Friday, September 23, 2016

Football streaming on Twitter -- too many commercials and need to be able to filter tweets -- but like all new media, it will improve.

I watched a bit of Thursday Night Football on Twitter last night. You could watch a small screen with tweets as shown above or go full screen and lose the tweets. I watched it on a laptop with a large, high resolution screen and on a Mac with a 21-inch display and the video was smooth and looked good on both. That was the good news.

The bad news was the commercials. I am not a football fan, so do not know how many commercials a typical broadcast game has, but it seemed like Twitter spent more time on commercials than the game. I would be curious to see statistics on the number of minutes spent on commercials, commentary and game action on Twitter versus broadcast television.

I “cut the cord” years ago, so am used to paying Netflix and others for streamed content without commercials. If I am typical, Twitter will fail with this commercial-based business model. (The Motley Fool Web site says the ads did not pay off in the first game, which was streamed last week).

For a while, I watched both the TV broadcast and the Twitter stream. The Twitter stream was relatively delayed, but the lag time varied and they did not have the same commercials. I wonder how the commercial sales and revenue are handled.

Turning to the user interface – I did not time it, but it seemed like there about 20 tweets every thirty seconds. With that many tweets coming in, I think the best way to watch would be to go full screen during the live play and mute the audio and read tweets during the commercials -- not a good deal for advertisers.

I did not notice any obviously malicious tweets, so I assume there is some automatic or human filtering, but it would be better if they would let the user control the filtering. For example, to let one see only tweets from a selected group of friends or a selected group of experts like professional football players, sports analysts or professional gamblers.

But, lest I seem too negative -- this is their first try at streaming sports. All new media stumble at first, often copying what came before. The first movies were made by filming stage plays and there are many other examples from radio, TV, textbooks, online learning, etc.

Twitter is streaming the US presidential debates next -- let's see how they do on that.

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