By Brittany Terrell
Twitter's new slate of premium video content, nearly double what it offered last year, will include shows by some of the biggest TV networks, putting traditional television content on a social media platform that's disrupting long-held viewing habits.
"Obviously the big bet is television," said Kerry Flynn, a media reporter for Digiday. "And one of the biggest announcements was NBC as well as ESPN putting some of their biggest shows and channels on Twitter."
The agreements to stream TV content on Twitter may seem like a gamble for both sides, but Flynn said Tuesday in an interview with Cheddar that it can be an interesting and useful way to develop new viewing habits and test what works and what doesn't in an increasingly digital and fragmented media landscape.
Viewership for live sports, for example, has steadily declined for traditional media outlets like ESPN. In recent years, major sports leagues have turned to nontraditional outlets such as Twitter, Facebook and Amazon to stream sporting events to a wider audience. The NFL, which streamed Thursday Night Football games on Twitter in 2016, will show weeknight games on Amazon for the second year in a row.
Flynn said the major sports leagues, and the TV networks that have traditionally paid big money for the broadcast rights, can afford to experiment on different platforms to see where they can find the most engaged audience outside the usual television paradigm.
Twitter has positioned itself to be a proving ground for live sports content, but what happens when ESPN's parent Disney launches its own streaming service in 2019?
"That's what's super interesting about putting Sports Center Live and Fantasy Football Live on Twitter because if Disney is going to offer something and ESPN already has their stand alone app, what are you doing?" said Flynn. "I agree that maybe longevity is brought into question, but Disney has the time and resources to experiment."
Playing content in various spaces might offer media companies more of an opportunity to diversify and increase ratings, said Flynn.
"I wouldn't say TV is dead at all," she said. "We obviously watch it. But its smart to try to boost the ratings by slowly diversifying it out."
For full interview, click here.