Friday October 28th, 2016

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Twitter held its Q3 earnings call Thursday morning and addressed a number of topics, including the social platform’s live streaming deal with the NFL for 10 Thursday Night Football games.

The most telling statistic from the call is that 70 percent of live stream viewers are under the age of 35, a number that the NFL will want to pay close attention to as the league continues to fight a ratings decline and wants to find those next-generation fans. Viewership on Thursday nights is down 18 percent from last year at this time compared to 19 percent for Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football at 24 percent.

So far, Twitter has broadcast five games live in 2016, with the next game not until Nov. 17. Anthony Noto, Twitter Chief Financial Officer, opened by telling investors that the “live initiative is off to a very promising start.”

“Our number one objective when we launched in September behind the NFL and then all of the great programming that followed that was quality, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the feedback on the live experience on Twitter,” Noto said. “Our team did a great job building a product that can scale to many millions of users in three short months.”

Noto said Twitter was “very pleased” with the audience metrics, stating that the 10-year-old social channel had originally forecast a range of one million to three million in terms of global reach, with the below numbers slightly exceeding expectations. For the NFL live streams to date, Noto added that up to 15 percent of total viewers have been logged out of the social platform.

Adam Bain, Chief Operating Officer, said that Twitter will “look for opportunities to bring those logged out users into being logged in by giving them opportunities to participate with the conversation.” Bain elaborated on the Twitter aggregated timeline around live events, a point of contention among many throughout the first two months of the season.

Bain stated that Twitter is trying to make it feel like users are “watching the game at a bar, in the stadium or in your home with other fans,” a sentiment that could still exist with one’s own curated timeline. He said that eventually Twitter users could have their own timeline back or even have it tailored to specific areas of interest.

“If it’s the Patriots versus the Chiefs, we could provide a tab that’s just for Patriots fans and just for Chiefs fans,” Bain said.

“So there’s limitless opportunity to personalize that.”

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