League bundles offerings into NFL Game Pass
The NFL, as part of extensive changes to its digital content portfolio for the 2015 season, has bundled its subscription products into a new, single offering called NFL Game Pass.
NFL Now, the over-the-top digital service that made its debut before the 2014 season, will now reside within NFL Game Pass, as well as a rebuilt NFL Mobile application and NFL.com.
|Digital postgame highlights on tablet (above) and matchups in smartphone format (below)
The $99.99 annual cost is slightly less than the combined cost of all the separate digital
NFL Now content, representing a mix of NFL league and team news, analysis, highlights and archival material, will now exist as channels within NFL Mobile and NFL.com, including a NFL Now Live feed featuring a continual video feed of news, highlights and other content.
But the league insists that shift does not represent a retreat from the original goals of NFL Now or an admission of failure for the service, which was announced in high-profile fashion before Super Bowl XLVIII last year in New York and debuted with the start of the 2014 season across a variety of online, mobile and connected TV platforms.
“If you’re living in a digital environment, it’s all about iteration,” said Perkins Miller, NFL chief digital officer. “The core of NFL Now, creating a next-generation video experience, is very much still there. But our fan feedback told us we need to provide a more predictable, consistent way to access our content.”
The consolidation of the digital video and audio subscription products mirrors a similar move two years ago in which the NFL trimmed down its mobile portfolio and put its weight behind its flagship, cross-carrier NFL Mobile app.
“We’re trying to simplify things for fans,” Miller said. “We believe we now have tied the experiences together in a much more logical, intuitive way.”
A reworked NFL Mobile, meanwhile, will feature much greater differentiation in programming and presentation between game days and non-game days. League sponsor Verizon last week also announced plans to make live local Sunday afternoon and national prime-time games available to all of its mobile subscribers after previously restricting that content to certain price tiers.
The Verizon move to offer the live game streaming to all of its mobile subscribers also follows a similar liberalization for the 2015 season by DirecTV in which the digital version of NFL Sunday Ticket is now more freely available to apartment dwellers and college students unable to get a satellite dish.
The NFL will continue to make an aggressive push into fantasy football with its league offerings at NFL.com, a separate NFL.com Fantasy Football mobile application, and its NFL Fantasy Live show airing on the NFL Network, NFL.com and NFL RedZone.