Amazon previews NFL’s shift to streaming with Super Bowl spot

Linda J. Dodson

Dive Brief:

  • Amazon’s Prime Video will air a 30-second ad during the Super Bowl to promote “Thursday Night Football,” which it will begin airing in the fall, according to a press release.
  • Created in partnership with Wieden + Kennedy, the ad looks ahead to Sept. 15, when the first Thursday game will air on Prime Video, and has the tagline, “Football is Open,” per details shared with Marketing Dive.
  • Prime Video will become the exclusive home for “Thursday Night Football” this fall as it kicks off an 11-year agreement with the NFL that demonstrates the increasing significance of streaming video as cord-cutting continues.

Dive Insight:

Prime Video’s first brand campaign for “Thursday Night Football” gives football fans something to look forward to during the final game of the season, highlighting the sense of fun and community that will be missing from their lives until September. The ad also serves a larger purpose in planting Amazon’s flag on the live sports landscape, which has been one of broadcast TV’s last strongholds amid a cord-cutting trend that has seen consumers shift their viewing to streaming platforms.

Amazon’s 11-year deal with the NFL to be the exclusive home of “Thursday Night Football” — reportedly worth more than $1 billion — was a major volley in the battle between TV networks and streaming platforms that continue to take bites out of traditional broadcasting. For Amazon, football streaming rights are another attractive enticement to keep consumers and advertisers in its ecosystem, which increasingly connects commerce with content.

Amazon’s potential 2022 “Thursday Night Football” audience could add +13% incremental reach over linear NFL audiences and +8% incremental reach over all linear live sports, per a third-party research source cited by the company in a blog post. Amazon also called out its measurement solutions, as well as its wealth of consumer insights, in its pitch to advertisers. Beyond what broadcast networks can offer, Amazon has the ability to give advertisers exposure on other video channels, like IMDb TV and Twitch, as well as in its core e-commerce platform.

While Prime Video does not run traditional advertising, Amazon will be offering traditional sponsorships with pregame, pre-kick, halftime and post-game slots. However, those deals could cost as much as 20% more than what advertisers were paying previously, according to a report by Ad Age.

Amazon’s recent earnings report showed another mammoth quarter for the company, with advertising services generating $9.7 billion in revenue for a 32% year-on-year gain. Along with breaking out the specific financials of advertising sales for the first time, executives emphasized opportunities in video advertising on Fire TV, IMDb TV and Twitch.

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