NFL Thursdays on Twitter

2016-09-25 2 min read

    In April, Twitter announced a deal with the NFL to broadcast Thursday night games and I gave it a shot this past Thursday via the Twitter app on my FireTV. The primary motivation was to watch the game but I was also curious to see Twitter’s implementation. I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and clean the overall experience was: you could watch the entire game without knowing it was via Twitter but the tweets added a please, yet optional, touch. The only real difference between the Twitter app and any other FireTV streaming app was that Twitter augmented the experience with twitter content - tweets, images, and scopes.

    This NFL product makes me optimistic about Twitter and does feel as if they finally stumbled unto a product that works and reinforces their strengths. By focusing on live events and building on top of them with content that’s unique to Twitter they have the potential to change the way we consume live TV. At the moment the feed seems to be chronological but if Twitter can figure out how to make it a bit more relevant it can make the feed section standard.

    The feed section currently takes up close to a third of the screen which causes the video to be scaled down. The sidebar is an obvious first attempt but I can think of other ways the tweets can be shown - maybe a ticker tape or even a translucent overlay - would make it likelier that people keep the feed on throughout the game.

    There’s also a ton of opportunity in opening this platform up to developers. Twitter developed the reputation of betraying the developer community during their growth but this can be a chance to redeem themselves. Imagine being able to build an app that lives within the TV app and can show you how your fantasy team is doing or just displaying a more targeted subset of the tweets or even pulling in additional stats. All Twitter would need to do is provide the platform and the community can build on top of it to deliver custom experiences. The incentive is already there - being able to have an app that’s used while people are watching TV is hugely motivating and will get developers supporting Twitter.

    Disclosure: I own a small number of Twitter shares.