Amazon's 'Thursday Night Football' Stream Up 22%

Amazon’s streaming simulcast of NFL “Thursday Night Football” games may not be drawing TV-like numbers, but the tech giant appears encouraged by results to date.

For the seven games Amazon has streamed so far this season, total combined viewership is up 22% to 14.7 million viewers, compared to the same number of games last season, while the average minute audience is up 36% to 455,000. 

For comparison, the same games that aired on Fox averaged between 11 million and 15 million viewers each, though that number is down slightly from last season. (Each game had about as many viewers as Amazon had all season.)

Still, the double-digit growth is sure to be seen as a positive by the tech company, particularly as it seeks to bolster its Twitch video platform. Twitch, which launched to stream live video game content, has since added entertainment content, and this season, “Thursday Night Football.”

With its emphasis on live, the NFL games are seen as a natural fit for the platform. Amazon did not break out viewership between Twitch and Prime.

This season, Amazon has sought to create a more differentiated product from the Fox broadcast, which it simulcasts. Prime users can choose alternate audio commentary, including from the NFL’s first all-female duo: Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm. On Twitch,  select video game streamers are providing live commentary to the NFL games, with other interactive features layered on top.

Before this season began, Amazon signed a new extension with the NFL, keeping the “Thursday Night Football” streaming rights on Amazon properties through the 2019 season.

Amazon also says that after the U.S., the two most popular countries for its NFL games were Mexico and Canada, with California, Washington and Texas marking the states with the most viewers.

The NFL has been tweaking its streaming deals in an effort to boost overall viewership of games.

In addition to Amazon, the NFL renegotiated its exclusive mobile deal with Verizon to allow customers of any mobile service to stream games, while giving Verizon’s Oath media unit expanded streaming rights. The NFL's TV partners have secured additional streaming rights, including the ability to stream games on mobile devices.

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