The National Football League is stocking its NFL Now online network with two new original series and has launched on five additional platforms leading up to the kickoff the 2014-15 regular season as the league hopes to super-serve fans — and generate incremental revenue beyond its TV rights deals.
The pro-football league announced the launch of two new original unscripted series from NFL Media on the service, available to subscribers of its $1.99-per-month premium package: “Finding Giants,” a behind-the-scenes look at the New York Giants’ scouting operation to premiere in late September, and “Undrafted,” covering the the NFL’s Super Regional Combines debuting in October.
Those join the previously announced “Rich Eisen Show,” a daily talk show featuring the NFL Network commentator that will air on DirecTV’s Audience Network from noon to 3 p.m. (Eastern) and digitally on NFL Now beginning in October.
All told, NFL Now will offer more than 100 hours of original programming each week during the regular season — some of it free, ad-supported content and some available only to paying subscribers. But to watch live games, football fans will have to turn to TV; NFL Now will provide highlights but not live coverage.
As of Thursday, the NFL Now service is available on NFL Mobile phone and tablet applications; Amazon Kindle Fire tablets, Fire Phone and Fire TV; and Yahoo Screen. Those are in addition to the platforms that it launched with in the preseason, which include Windows, iOS, Android apps; on the web at nfl.com/now; on Microsoft Xbox One and Xbox 360, Apple TV and Roku.
“Adding new distribution and original content to NFL Now continues our mission to provide our fans with access to NFL video wherever and whenever they want,” NFL EVP of media Brian Rolapp said in a statement.
The NFL’s game plan is to wring more coin out of what is America’s most popular sport.
The league generates millions via TV deals with Fox, CBS, ESPN, NBC and the league’s own NFL Network. The NFL Now service will bring in ad revenue — from presenting sponsors Verizon Communications, Gillette, McDonald’s and Nationwide — and subscription revenue for the $1.99 monthly NFL Now Plus package, which provides access to instant in-game highlights and the vault of NFL Films shows and documentaries.
Since the launch of the service on Aug. 6, 63% of the minutes viewed on NFL Now have come through connected devices like Roku and Xbox, according to the league. Mobile phones and desktops each accounted for 13% of time spent viewing the service, while tablets represented 11%.
The five most-viewed NFL teams on NFL Now in the preseason were, in order: Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings. The top five most-followed players: Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Adrian Peterson, Johnny Manziel and Aaron Rodgers.
NFL Now provides a personalized viewing experience, based on viewer’s favorite teams and players, and includes original content produced by NFL Media and the 32 individual clubs, as well as live press conferences and shows and video from the NFL Films vault.