Facebook adds NRL and AFL content deals to its Watch streaming video platform

Social media giant Facebook has announced global partnerships with the National Rugby League and Australian Football League to showcase the two codes on its video platform, Facebook Watch.

The deals come two days after Facebook signed a content agreement with Seven Studios and as the social media service looks to extend its relationship with Cricket Australia which last season saw 36 of the Women’s Big Bash League live-streamed on the platform.

The NRL and AFL join Cricket Australia in having content deals with Facebook Watch

In the latest deals, the football codes will showcase a range of sports content including match highlights from AFL and NRL women’s and men’s games, live original programs, season classic matches and weekly wrap up shows.

Will Easton, managing director of Facebook Australia said of the partnerships: “Each month 16m Australians come together on the platform to connect and share with family and friends, and key sporting moments are regularly a focus of conversation.

“Sports fans on Facebook are one of the most highly engaged communities and these partnerships with the codes offer followers exciting content to engage with in new ways. We’re thrilled that through Facebook, Aussies will be able to get the highlights from both sports and live original programs.”

Andrew Abdo, NRL chief commercial officer, added: “This is about providing another avenue for new and existing fans to access our game.

“Our club members are increasing every year and our national and global audiences continue to diversify and consume their rugby league content where and when they want. This is a fantastic opportunity to extend our reach and product offering across two social media platforms that reach billions of people every day.”

In addition to the sports partnerships, Facebook also announced original content creator Jamie Zhu will launch a new show on Facebook. V13Ws, a live online talk show that collaborates with musicians, artists, health and fitness experts, will create an immersive and interactive experience between audiences, brands and content creators, Facebook said.

Zhu said: “”Facebook has been an amazing platform for me for the past four years. It has allowed me to launch my career and I’m super excited to be starting my own live show V13WS with them. There will be well known guests and fun activities throughout the series.”

Facebook launched its Watch video platform in August last year offering content creators monetisation opportunities through pre-roll and mid-roll ad breaks.

Naomi Shepherd, director of Facebook Australia, said of Watch’s progress: “For advertisers, this means non-skippable ads up to 15 seconds, which is a format the industry has been asking for.

“Results have shown the impact that our in-stream ads can offer. 70% of ads are viewed to completion with the majority being sound on and 85% of in-stream impressions are viewable according to the MRC standard. We see this as an excellent option to complement our on-the-go formats of Newsfeed and Stories, with brand safety controls in place via premium buys, category blocking, page and domain block lists and pre and post-campaign publisher lists.”


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