Twitter continued its push into original content with a NFL deal that will include a 30-minute live show on the the social media site. The deal also includes highlights and pregame content and breaking news. The NFL will produce the show and Twitter will handle distribution — AKA Twitter will post and promote it on their site. The deal shows that Twitter is serious about moving more into original content to maintain their foothold on users who are sports fans.
This isn’t the first deal Twitter has with a professional league. Earlier this year, Twitter announced something similar with the NBA. Basically Twitter is turning into a live distribution platform that will have shows similar to what people consume on television. For cord cutters this is a nice win, and for people with cable — and second screen addictions — it is a nice add-on.
Twitter has pivoted hard towards providing more and more video content. Once the platform merged Periscope into users timelines it gave content creators and internet personalities an easier way to reach an audience.
Using the logic that live sports content brings large audiences, the tech company is turning itself into more of a distribution platform than a 140-character social chatter community laden with Twitter eggs, trolls, and polar arguments.
This should benefit Twitter because this type of content is more engaging. Advertisers should feel comfortable knowing that people will even tune in for a few minutes to see what is happening live. Twitter also provides more information on the user than advertising on television. In fact, they can execute specific targeted ads to users who will be more engaged and probably provide a greater ROI than stereotypical and traditional advertising.
The leagues benefit as well. The more they are ready for the growing digital consumption demographic the better. This has happened before. Ratings fell on broadcast networks when cable channels emerged. Now ratings are falling on cable channels as people consume more content on their phones, tablets and connected devices. This is a way to scrape back that audience.
For all the criticism Twitter has faced from shareholders and users, it seems to be on solid footing when it comes to sports content.