NFL and Amazon Sign Deal to Stream Thursday Night Games

The National Football League has signed a one-year agreement to stream 10 Thursday night games via Amazon in a deal insiders say is valued in the $50 million range (about five times the value of last season’s deal with Twitter). The games streamed for free on Twitter, but the Amazon deal will stream only to Prime members. Globally, more than 60 million consumers pay the annual $99 fee for Amazon Prime with perks including two-day shipping and access to movies, TV shows and music. The NFL deal is not exclusive; Thursday night games are split between CBS and NBC for television broadcasts, and are also made available on the NFL Network. Continue reading NFL and Amazon Sign Deal to Stream Thursday Night Games

Facebook Signs Exclusive Streaming Deal with MLS, Univision

As part of Facebook’s strategy to expand its video business, the social network is looking to stream professional sporting events. Most recently, Facebook signed an agreement with Major League Soccer and Univision that will give the social platform exclusive, English-language streaming rights for a minimum of 22 regular season games in the U.S. The games will stream via Univision Deportes’ Facebook page, and the exclusive “Matchday Live” analysis shows produced by Major League Soccer will air on the MLS Facebook page. The first match-up is slated to stream this Saturday. Continue reading Facebook Signs Exclusive Streaming Deal with MLS, Univision

Native Video and Live Streaming Crucial to Facebook Strategy

Since 25 percent of U.S. Internet users adopted ad blockers in 2016, native video is becoming increasingly important to marketers and brands. Native video is also one of the primary reasons that a new wave of user-generated content and influencer marketing has become so relevant. According to a new study from social analytics firm Quintly, native videos are dominating Facebook, and doing so by design. The social network is becoming a major player in the video realm by downplaying other platforms and introducing auto plays in feeds as a default. The company is also starting its pursuit of live streaming professional broadcasts, including sports. Continue reading Native Video and Live Streaming Crucial to Facebook Strategy

2016 Presidential Race Breaks Internet, Social Media Records

The 2016 U.S. presidential election broke the record as the biggest single live Internet event ever carried by Akamai Technologies and the biggest Internet audience for any news event ever. The company reports that live video streaming related to the election reached 7.5 terabits per second just before midnight Eastern Time on November 8. President Obama’s 2009 inauguration topped out at 1.1 Tbps, as a comparison. European soccer finals this summer, at 7.3 Tbps, held the previous record for live streaming. Continue reading 2016 Presidential Race Breaks Internet, Social Media Records

Activision Blizzard Plans E-Sports League Around ‘Overwatch’

Activision Blizzard, the biggest videogame company in the U.S. by market value, is taking steps to create an e-sports league that more closely resembles a traditional sports league. The company is in conversation with more than 100 e-sports and traditional sports teams to drum up interest in a league for its game “Overwatch” that would function like the National Football League. Competitive videogaming has gained in popularity and viewership, heading towards an estimated 10 percent of all U.S. sports viewing by 2020. Continue reading Activision Blizzard Plans E-Sports League Around ‘Overwatch’

GoPro Doubles Down on Entertainment with 32 New Programs

GoPro has been in the content business for some time, making money with branded video (including partnerships with Ford and Wimbledon), a content licensing portal (especially action-sports clips shot with GoPro), and a YouTube channel with more than 4 million subscribers and 1.25 billion video views. Now, GoPro is committing to entertainment in a new way: launching 32 short-form shows through the end of 2016 and into early 2017. The company is differentiating itself from rivals by offering video editing tools in the cloud. Continue reading GoPro Doubles Down on Entertainment with 32 New Programs

VR Companies Learn the Ropes in Broadcasting Live Sports

Sports coverage in virtual reality is gaining momentum. Jaunt VR, NextVR and IM360 have all shown virtual reality applications for professional baseball, basketball, football, soccer and Daytona 500 auto racing. But sports coverage in VR creates new and unique challenges for producers. For example, VR cameras can’t zoom — a common practice in typical sports coverage — meaning the camera has to be as close to the players as possible, easy for boxing but a tougher proposition for, say, football. Continue reading VR Companies Learn the Ropes in Broadcasting Live Sports

What Twitter’s NFL Deal Means For Live Sports on TV, Online

Twitter’s acquisition of the rights for “Thursday Night Football” shows that a social media platform can compete with traditional broadcasters for the highest value of all TV rights deals. Although it’s not clear whether the deal indicates that more non-traditional deals are in the offing, one thing is certain: because sports organizations want viewers to be able access their events on any device at any time, they lead other content owners in figuring out what the new viewing ecosystem might look like. Continue reading What Twitter’s NFL Deal Means For Live Sports on TV, Online

DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

Although Super Bowl 50 was broadcast only in HD, now media outlets are beginning to deliver live sports in 4K Ultra HD. AT&T’s DirecTV says it plans to deliver as many as 25 MLB Network games live in the new format this year, although its 4K Ultra HD will not feature high dynamic range (HDR). Sony reports it just accomplished a 4K Ultra HD (with HDR) test broadcast on a February 10 soccer match between Mexico and Senegal, in Miami’s Marlin Park. Last year, about 6.3 million UHD TV sets shipped in North America. Continue reading DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

Why Action Sports Dominate Mobile Viewing Time of Millennials

The National Football League is starting its own YouTube channel and Major League Baseball, which began streaming games online 13 years ago, bought the rights to manage the National Hockey League’s Web operations. But action sports — including surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding — rule millennials’ viewing time on their mobile phones. Although Americans are still watching less video on mobile phones than traditional TV, action sports on mobile channels is a parallel universe of sports viewing and is likely to remain so. Continue reading Why Action Sports Dominate Mobile Viewing Time of Millennials

Live Streaming Takes Center Stage on New NBC Sports Website

NBC Sports Digital launched a redesigned site that emphasizes live sports broadcasting, including “Sunday Night Football” games. The site, which is live this week, highlights a total of 2,700 streamed-live events this year and 4,000 next year with the Summer Olympic Games in Rio. This year’s live streaming events include NFL games, the Stanley Cup, NASCAR, English Premiere League soccer and Golf Channel content. Although advertising revenue from the website is small relative to linear TV, executives are excited about its prospects. Continue reading Live Streaming Takes Center Stage on New NBC Sports Website

Fox to Debut Real-Time Highlight Show for Champions League

Beginning next week, Fox Sports will add a fast-paced, real-time highlight show to its UEFA Champions League coverage. “Multimatch 90” will jump live, or via immediate replay, to the match-changing moments from up to eight contests throughout the group stage. The 32-team tournament is the preeminent competition for club football and represents the first opportunity for Fox to demonstrate its readiness for the 2018 World Cup, its first since outbidding ESPN for the broadcast rights. Continue reading Fox to Debut Real-Time Highlight Show for Champions League

Netflix Reports Strong Q2 Earnings, Unveils International Plans

Netflix reported second quarter earnings higher than analysts’ estimates, and announced that original series “Orange Is the New Black” helped lift its number of subscribers past 50 million. Net income more than doubled to $71 million, while sales grew 25 percent. Netflix added 570,000 domestic streaming customers, bringing its U.S. total to 36.2 million. During the quarter, the company raised fees $1 to $2 a month for new customers of its online service to help finance original content. Continue reading Netflix Reports Strong Q2 Earnings, Unveils International Plans

World Cup: New Records for ABC, Univision, Facebook, Twitter

The numbers keep rolling in for the FIFA World Cup. Last week we reported that the Germany-Brazil semifinal set new viewing records and knocked out this year’s Super Bowl for the most Twitter activity during a sports event. Now it’s being reported that Sunday’s championship match between Germany and Argentina drew 30 million U.S. viewers, shattering the previous record for a final, thanks in part to the Spanish-language audience. Additionally, new usage records were set for Twitter and Facebook. Continue reading World Cup: New Records for ABC, Univision, Facebook, Twitter

FIFA World Cup Sets TV Viewing and Social Media Records

While the FIFA World Cup continues to break viewing records around the globe, a new record was set during Germany’s stunning 7-1 victory over Brazil in the semifinals. The match marked the most Twitter activity around a single sports event ever, easily surpassing this year’s Super Bowl. At 24.9 million tweets, February’s Super Bowl between the Seahawks and the Broncos set the previous Twitter record, while Tuesday night’s World Cup semifinal generated 35.6 million tweets during the match. Continue reading FIFA World Cup Sets TV Viewing and Social Media Records

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