For Twitter, such a deal would dramatically boost its steadily expanding live-video strategy, by reaching Apple TV’s growing base of users; Apple says it has sold more than 25 million of the devices, but a hypothetical Twitter app may work only on the newest Apple TV model. In addition to securing rights to the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” games for a reported $10 million, Twitter has landed deals to stream MLB and NHL games as well as other live sports, as well as Bloomberg Media TV content.
Twitter’s live video on Apple TV would provide a lean-back, living-room outlet where users are more inclined to watch longer-form video. Twitter’s presentation of live video so far has been through its mobile apps and on PCs, with the live stream accompanied by a string of tweets related to the event.
“Such a partnership would make sense for both companies, we think, as Twitter looks for more distribution and engagement and Apple looks for more differentiated content,” S&P Global Market Intelligence analyst Scott Kessler wrote in a research note.
Apple and Twitter reps have declined to comment.
The report pushed Twitter stock up more than 7% Monday, after investors have been frustrated with the social-media company’s sluggish user growth and revenue shortfalls in recent quarters.
Twitter — which beat out Facebook and others for the digital rights to the NFL’s “TNF” — last month said it has already sold a “meaningful percentage” of the available ad inventory for the upcoming season, signing on marketers including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Nestlé, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Verizon.
The NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” games, telecast in the U.S. by CBS, NBC and NFL Network, kick off Sept. 15 with the New York Jets at Buffalo Bills. On Twitter, the NFL streaming feeds will include about 50 ads sold by CBS and NBC, out of the approximately 70 that typically run in a single game.