Twitter, Inc. (TWTR)  

Twitter Shares Soar After Rave Reviews of NFL Stream

Dan weil picture
Dan Weil | FlashRatings | Friday, September 16, 2016 12:30 PM EDT
Twitter (TWTR) shares jumped more than 4 percent Friday after its first live streaming of an NFL game received a highly positive reception.

Viewers said they enjoyed the high-definition-like quality of the video and the tweets that appeared alongside it, though some fans complained that the broadcast lagged a bit behind the one on television.

Many analysts view live content as a last stand for the struggling microblogging company as it seeks to revive a stagnant user base and dampened revenue growth. In addition to the NFL, Twitter has rights to broadcast content from the other three major U.S. sports leagues (NBA, MLB, NHL), Wimbledon tennis and Bloomberg News.

One thing that wasn’t clear amid the glowing reviews for Twitter’s coverage of the Bills-Jets game is how well it did on advertising. Remember that Twitter paid $10 million for 10 games and received a limited ad inventory.

The company reported weeks ago that it had sold more than half of its ad time. An ad package for all 10 games runs between $1 million and $8 million, according to a company presentation reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

Analysts didn’t offer immediate commentaries after the game. But Cantor Fitzgerald analysts voiced a mixed view Wednesday. "Twitter is hardly the only one pursuing a streaming content strategy built around live sporting events, with Amazon the latest to throw its hat in the ring,” they wrote. “That said, if successful, these events could improve engagement on Twitter, and provide highly coveted video ad inventory to monetize.” 

Over the last 30 days, 24 analysts have issued ratings on Twitter, with just four positive. The median share price target is $16, about 15% below the $19.07 at which the shares were trading Friday morning.