- Facebook, Twitter and Snap are seeking online rights to Fox's video highlights from the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Bloomberg News reported citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter. The social media companies have offered 21st Century Fox tens of millions of dollars to show the video clips.
- Facebook and Twitter showed very little video during the last World Cup, which aired on ESPN in the U.S. Four years ago, Snapchat was beginning to expand from video messaging to showing professionally produced videos. The company created a video, now called a Story, of user-generated footage from the World Cup final match.
- Fox will retain rights to use highlights on its news and commentary shows, while Facebook, Snap and Twitter aim to entice more casual sports fans to show interest in the tournament. The social media companies are allowed to produce their own shows to complement the highlights.
Mobile media are well suited for up-to-the-minute highlights of sporting events, especially a global event like the World Cup, whose games in Russia will be broadcast in the middle of the night or early afternoon for U.S. audiences. Social media companies have a global audience of billions of people — Facebook reached two billion monthly users last week, according to Techcrunch. Coupled with the fact that the 2014 World Cup in Brazil reeled in 3.2 billion viewers, according to FIFA, partnerships with these social media giants could significantly boost the global reach of advertising content. More than 25 million people in the U.S. alone viewed the 2014 World Cup final — compared to a billion around the globe — making it the most-watched soccer match in the nation's history, according to the London Telegraph.
Sports fans are generally interested in posting messages or participating on social media as they watch games and interact with other viewers, and the social media platforms already have experience in partnerships for major sporting events. Facebook reached a deal with Fox to carry part of the Champions League, the annual European soccer tournament. Snap had deals for sports highlights at the 2016 Olympics. Last year, Twitter streamed video of live NFL games.
By having rights to the highlights, social media companies can also avoid having to send take-down notices to users who post videos of games. During the 2014 World Cup, users reposted footage from sports channels and broadcasters, which ran afoul of copyright and trademark laws, The Verge reported.
For Fox, social media platforms' growing interest in video gives the news outlet a possibly significant source of revenue and a way to promote its coverage to an engaged, global audience. The company paid $400 million for multiyear rights to broadcast the World Cup, Bloomberg reported, so paid partnerships with social giants could likely defray some of the broadcast costs.