The National Football League (NFL) stands at the center of some of the largest sporting events in the world; and even with the advent of the Internet, television broadcasts of these events remain incredibly popular among consumers and equally effective for advertisers.
For their 2014-15 season, the NFL attracted a whopping $3.95bn in advertising revenue, according to iSpot.tv – Making the league one of the largest ad publishers in the world.
With so much money floating around it’s safe to say these guys know what they’re doing, and at last month’s Streaming Media West conference Cory Mummery, the VP and General Manager of NFL Now, the league’s online offering, stopped by to give a keynote speech where he shared a few insights from the masses of consumer data they collect every year.
In his presentation, Mummery noted NFL Now’s success comes from its ability to serve as the single destination for all NFL content. “All of the content in one place is important. It includes the clubs so there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes content that the clubs are producing, whether it’s training camp, player interviews, coach interviews, press conferences, things like that… We pull that together with game highlights and a lot of the footage that we’re producing around games.”
This effectively results in the same ‘rising tide lifts all ships’ philosophy that sparked the success of more than a few of the most popular creators on YouTube. By creating a link between otherwise unrelated content, one video going viral can boost both reach and engagement for interrelated videos, and NFL is encouraging that effect simply by providing a greater diversity and volume of content on a single platform. For example, someone that only went to NFL Now to see videos by their favorite team will may stick around for some highlights, or ‘best-of’ moments that wouldn’t be available on a team-specific website.
As for the best way of monetizing that content, after trying a variety of ad formats Mummery explained, “It depends on platform.” This is particularly true for mobile ads, where users are much less likely to sit through a long advertisement if they’re on the go.
“Fifteen seconds is really kind of the sweet spot that we found and that the users understand,” Mummery explained. “They understand that if it’s a free platform, that ads are part of the free experience and that it’s premium content that they’re watching, whether it’s from a club or NFL-produced content, they want the content, they’re going to watch the ad.”