NFL, Facebook agree clips deal

The National Football League and Facebook have agreed a multiyear deal to deliver official NFL video and other types of content to fans around the world.

The NFL will publish NFL Game Recaps and official highlights from all 256 regular season games as well as the playoffs and Super Bowl that will be available to people globally on Facebook.

In addition, NFL Media, the League’s owned and operated media division, will distribute uniquely packaged content from its production arm, NFL Films, on Facebook’s Watch platform. NFL Turning Point, Sound FX and NFL Game Recaps will be posted each week during the NFL season and available to people in the US on Watch.

People around the world will also be able to tune in by following the NFL Turning Point, Sound FX and NFL Game Recaps Show Pages and can watch highlights from around the League on Facebook by following the NFL or any of its 32 Clubs.

“We have millions of fans on Facebook, and they continue to demonstrate an incredible appetite for NFL content,” said Hans Schroeder, Chief Operating Officer of NFL Media. “We’re excited to bring a compelling set of highlights and shows from the NFL and our Clubs to our fans on Facebook.”

“We’re excited for Watch to become a destination for NFL fans to catch up on the latest on-field action and connect with one another,” said Dan Reed, Facebook’s Head of Global Sports Partnerships. “These full game recaps and shows will deliver comprehensive coverage while enabling the active NFL fan communities on Facebook to watch and debate the top storylines from each week.”

Descriptions of NFL Turning Point and Sound FX which will be available to people around the world on their Show Pages on Facebook and to people in the US on the Watch platform:

NFL Turning Point

NFL Turning Point documents the drama, excitement, and strategy leading up to, during, and after the turning points of some of the biggest games in the NFL each week. Each episode on Watch will include a breakdown of how plays are developed, player and coach comments that provide context, and unique perspectives for each featured game.

Sound FX

Using NFL Films audio wires placed on NFL players each week, Sound FX provides fans an inside and intimate look and sound of the top players in the game. Fans get to see players who are mic’d up in each episode on Watch when they are inside the huddle, performing on the field, and all the strategy and discussion from the sidelines.

According to Clive Malcher, SVP Commercial at Piksel, the deal underlines an incredibly exciting time for the tech giant. “This partnership will see one of the world’s biggest sporting events, the Super Bowl, brought to people around the world by tapping into the rising popularity of on-demand sports. This represents the latest escalation in the scramble for sports video rights that today’s tech giants are relying on to attract and retain viewers on their platforms. Facebook, Twitter and Amazon are each investing hugely in content to attempt to build full video capabilities – it’s clear that they fully realise the value of owning their audiences,” he suggests.

“The concept of owning the audience is crucial to success in today’s fragmented ecosystem. Being the company that owns the audience is ten times more valuable than being the one that owns the content. Brands that rely on third parties – such as Facebook and YouTube – to reach online consumers are therefore running a big risk. Instead of being a means to serve content to customers, these channels should instead be viewed as a marketing funnel, with ‘teaser’ content designed to bring viewers to full-length content on wholly-owned platforms,” he advises.

“This groundbreaking deal comes at a worrying time for the NFL, as all the major American TV networks are reporting sustained audience declines for live viewing over the past year,” remarked Dror Ginzberg, Co-Founder & CEO of Wochit.

“Increasingly, people are looking for ‘near live’ game highlights online, as opposed to watching full games, especially as American Football games are quite lengthy, compared to other sports. From Wochit’s own research, video content ranging from roughly 60 to 90 seconds get both the most views and shares on Facebook, meaning this new deal puts them in a prime position to capitalise on shifting consumer habits.”

“Now, Facebook has an undeniable edge with high quality, premium content that other online competitors won’t have access to, while also having access to NFL Films’ content to distribute on its fledgeling broadcast service Facebook Watch.”

“Undoubtedly the decision-makers from the Premier League will be analysing this deal closely. Similarly to the NFL, the Premier League’s TV rights once seemed the most bankable TV content until last year when ratings fell dramatically. The next broadcasting deal for the league will likely be historic as digital-only players finally take on Sky and BT,” he suggested.

“As social media companies become increasingly keen on acquiring video and live events, Facebook has extended its coverage of sports, buying NFL video highlights and in-depth recaps to show on the platform,” advised MediaCom UK CEO Josh Krichefski. “It’s another example of Facebook’s continual transformation into a media powerhouse, representing an opportunity to take a large tactical bite of the video apple. But this isn’t really anything new. Traditional broadcasting rights are being shaken up by online-first organisations; take a look at Amazon’s recent purchase of the ATP tennis tour rights, or Twitter livestreaming parts of the PGA golf tour, both of which had previously uninterrupted exclusivity on television.”

“With UK smartphone penetration now at 85 per cent of all adults and an increasing demand to watch live and on-demand content on-the-go, media companies are recognising the growing trend towards mobile viewing. Video consumption on smartphones is now at 57 per cent per week compared to 18 per cent in 2012 – and that’s only going to increase. With the inevitable rise in smartphone viewing, and the emphasis on video for many platforms as a means to secure greater user engagement, I would certainly expect to see more of this growing trend in the coming months.”

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