded deal, the NFL will post a total of 96 games to its official YouTube channel, and it will increase the number of in-game highlight clips it uploads to YouTube. That being said, YouTube will not be getting live NFL game simulcasts, the rights of which the NFL has awarded to Twitter.

What Brands Need To Do
With consumers increasingly migrating from consuming media content on TV sets to streaming on their mobile devices, it makes sense that the NFL is following the eyeballs and putting more content on YouTube. Last week, YouTube reported that it now reaches more audience in the coveted 18-49 demo than the top 10 TV shows combined during primetime. For brands, this means it is time to consider reallocating their ad spending between digital and TV, and leverage YouTube’s massive audience to reach more online consumers.


Source: Variety


Twitter Won Rights To Live-Stream Ten NFL Games

What Happened
Twitter has won digital simulcast rights for the NFL’s Thursday Night Football package for 2016, which includes the ten NFL games that will be broadcasted by NBC and CBS as well as pre-game warmup broadcasts on Periscope. Twitter will be live-streaming the games globally for free without requiring sign-in, and reportedly will be selling one-third of the ad inventory itself.

The news came after month-long rumors of front-running bidders for the NFL live-streaming rights, which included Verizon, Amazon, Yahoo, and Facebook. This deal marks a continuation of Twitter’s ongoing partnership with the NFL, which started in 2013 when the social network struck a deal to publish game highlights and video clips.

What Brands Need To Do
With consumers increasingly migrating from consuming media content on TV sets to streaming on their mobile devices, it makes sense that media owners and brand advertisers are following the eyeballs. Live sports events are one of the last bastions against the ratings erosion that the TV networks have suffered from in recent years. As this and Yahoo’s similar deal with the MLB indicate, live sports viewing may soon shift toward digital and consequently eat into TV ratings. For brands, this means it is time to consider reallocating their ad spending between digital and TV. Brands with an international presence can also leverage Twitter’s global reach to get in front of a wider audience.  

To read more on how brands can reach the audiences on OTT streaming platforms, please check out the Appified TV section in our Outlook 2016.


Source: Bloomberg

Yahoo’s NFL Stream Proves Livestreaming Sports Is Still A Few Years Away

What Happened
On Sunday, Yahoo livestreamed the NFL game it acquired for about $17 million by putting it on the homepage of its website and setting to autoplay. The livestream drew 15.2 million unique viewers overall, but only averaged 2.36 million viewers throughout the game, significantly less than what NFL games usually get on TV. While no major disruption or technical issue occurred during the game, Yahoo’s livestream received mixed reviews from the viewers, who took to Twitter to voice their dissatisfactions, mostly over the fact that they couldn’t watch it on TV.  

Market Impact
All things considered, Yahoo’s livestream of the Bills-Jaguars game is a well-executed experiment that the NFL tried in order to gauge the viability of broadcasting its content online. Judging by the largely mixed results, it looks like the ecosystem of sports watching – where many viewers still prefer to watch it on TV either in sports bars or at home – has yet to catch up with the TV industry’s shift towards OTT viewing. The average viewership number suggests that moving sports event online is still at least a few years away from reality.


Source: Re/Code

NFL Brings Real-Time Broadcasts To Internet Radio TuneIn

What Happened
The NFL has become the latest sports league to broadcast their content via Internet-based audio services. On Sunday, the NFL announced a partnership with TuneIn, which will carry daily coverage of NFL games through its $7.99-per-month premium subscription. Previously, NFL’s live audio broadcasts were only available on Westwood One radio network and satellite radio service SiriusXM. TuneIn boasts 60 million monthly active users, and this new partnership will no doubt increase the reach of the NFL’s audio content, while helping TuneIn to sell more subscriptions. Previously, the MLB stroke a similar deal with TuneIn in August.

What Brands Need To Do
Branded audio content typically gets distributed as free podcasts. For instance, ESPN publishes several podcasts per day on its website to update fans on sports results, whereas Chanel has a catalog of branded podcasts on fashion news available via the iTunes store. This NFL-TuneIn deal provides a new example of how brands can distribute and monetize their audio content. According to Pandora, Millennials today spend 4 hours per day consuming audio content. Brands with premium audio content, such as live media events or sports, should consider broadening their reach with similar partnerships with popular OTT audio services.


Source: The Verge

IPG Media Lab + DIRECTV: Annual Survey Of The American Football Consumer

Click here to download our survey report.

Live sports broadcasting is arguably the last bastion for live TV viewing. and NFL Football accounts for 1/3 of sports viewing. IPG Media Lab and DIRECTV partnered on an annual “Survey of the American Football Consumer,” which is designed to measure the following:

  • The NFL Viewing Experience
  • NFL Fans’ Passion for the Game
  • Consumption Habits of NFL Fans
  • Brand Relevance to NFL Audiences

To learn more on how to fully connect with American football fans, download and read our survey report here, or read the slides below.



RFID Tracking Chip To Be Placed On Every NFL Player

You get a tracker. And you get a tracker. Everybody in the NFL games is getting a tracker! Oprah jokes aside, the trend towards big data has made its way to another stats-friendly domain: sports. The National Football League announced today that it is teaming up with Zebra Technology to deploy in-game player tracking chips in 17 stadiums for the 2014 season, effectively generating a myriad of proprietary new statistics in real time.

Two RFID chips will be place on each player’s shoulder pads and will provide various data, including positioning velocity, acceleration, distance run, and impact measurements, to Zebra’s real-time location system (RTLS). This move could transform the way teams and fans evaluate the personal performance of every NFL player, potentially changing the way America watches its favorite sport.