Two weeks in a row, Twitter has delivered on Thursday Night Football streaming hopes. The first week, more than 2 million people watched the live stream between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets.
The stream was 100% free. No authentication required.
On the surface, the Twitter numbers are far short of what Yahoo reported when streaming the game from London last year. They reported 15M, but the game was autoplayed from the Yahoo homepage among other properties like Yahoo Mail, so their figures are far less credible and not comparable to Twitter where all users were opting into the stream.
According to Nielsen, 25 million people watched the game on TV and the NFL reported that in total 48 million people watched at least one minute of the game. So while still a small fraction of TV, the Twitter numbers are a sign that if given the option for a high-quality stream, significant numbers will watch via mobile, connected TVs, desktop, etc.
Twitter paid $10 million for rights to the 10 Thursday night games this season. From an ad perspective, they are able to sell the local ad slots in the game stream as well as surrounding Twitter media. The national ad slots run as they would on broadcast. Early results show that Bank of America’s Twitter ads during the game had a 98% completion rate on the platform.