Amazon’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ is winning over advertisers after a bumpy launch year, and a top exec says it will be ‘aggressive’ in pursuing more live sports – DIGIWIZ CENTRAL

Amazon’s ‘Thursday Night Football’ is winning over advertisers after a bumpy launch year, and a top exec says it will be ‘aggressive’ in pursuing more live sports

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Amazon says its NFL advertising offering is benefiting from the Hollywood strikes.The tech giant is gearing up for a big ‘Thursday Night Football’ season with key matchups and new ad offerings.It’s also gotten more competitive in ad prices and is seeking more live sports deals.

After hitting some snags with its inaugural NFL “Thursday Night Football” season on Prime Video last year, Amazon is bringing plenty of swagger to the field this year.

Amazon is getting more TV ad dollars this year as the twin Hollywood strikes rage on, a top exec said.

“Because of the strikes, more ad dollars are flowing to live sports, and there’s nothing more exciting than live sports,” Jay Marine, Amazon’s VP of Prime Video and global head of sports, said during a Zoom press conference Monday previewing the fall season. “We’re getting more than our share.”

Marine and “TNF” talent like Al Michaels and Kaylee Hartung also talked up the fall schedule that’ll include key matchups; NFL’s first Black Friday game, which will air free to all fans; and new audience targeting capabilities and interactive ads. The 16-game season kicks off September 14 with the Minnesota Vikings facing the Philadelphia Eagles; a preseason game will stream August 24.

“The additional creative function is a big deal,” Marine said of Amazon’s ad offerings. “If you’re Toyota, now you can buy one slot and have a creative targeted to a family for mini vans, and you can have a different creative in that same slot buy for a truck commercial to different fans. Historically, you haven’t been able to do that on traditional broadcast.”

Ad buyers confirmed to Insider that Amazon was benefitting from advertisers’ moving as much as 20% of their primetime TV budgets out of network TV and cable because of the strikes.

Amazon has also come way down in ad prices and is matching other NFL broadcasters like Fox and ESPN in rates, one ad exec told Insider. It’s a big shift from last year when Amazon initially sought to charge $80 to reach one thousand viewers, or double the broadcast rates. Amazon last year had also softened on its initial ask that advertisers buy the entire season’s games and gave them the option to buy a portion of the games.

Marine left no question as to whether Amazon would continue to be a big player in live sports. At a time when sports rights fees are soaring, putting a financial strain on already declining linear TV networks, he said the tech giant will continue to be “aggressive” in seeking out more rights, given sports’ unique ability to command a valuable audience.

This year’s new targeting offering could help Amazon build its live streaming business, a second buyer, Kelly Metz, managing director of Advanced TV Activation with Omnicom Media Group, told Insider.

“It’s in a unique position to test the limits of dynamic advertising. And if you’re contemplating adding sports leagues, they can add new advertisers, diversify their strategy, have better control over selling it,” she said. “And think about events. Let’s say they decide to buy the Emmys. That could happen.”

As for cost cutting at Amazon, Marine said Monday the cuts haven’t affected “TNF,” pointing out that airing “TNF” last year helped sign up new Prime members. The games also attracted a younger audience than the NFL attracts on linear TV, he said.

“We made an 11-year investment, and we’re going to continue to put everything against that,” he said, adding that the company is also looking at sports beyond football. “We’ll continue to look at live rights. We’ll be aggressive, but we’ll also be rational.”

Amazon struck an $11 billion, 11-year deal with the NFL for Prime Video to be the exclusive streamer of “TNF” — part of the tech giant’s bid to become a mainstream sports player. Amazon had to make some advertisers whole after “TNF” audiences fell short of estimates by 25%, ad agency sources said at the time.

Some advertisers were forgiving, though, given it was Amazon’s first go at a live sports broadcast. Fans had to adjust their viewing behavior while Amazon had to figure out how to promote the stream.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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