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NFL to deliver digital, mobile video via tiered platform

The National Football League announced yesterday that the league will be partnering with Verizon, Microsoft, Yahoo and Gillette to launch a digital video platform this summer that will deliver content across all devices.

The commissioner of the NFL revealed the league's plans for the new video platform, NFL Now, at a New York press conference on Thursday. NFL Now will let football fans access personalized digital streams of NFL content, such as news, analysis and game highlights, for free as well as a paid, premium version.

?Throughout our history, the NFL was always focused on reaching as many fans as possible, wherever they are, and with the best possible content,? said Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, New York.

?We believe that it?s critical to innovate,? he said. ?We are taking a leadership position with a digital video network called NFL Now. This will serve our fans even better.?

The new video platform will launch in the summer ahead of the start of the 2014 NFL season. NFL Now will be available across all devices, allowing fans to interact where and when they want.

One of the central components of NFL Now is personalization. Fans will be able to log in with their favorite teams and players and be served personalized content based on their interests.

Fans can also click on a thumbs down or thumbs up icon on each video served to better personalized the channel.

NFL Now will be available for free on mobile devices, including Apple, Android and Windows phones. It will also be available on desktop via and across game consoles such as Xbox One.

Fans will also be able to subscribe to NFL Now Plus for premium content and features at a monthly fee.

Content on NFL Now will feature a mix from NFL media, clubs and films. It will also present original content such as news updates, shows and features that are designed specifically for digital and mobile.

NFL Now will also enable fans to easily cross over from one device to another seamlessly. For example, a fan can start a video on his smartphone and then open the app on his Xbox and continue from where he left off.

Mobile football
The NFL has been active in the mobile and digital space for quite some time.

According to Brian Rolapp, executive vice president of media at the NFL, the league?s digital video has been growing 33 percent, with mobile video specifically growing 152 percent.

The league offers live streaming of games on NFL Mobile, which is free to download. NFL Mobile also features a Super Bowl XLVIII Mobile Guide, which features a countdown to game time, Super Bowl editorials, live streaming video and a live game center with score updates and stats.

Fans can also download the official Super Bowl XLVIII Digital Game Program on Windows Surface, iPad and Android tablets.

?The thing that was very clear to us was that our fans can?t get enough of our content, but more and more they were living their lives on a tablet on a phone,? said Jonathan Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots and co-chair of NFL Digital Media.

?The video content that was available at the time, a lot is repurposed broadcast television ? it?s too long form,? he said. ?It doesn?t feel right in the mobile environment. We talked about how so many advertisers didn?t have a lot of options to advertise and reach consumers in high-quality produced for mobile, in particular, environments.

?If we could come up with a solution, and then present it to our fanbase nationally, we thought we?d be able to continue to service our fans? needs for consuming more NFL content but also advertisers who are dying to put their brands in front of consumers in different ways than they have historically. The teams in the NFL are incredibly excited about this and we think it?ll be an incredibly historical milestone.?

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York