Can an NFL Hail Mary slow Twitter’s Bleeding?

One certainly doesn’t need 140 characters to explain what has happened to Twitter in the last few years.  Here’s 5:  #fail  

Although Twitter continues to be a go to place for some to find real time information in connection with live events, the former social media darling is a shell of its former self.  Its market capitalization is down 75% from its highs and more alarmingly, its MAU (monthly average users) has stagnated at 300 Million over the last four quarters.  The market has no patience for zero growth in this space and times have become desperate for newly reappointed CEO Jack Dorsey.  Word is he has been handing out stock bonuses like an aggressive department store perfume pusher just to retain talent. But talent is nothing without content and Jack has just rolled the dice on his biggest deal yet.  By outbidding big boys like Verizon, Amazon, Facebook and Google, Twitter has acquired the right to stream the NFL’s Thursday Night Football.

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Logically, the deal makes sense.  Fandom is powerful and the world has shifted to a two screen model: watch it on TV and talk about it online.  Twitter’s aggressive content acquisition is an attempt to turn two screens back into one with mobile as the steaming vehicle and the chatting tool, both through Twitter’s interface.  Only time will tell whether one expensive sponsorship and content deal with the NFL will change Twitter’s fortunes.  Fundamental challenges remain however.  Monetizing eyeballs has been slow to materialize and interruptive to the user experience.  Millennials are imagery focused and spend a growing percentage of their time with Instagram and Snapchat.  Dorsey should really be focused on improving the platform itself to ensure its relevance in the future.  This NFL deal feels like a Hail Mary Bandage that will do little to stem Twitter’s Bleeding.

 

Steven Lewis is the President of XMC, Canada’s official Sponsorship And Experiential Marketing™ Agency.