Sept. 26, 2013 -- Adding to the ballyhoo of Twitter's planned initial public offering, the social media company announced a partnership with the National Football League that will give sports fans another "second screen" to view content.
Starting with "Thursday Night Football" today and seven days a week, football fans can access content from the NFL through a new Twitter program called Amplify, which will provide "customized NFL video content, created specifically for the Twitter platform" on desktops, tablets and smartphones, according to the NFL's statement. The content will include in-game highlights, news, analysis, and fantasy football advice.
The deal is the first time the NFL has partnered with a social platform, the league says.
Santosh Rao, senior analyst and head of research with Greencrest Capital Management, said Amplify will bring Twitter incremental revenue that it needs to grow in addition to its main streams of advertising revenue including promoted tweets, promoted trends and promoted accounts.
"In general, investors need to know your plan to grow your revenue base," Rao said. "They really can't just stay here."
Twitter may hope that programs like Amplify will sustain revenue growth.
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Twitter first announced the name Amplify in May, though it had already marketed what it called "social TV conversation with real-time, dual-screen sponsorships and in-Tweet video clips from broadcasters." ESPN and Ford Fusion were the first to partner with Twitter in this space.
While the NFL partnership isn't groundbreaking, Rao said Twitter's strategy is "lucrative" because the company is tapping into television's large advertising market.
One of Twitter's advantages in growth is that it already has a strong business model and user base that relies on mobile use. As a comparison, Facebook initially struggled to grow its mobile revenue.
"The NFL has always been at the forefront of media innovation and this is the next step in that evolution," Adam Bain, president of global revenue for Twitter, said in a statement. "Having access to this type of highly coveted content on Twitter will not only offer our users a unique programming schedule which will deepen their engagement with our platform but will also provide our sponsors with a value proposition that few other partners can bring to the table."
A spokesman for Twitter declined to comment on the financial details of the partnership.
Brian Rolapp, chief operating officer for NFL Media, said partnering with Twitter will reach millions of "highly engaged fans."
"With consumption habits shifting to mobile devices and companion experiences alongside broadcasts of our games, this partnership will provide us an additional channel to reach those users which is completely complementary to our flagship mobile product, NFL Mobile from Verizon," Rolapp said in a statement.