Twitter Inc is reportedly in talks with Apple Inc. to launch an app for Apple TV to live stream National Football League (NFL) games. The new Twitter app will let millions of Apple TV users watch the streaming NFL games, The New York Times reported, citing two people familiar with the discussions. In a detailed report, the Times discussed Twitter’s successful effort to win live streaming rights for Thursday night NFL games this season.
Live Streaming To Attract Users and Advertisers
The social media company’s financial outlook looks pretty good, but it is struggling to gain new users. The company posted second-quarter total revenue of $602 million, up 20% year-over-year, but missing analysts’ estimates of $607 million. Advertising revenue came in at $535 million, up 18% year-over-year. The company was able to beat analysts’ estimates for monthly active users in the last quarter, with total monthly active users increasing to 313 million.
Twitter Inc sees big opportunities in live video streaming. Aside from sports events, the company is also planning to stream entertainment and political videos and shows.
The microblogging network is focusing on live streaming to turn “itself into a mainstream internet destination after other efforts have failed,” the Times said in its report.
“Live streaming could finally broaden Twitter’s appeal, attracting an even wider audience. And perhaps more important, live events would be another way to sell video ads. If streaming football or basketball games on Twitter’s mobile apps and on desktop computers, along with other platforms, draws viewers, the company could sell more video ads, which typically command a premium,” the report reads.
Twitter will pay about $10 million to stream 10 NFL games. Under the deal, the social media company agree to sell only a portion of the ad inventory exclusively. Twitter was interested in the Thursday night games because each game drew an average of 13 million viewers last season.
The company’s first Thursday Night football live stream will take place on September 15, when the New York Jets meet the Buffalo Bills.
Twitter Push For Live Steaming
Twitter has inked a series of live-streaming deals, including with Wimbledon, CBS News, the National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League and Pac-12 Networks. Recently, the company signed a deal with Sky Sports to show Premier League football videos this upcoming season. Under the agreement with Sky Sports, the social media company will stream top-flight Premier League highlights and goals.
Twitter CFO Anthony Noto, a former Goldman Sachs banker with deep links to the sports media industry and NFL, is leading the company’s efforts for live streaming. The social media company has also engaged an engineering team to build its own streaming video player.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey believes that streaming is a critical component of the company’s focus on “live” experiences. The company’s Periscope app also allows smartphone users to live-stream video.
According to the report, Twitter will face competition from Snapchat and social media giant Facebook in live streaming. Both companies are also working on deals with media companies to acquire live-streaming rights to sporting events and entertainment. Instagram, part of Facebook, is also testing live products. All of the companies wants to boost their revenues from video advertising dollars. Marketers are gradually shifting to online video promotions from television ads.
Mr. Noto believes Twitter will be able to lure and retain more users by bringing sports, politics and entertainment shows to its platform.