Social Media

Now coming to Twitter—more NFL highlights

Cramer: Why NFL-Twitter deal is good

The National Football League will distribute about 100 clips a week on Twitter, including highlights and instant replays—about twice the content the NFL distributed in its previous deal with the social network.

The focus of the agreement, announced Monday, will be in-game highlights—designed to build on the idea that Twitter is a real-time companion for television. The deal will be twice as long as the previous agreement between the league and social media site—two years, starting with the preseason. Twitter will try to sell advertisers the ability to sponsor NFL content created specifically for Twitter.

The overarching theme is that you have over 300 million monthly active uniques and a great international platform.
Vishal Shah
VP of media strategy and business development, National Football League

Shares of Twitter, which lost half their value since April and are scraping above their 52-week low, were more than 3.5 percent higher on Monday. The stock lost ground last week on slow user growth.

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"This deal will get NFL fans on Twitter more content and more kinds of NFL content than ever seen before—by a huge measure," said Glenn Brown, Twitter's head of content partnerships and Amplify, the company's video advertising product. Brown said NFL content is some of the most valuable content on Twitter—the league's videos have as much as 20 times the engagement that average videos do.

Brandon Browner of the New England Patriots breaks up a pass intended for Chris Matthews of the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX, February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.
Getty Images

"For both users and brand clients, NFL content is the top-performing stuff we've ever seen," he said. "About one-fifth of users who see an NFL video Tweet will actually watch it. It's significant both financially, and in terms of user experience."

In a key distinction from the previous deal, Twitter will do all the ad-selling, Previously, it co-sold the ads with partners.

Neither the NFL nor Twitter would share the terms of the deal, other than saying that the NFL will contribute its licensed content, then Twitter will share the revenue back to the NFL, with certain threshold requirements that make it worth the NFL's while.

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"When we posted NFL content we saw best-in-class engagement rates," said Vishal Shah, the NFL's VP of media strategy and business development. "How do we widen the content selection and make it more comprehensive in terms of the highlights, and combine that with new discovery features?"

Shah said the deal is different than any existing Amplify relationship for Twitter, in that it's "always-on content" that runs 24/7.

Asked whether the NFL has concerns about Twitter's stagnating growth, Shah said "that platform isn't going anywhere."

The NFL has more than 12.5 million followers on its primary Twitter account. "The overarching theme is that you have over 300 million monthly active uniques and a great international platform," Shah said.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the number of unique followers on the NFL's primary Twitter account.