The NFL Puts Twitter Inc Back in Play (TWTR)

In the grand scheme of things, today doesn’t seem all that unusual. It’s an ordinary mid-September Thursday. For football fans and/or Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) shareholders though, today is going to be remembered as a milestone. This evening, Twitter will broadcast its first-ever NFL game, pairing it up with its microblogging platform.

Twitter TWTR Stock

Nobody knows how it will pan out. And, nobody knows how — or even if — this new kind of live TV delivery will boost the value of TWTR stock. There’s a chance it may be irrelevant, with the bulk of Twitter’s users (not to mention football enthusiasts) shrugging it off.

Nevertheless, it’s a big, bold move from Twitter to try something new in an effort to rekindle user growth. At the very least, investors have to give credit in that regard.

Thing is, this mix of television broadcast and curated tweets may well be the proverbial missing link for most current and would-be Twitter users, answering the big question, “What am I supposed to do with my Twitter account?”

Twitter and NFL Partner Up

The stage for streaming live NFL games via Twitter was set earlier this week when Twitter unveiled a new app for select devices from Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) and, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). Specifically, Apple TV, the Xbox One and Fire TV will stream not just live NFL games, but other professional sports matchups as well. There is no cost to view any of the scheduled events, but the stream will only be available to owners of those devices.

The difference between Twitter’s stream and the more traditional broadcast is the addition of “tweets” on one side of the screen, while the game is playing on the other side. Twitter will screen the short messages, weeding out the inappropriate ones and presumably favoring the more interesting ones.

The tweet-stream is sure to have an entertainment factor of its own though, as is usually the case when the average person is handed a proverbial microphone in front of an audience.

Now It’s About Something

On the surface it may feel a bit gimmicky. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it, and it certainly doesn’t mean anyone will care. Frustrated-but-loyal owners of TWTR stock, however, have good reason to be optimistic about the newest NFL venue.

See, it plays into Twitter’s strength in a way that nothing else had before.

It’s been explained before (by yours truly), but it merits repeating … the reason Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) can draw an ever-growing crowd while Twitter has stagnated is that Facebook is clearly about something. It puts each member as the center of the universe, allowing for countless pictures of themselves, and offering a platform for members to create as much or as little drama as they want.

Twitter, on the other hand, doesn’t cater to people’s vanities. Its simplicity and super-short messages were initially charming, but one of the chief reasons users stopped checking in or signing up for Twitter was a lack of understanding about what they were supposed to do with Twitter.

At least in a small way, combining a football game and Twitter makes the platform about something — the game. Users can tweet about the game, and others at least semi-interested in the same can tweet back. It’s all happening in real time too. There’s even a chance an individual’s tweet will be selected as one worth airing with the game’s live broadcast.

In short, at least for a few hours Twitter will be about something to football fans, making it interesting to use. Even if the model only shows moderate success, it can be repeated over and over again for different games, different sports, and even non-sport events.

Such a tool would be a HUGE draw if it aired political debates.

Bottom Line for TWTR Stock

Don’t look for TWTR stock to soar on the introduction of the new app, or even if tonight’s broadcast and tweet-streaming goes off without a hitch. It’s going to take some time for the world to get comfortable with the idea of Twitter also being a video platform.

On the flip side, for those investors who put TWTR stock on the shelf for being a lost cause, this is a good reason to dust it off again and put it back on your watchlist. It looks like Jack Dorsey and Co. finally realize “If you build it, they will come” isn’t a complete business model in itself. You have to give them specific reasons to come.

It’s a start.

As of this writing, James Brumley did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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