2.3 million people tuned into Twitter’s NFL livestream, less than watched Yahoo’s
Twitter's NFL livestream attracted 2.3 million total viewers, which is slightly less than Yahoo's broadcast last year averaged per minute.
Twitter scored 2.3 million total viewers for its first-ever livestream of an NFL game on Thursday night, according to figures provided by the NFL on Friday that counted a view once the broadcast had played 100% in-view for at least three seconds.
Like the livestream’s viewing experience, the viewership figure is fine but not outstanding. Of course plenty more people tuned into the TV broadcast — specifically 48.1 million people — but that’s to be expected. Digitally distributed live sports is still in the proverbial first quarter.
But Twitter’s free, global livestream of an NFL game last night was outscored by Yahoo’s free, global livestream of an NFL game last year. While 2.3 million people tuned in at some point during Twitter’s broadcast — 2.1 million when not including the pre-game show — 15.2 million tuned in at some point during Yahoo’s.
Put another way: roughly as many people tuned into Twitter’s livestream in total as were estimated to have watched Yahoo’s at any given minute. Twitter’s average per-minute viewership, the metric used to count TV audiences, was 243,000 people, whereas Yahoo’s was pegged at 2.36 million (for what it’s worth, CBS’s and NFL Network’s TV broadcasts of the game on Thursday night averaged 15.4 million viewers because TV).
Twitter’s NFL livestream also appears to have fallen short of Yahoo’s when it comes to how many minutes the average viewer spent watching the digital broadcast. On Twitter each person tuned in for 22 minutes on average. On Yahoo each person tuned in for roughly 30 minutes, after doing the math based on 15.2 million total viewers and 460 million total minutes viewed. For more concrete Yahoo viewership figures, 1.65 million people were watching for the 30 seconds that eHealth’s ad ran near the end of the game’s third quarter, and Arby’s 15-second first-quarter ad and 15-second fourth-quarter spot combined to total 3.2 million unique viewers, according to viewership stats that Yahoo provided the two brands for their ads.
There could be any number of reasons why Twitter’s viewership fell short of Yahoo’s, though I doubt the match-up itself was the problem (Bills/Jets beats Bills/Jaguars every time).
1) More people were interested in Yahoo’s livestream because it was the first-ever free, global livestream of an NFL game, and “first-ever” can count for a lot. 2) Yahoo streamed the game on its home page, so some number of those viewers could have been incidental, not intentional, and the viewership figures inflated (but maybe not by much when considering the 3-second threshold for Twitter’s viewership figures). 3) Yahoo’s broadcast came on a Sunday morning in the U.S., and even though that stream started at 6:30 am on the West Coast, more people may have been willing and able to watch on a weekend morning than were able to on a workweek evening. 4) Twitter wasn’t able to make as many people aware of or interested in its NFL livestream as Yahoo was.
Fortunately for Twitter, this isn’t a sudden-death situation. It has nine more games this season to make people aware of its livestreams and convert them into audience members.