As cable TV consumers continue to cut the cord in droves, networks are finding new ways to incorporate and feature online streaming services to retain market share. Whether it’s HBO Now, which allows you to view stream-only HBO without a subscription through your cable provider or the bevy of channels with online components, it’s clear that the television industry is scrambling to keep pace.
Last year the NFL took a big step forward by streaming the Jaguars/Bills game on Yahoo.com around the globe for free. Today it just announced that it would be streaming each and every Thursday night game live on Twitter.
This is a massive move for a couple of reasons.
The NFL is arguably one of the biggest sports leagues on the planet. By reaching this agreement with Twitter to allow free streaming access to Thursday Night Football—which, for years, was only available to DIRECTV subscribers—the NFL is proving its commitment to its fan base and to the future. Cord-cutting is no longer a mere fad. Millions and millions of Americans are now supplementing their TV packages with streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. The television marketplace has moved online.
Cable will never go the way of Blockbuster, but if companies and networks fail to adapt to the shifting winds some may well see themselves shuttered.
It’s also big for Twitter. Struggling since its IPO with a tabletop trajectory and CEO shakeups, Twitter has been attempting to show stability and fiscal security. By sealing the deal with the NFL, it has shown its shareholders that it will not remain stagnant, and will make moves to compete with the other social media platforms.
Fans already take to Twitter to display their excitement—or displeasure—in 140 characters or less during sporting activities, so it was a natural fit for the NFL. As the most visible pairing of social media and sports to date, it will be interesting how it changes the landscape moving forward.