Twitter shares rose 6.8% today following a New York Times report that its app may go on Apple TV — giving users of the platform access to the 10 Thursday Night Football games Twitter will live stream beginning next month.
The addition of Apple TV would provide a big boost for Twitter’s ambition to become a force in video. It’s been struggling to sustain its growth; many potential users are put off by its complicated array of symbols and protocols.
And the company, like its social media rival Facebook, covets the roughly $73 billion that advertisers spend each year on TV.
In addition to the football deal, Twitter has an agreement to offer Bloomberg TV shows, and with MLB Advanced Media to stream weekly out-of-market Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League games.
Twitter’s believed to have spent about $10 million for the 10 NFL games, including pre and post game shows and behind the scenes videos on the company’s Periscope service.
The NFL wanted to protect its broadcast partners, CBS and NBC, and is said to have limited Twitter to two minutes per hour of ad inventory for local spots that would supplement, not replace, the national ones.
Twitter COO Adam Bain told analysts last month that the company had already sold “a meaningful percent of the inventory that we control” including to Anheuser-Busch, Verizon, Sony and Nestlé.
“What’s most interesting to me about those deals are that the advertisers are funding the budgets from the online video part of their letters, so something that we hadn’t gotten access to before which we’re now getting some exposure to,” he added.
Some analysts remain skeptical about the strategy, though.
“Given our experience in covering other sports driven assets, we would be very cautious on building a business on 3rd party, short cycle sports rights,” MoffettNathanson Research’s Michael Nathanson said last month.