Football season is halfway through, but sports streaming is just getting started.
Amazon Prime’s “Thursday Night Football” show kicks off in September, marking the first time the NFL will stream a game without a linear station.
This milestone was not without its challenges.
For example, Amazon’s own self-determined and deterministic audience numbers are significantly higher than Nielsen’s ratings.
But Thursday Night Football in Prime is also the beginning of a new phase of experimentation. Streaming platforms strive to prove they can beat linear in terms of broadcast quality and how media works for advertisers.
Until now, one of the main barriers to streaming has been the quality of the stream itself. This was often plagued with issues like buffering, reloading, and ads not delivering in time. Every home router was a potential pinch point.
But with a widely distributed internet that can handle streams, streaming media can start to show its power.
DraftKings, one of Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football sponsors, runs TV-style commercials during games and is the title sponsor of the pre-game show.
DraftKings CMO Stephanie Sherman told AdExchanger that these are fairly standard sponsor placements for traditional TV sports broadcasts. But streaming-first broadcasters offer a different perspective.
“We are very excited to have Amazon selected for our Thursday Night Football partnership,” she said.
Wait… have you been selected? This is not a word you would normally hear from a sponsor.
“I know,” said Sherman.
But it’s worth it, she said.
While other sports betting apps may advertise in between game commercials, there is an exclusive element to the partnership between DraftKings and Amazon.
“On-air talent can talk about previews of DraftKings that can be used in the next game,” says Sherman.
second screen opportunity
But where Amazon Prime truly differentiates, according to Sherman, is its ability to guide consumers through a real-time, second-screen viewing experience.
On-air talent can pull out their phones and direct viewers to specific bets or bet combinations on the DraftKings app (no doubt adorned with NFL promotions). It is also understood that during breaks in the game, people may pull out their phones or launch search engines, which is seen as an opportunity.
The goal of linear broadcasting is to keep the viewer on the TV screen. Advertisers may think that if a game’s search traffic spikes after it airs, it’s because of that commercial, but the TV broadcaster is trying to lure viewers to her second screen during breaks. I don’t think
But Amazon understands full-funnel marketing, Sherman said.
People don’t download DraftKings on Amazon, and they can buy cruise tickets and cars on Amazon. (Carnival Cruise Line and Mercedes-Benz are his two other title sponsors of Thursday Night Football.)
But working with Amazon is an opportunity to understand how upstream branding partnerships such as the NFL translate into downloads, in-app revenue and engagement, along with first-party data signals from media companies.
“We are really excited about the different ways that this partnership will give us ample opportunities to leverage different metrics and methodologies,” said Sherman.
The fact that Amazon is streaming-first is attractive to the NFL, said Danielle Carney, Amazon’s head of NFL ad sales.
One advantage is the age range of Amazon’s audience. Linear TV’s footprint hasn’t dwindled much among his 60+ population, but linear broadcasting has largely lost its younger audience.
Amazon’s audience is eight years younger on average, Kearney said, and Thursday Night Football is the most popular show among 18-34 year-olds on both broadcast and cable TV. The combo, she said, sets the NFL’s only streaming broadcast apart from other TV shows in her portfolio.
Clearly, Amazon has its own big opportunity, too.
Audible, Amazon’s audiobook service, is another title sponsor, and Amazon also runs Prime house ads to promote “The Lord of the Rings” and other Amazon shows. Additionally, as a streaming-only show, Thursday Night Football is also an opportunity to force linear customers who don’t have a Prime subscription to download the service.
But Amazon, as a streamer, can create unique opportunities for itself, Carney said.
Typically, televised NFL games shift into the local or general news buffer zone as broadcasters like Fox, NBC, and ESPN return to regularly scheduled programming.
However, Amazon has a post-game show called NightCap, where the quarterbacks return to a small set assembled on the field to discuss the game.
“Because we are in a streaming environment,” Carney said. [can] Continue the conversation and dive into NFL programming. “
Since the NightCap show takes place in the stadium itself, the players are surrounded by fans. Mainly drunk fans. This one, to say the least, gives the segment a different vibe and is full of social media videos and shoutouts aimed at attracting a younger audience.
NightCap viewers are, on average, 20 years younger than their late-night TV viewers, according to Amazon.
“We’re getting more viewers than late-night talk shows right now, which is very interesting to us,” Carney said.