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Facebook Vs. Twitter: The Battle For Sports Video

Facebook Vs. Twitter: The Battle For Sports Video
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Facebook Inc (NASDAQ: FB) is getting into video in a big way: with short video clips from the National Football League.

The partnership came more than a year after Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) inked a deal to show NFL highlights, among other video clips.

"Every company sees a pot of gold at the end of that rainbow," tech industry expert and analyst Jeff Kagan told Benzinga.

Kagan thinks there is a "big economic opportunity" for companies to bank on video. It could be significant to social media sites as well as the sports leagues that are utilizing them.

"It's another way for companies to reach out and touch customers in the areas where they love and spend a lot of time," Kagan added. "It's a way for them to get closer to their customers."

Related Link: Hulu Vs. Snapchat - Which Startup Is Worth More?

Facebook Is A Mystery

Qwilt, a startup from veterans of Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) and Juniper (NYSE: JNPR), has an interesting way of gauging the popularity of online video sites. The company sells devices (which are described as commodity hardware platforms that use Qwilt's software) to network operators. Those devices sit inside of the operator, which allows Qwilt to see what consumers watch.

In April Qwilt reported that WWE Network, the streaming video site from World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: WWE), had become the No. 2 live streaming site in the United States. The service has since dropped down, but its temporary success shows the challenge in building a sustainable platform.

Mark Fisher, VP of marketing and business development at Qwilt, told Benzinga that Facebook encrypts most of its traffic. This makes it difficult to determine how many people are coming to the site for video.

"In terms of short-form video, obviously YouTube, with the classic three-minute piece (typically lower-res than HD), tends to [dominate] traffic," Fisher told Benzinga. "We've seen Instagram video, since that tends to be popular and spreads on a viral basis. But Twitter is not really ranking at this point. That one is just not on the radar at this stage."

Who Will Dominate?

Fisher sees potential in both social networks.

"If you look at the opportunity, I think Facebook has exploited this in a fairly smart way to grab high-quality content," said Fisher. "NFL highlight -- for example, the best catch of the game -- [users can] share that easily. That's another reason for people to engage [with] Facebook. I think it's a very smart play."

Twitter may also have some advantages.

"Twitter has generally been the use case of very much in the moment, at the very instant that something happens, you grab it and share it," Fisher continued. "That makes, in terms of user experience, for a more likely example of someone grabbing great content. They just saw the game, were at the game, their favorite team won, their fantasy player just scored a touchdown and they want to share it with as many people as possible."

Fisher thinks this video initiative hits on two "incredibly important" points that are "vital" to both social networks: consumer engagement and the opportunity to leverage advertising.

"The [services] that are going to be successful are the ones that can jump on content licensing in a smart way [with] attractive terms and then get that message out to their users," Fisher added.

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Image credit: Laura, Flickr

Posted-In: Facebook Jeff Kagan Mark Fisher nfl twitterTop Stories Exclusives Tech Best of Benzinga


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