New Parks Associates consumer research featured in its “OTT Video Market Tracker” shows 47% of US broadband households currently subscribe to Amazon Prime Video, but the partnership is expected to help increase the service’s subscription uptake and regular viewers through exclusive rights to stream Thursday night football games. “Traditional video is dwindling and a diversified distribution strategy is the only logical method of growing NFL viewership,” said Steve Nason, Research Director, Parks Associates. “While traditional players won’t see reductions to their coverage content, the lack of exclusivity over one of their biggest remaining assets will be detrimental to adding new viewers.”
The content rights deal between the streamer and the league reportedly worth $1 billion per year, will boost advertising revenue, data collection, and exposure to sports fans for Amazon’s streaming service, likewise help Amazon boost subscriptions to its Prime and Prime Video services with the addition of MGM’s IP, which includes the James Bond and Robocop franchises. The NFL deal was announced before Amazon’s recent merger with film studio MGM for $8.45 billion.“In its first all-streaming package, the NFL inked a ten-year agreement with Amazon Prime Video for the streaming rights to fifteen Thursday Night Football games and one pre-season game per year in the US, beginning in 2022,” Nason said.
The researcher’s monthly trends and market activities tracker estimates that 77.3 million US households are Amazon Prime members and that roughly 71% watch Prime Video, nearly 55 million households in Q1 2021. Out of 10,000 US broadband households, 55% of pay-TV households consider live sports important in their decision to keep their service. Additionally, more than two-thirds of online pay-TV subscribers and 43% of traditional pay-TV subscribers who canceled their pay-TV service during COVID-19 were likely to re-subscribe following the return of live sports. “By offering live games, streaming services give the significant market of NFL fans a reason to subscribe,” Nason said. “As OTT becomes an integral part of its strategy, the NFL is working to secure viewers, and profits, for the next decade, and the Amazon partnership represents an outstanding and unprecedented opportunity to set the stage for success.”
Other major media conglomerates will also feature additional live NFL coverage to incorporate both traditional TV and OTT. The Walt Disney Company will air one international game on ESPN+ and add one exclusive national game yearly beginning in 2022. Additionally, NBCUniversal will air Sunday Night Football on its linear NBC channel and stream select games on its OTT service Peacock.
Traditional video is dwindling and a diversified distribution strategy is the only logical method of growing NFL viewership. While traditional players won’t see reductions to their coverage content, the lack of exclusivity over one of their biggest remaining assets will be detrimental to adding new viewers.” Steve Nason Research Director, Parks Associates