Bleacher Report and ESPN cash in on the NBA’s Instagram popularity
NBA videos are a slam dunk on Instagram.
The NBA’s own account drew 110.5 million Instagram video views in December, ranking as the most popular for Instagram view, according to Tubular Labs. ESPN and Bleacher Report, thanks to NBA clips and related content, ranked in the top 10, with ESPN drawing 30.5 million views and Bleacher Report another 28.6 million.
ESPN has a 25-member social team, which creates content for the network’s various shows, including “SportsCenter.” Within this group, about 10 staffers are short-form video producers focused on the different social platforms.
“It’s always a question of whether you’d tell your friend about this video,” said Glenn Jacobs, senior coordinating producer for SportsCenter’s short-form video group. “If yes, then it goes up.”
Jacobs said his team does not have a set number of Instagram videos it aims to publish on a daily basis — it’s all dictated by whatever is trending in the sports world. For instance, late last month Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant compared New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis to a unicorn. Very quickly, Jacobs’ team put together a highlight reel that replaced Porzingis’ head with that of a unicorn. On Instagram, the video has picked up more than 93,000 likes.
“When we’re discussing ideas for a video, we’re also talking about how to create Instagram versions of those ideas,” said Jacobs. The approach helped the “SportsCenter” account grow in 2015 from 1.5 million to 4.1 million followers.
Bleacher Report has also found success on Instagram, growing from 100,000 followers in January 2015 to 1.6 million today. With access to NBA content through parent company Turner Broadcasting, Bleacher Report is also putting time and effort behind creating original content for the platform.
Last fall, when the Golden State Warriors started their season undefeated, Bleacher Report used NBA2K16 to simulate a game between Golden State and Michael Jordan’s 72-win Chicago Bulls. A 15-second recap was produced for Instagram.
“When we see an opportunity to hit the intersection between sports and pop culture and do something that we know our young audience will love, we try and make it more than just a highlight,” said Rory Brown, president of Bleacher Report.
Of course, sometimes all you need is a great fan or player moment from a game. Both the “SportsCenter” and Bleacher Report Instagram accounts also put up videos of trick shots players take during pregame, and even funny fan interactions. Take, for instance, this clip of a Golden State Warrior fan getting caught for mocking LeBron James, which has been one of ESPN’s most popular clips.
It helps that basketball lends itself to video. “It’s always going to be easier in a sport where the players aren’t wearing helmets,” said Brown. “Plus, the NBA has done a great job embracing the personalities within its sport. It’s not always about LeBron the freakish athlete, it’s also LeBron the human being having a human moment with a fan. You’re that close to the action in basketball.”
Cheat Sheet: Google unveils timeline for a more ‘responsible’ cookie death clock
Google elaborated on its timeline for killing off third-party cookies as part of its promises to the UK's antitrust authority.
‘Weak Sauce’: New industry tool for opt-out from email-based tracking misses ID tech and key players like Facebook and Liveramp
The Network Advertising Initiative's new privacy control is intended to stop email-based audience matching — often referred to as onboarding.
How news publishers are using the Olympics and AR to flex their emerging tech storytelling
Big publishers like The Washington Post and USA Today are developing and expanding AR storytelling around the Olympic Games.
SponsoredHow the ad industry can use its borrowed time to future-proof first-party data solutions
Trent Lloyd, co-founder and head of brand solutions, Eyeota Google’s updated timeline for its Privacy Sandbox rollout, including its two-year delay of third-party cookie deprecation on Chrome, didn’t come as a surprise to many industry observers, given the limited utility of Google’s FLoC and the slow momentum of the Privacy Sandbox in the World Wide […]
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: Publishers’ programmatic ad businesses have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels
This week's Media Briefing looks at how the pandemic and the cookie's eventual demise have created the conditions for the programmatic ad market that publishers have been pushing for, with a shift to private buying coinciding with prices pushing past pre-pandemic levels.
‘They will need to use multiple routes’: Shifts appear in the publisher-SSP union, as alternative identifiers proliferate
As the ad tech industry rewires itself around the contours of privacy, supply-side platforms are reinventing themselves (again).