A wide-ranging conversation with the Bleacher Report CEO and co-founder.
This is a test or alpha episode of An Indieweb Podcast (working title). In it, David Shanske and and I talk about a variety of Indieweb topics, with the theme of "Considering the User", inspired by an article we were reading this week.
Programmer and entrepreneur Manton Reece is here this week to share how he’s using Apple gear to program and run his own business.
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When NBA star LeBron James left the Miami Heat in 2014, 20-year-old Omar Raja searched for highlights from James’ Heat career and couldn’t find relatable moments outside of traditional highlights. So Raja started House of Highlights, an Instagram account that frames moments from games as funny and relatable narratives.
Today, the account, which Bleacher Report acquired in 2015, has over 8 million followers, including A-list athletes like James and soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo. House of Highlights has a fiercely loyal audience on Instagram, continuing to post on the platform even as its audience has grown.
“Younger people aren’t on Twitter as much. It’s also mainly for news,” Raja said on this week’s Digiday Podcast. “Instagram is for entertainment, to see what everyone’s talking about. Instagram is the young person’s television.”
Raja discussed House of Highlights’ reasons for sticking with Instagram, the account’s focus, its evolution and more in the episode. Edited highlights appear below.
The idea behind the account
“I try to hit that athletes are just like us. They’re relatable. Videos that get more than 2 million views are [NBA star] Russell Westbrook freestyling on his Snapchat. It’s them having a personality. House of Highlights is rooted off of relatability. Fifty-three percent of our audience is under 24. The best way to describe it is jokes you would text your friends. All captions are meant to be what you would receive as a text.”
Crossovers between NBA and soccer
“NBA clips outperform any other league by far. It’s [always] been that way [for us]. I’m excited about getting Champions League rights in August. Soccer is probably the biggest sport on Instagram. There’s so much crossover with NBA and soccer in general. We did some [user-generated content] of [Brazilian soccer player] Neymar, and the performance on it was insane.”
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The case for Instagram and on-demand viewing
“On-demand viewing is best because you can do it wherever you are. The cool thing is people are checking every hour to be up-to-date on what’s going on. I grew up thinking I need the Bleacher Report app because I need to get everything now, so I can talk about it with my friends. It’s a conversation and community. The big thing is you want to be a part of the conversation before the conversation is over.”
Remaining unfazed by Instagram algorithm changes
“As long as the content is good, followers will share with friends, who will share with their friends. I’m confident in my ability to know good content, frame good content and make good content. I don’t worry too much about algorithms because I remember what it was like having zero followers. I could go back and do it again.”
Venturing into programming and posts
“We want to be where young people are at. They’re not on Twitter. We just started a YouTube account. We haven’t even pushed it on Instagram. People on Reddit have already found it. It’s got 10,000 subscribers without an Instagram promotion. It will be longer game and player breakdowns. It’s going to be a mix of highlights and original content.”
Branching out beyond traditional sports
“We’re always going to be rooted in sports. But there’s a game called “Fortnite”; it’s taken over right now. I wanted to shoot my shot and posted a “Fortnite” clip, and that got 2.5 million views. It was a good test. If you want to be more than that, you want to be able to amplify youth culture.”
In this interview Simon Drew talks with Ryan Holiday about Stoic rituals, habits, and life-hacks. If you’re new to Stoicism, or if you’re a seasoned Stoic then this interview will be both insightful and practical.
Ryan Holiday is an American author, marketer, entrepreneur, and media strategist. Since dropping out of college at 19 to apprentice under strategist Robert Greene (author of The 48 Laws of Power), Ryan has advised many New York Times bestselling authors and musicians. He became Director of Marketing at American Apparel at age 21, and since then has written multiple best-selling books including The Obstacle is the Way, Ego is the Enemy, and The Daily Stoic. It has been said that Ryan is “leading the charge for Stoicism”, and he is largely responsible for popularizing Stoicism in the business world, especially in Silicone
Awful Announcing Podcast: World Series ratings, ESPN’s Barstool debacle, The Athletic, and Bleacher Report’s Rory Brown
We’re back again with another episode of the AA podcast.
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This week, Joe Lucia and Andrew Bucholtz join host Ben Heisler and discuss the most recent headlines in the sports media world. Some highlights:
1:00-7:40: Have the strong World Series rating been surprising?
7:40 -10:20: How have Joe Buck and Fox as a whole done this Postseason? Is the mass hatred for Joe Buck going away?
10:20 – 13:30: What’s the ideal broadcast booth for a World Series?
13:30 -18:30: Should Fox tinker with their pre and post-game show personnel?
19:00 – 23:45: Reactions from the fallout to ESPN’s debacle with Barstool
24:15 – 32:00: Did the comments the CEO of The Athletic hurt the company’s prospects going forward?
34:00 – 38:00: Looking forward into 2018 and beyond in sports media
39:00 – 42:00: Mike joins the podcast, goes 2/2 on our Clippit sponsored trivia game, and wins a $50 Amazon gift card.
42:30 – 63:00: Bleacher Report President Rory Brown discusses the history of the company from his start in 2008 to now.
1:05:00 – 1:11:00: How important is Bleacher Report’s website in 2017, given how popular the social accounts, newsletter, and app are?
1:16:30 – 1:21:00: Biggest regret in terms of Bleacher Report’s strategy over the last decade
1:25:30 – 1:28:00: Could Bleacher Report ever launch a subscription premium content service?
1:28:00 – 1:30:00: Could Bleacher Report become the umbrella brand for Turner Sports?
1:30:30 – 1:32:00: Why doesn’t Bleacher Report offer their own fantasy games?
1:36:00 – 1:38:45: Ben gets closure from Rory on his failed commissionership of their fantasy football league in 2003.
As always, we’d love if you subscribed to our podcast on iTunes.
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It’s the year of loyalty for publishers, and as reverberations from Facebook’s news feed change subside, only those that have created a need for their content will remain unfazed. At a Digiday Live Podcast event on Jan. 24, Bleacher Report CRO and CMO Howard Mittman said Facebook’s community is waning, and all its changes aim to protect that owned and operated platform.
“Publishers are starting to remember — they shouldn’t have forgotten — [Facebook is] not their O&O,” Mittman said. “Back in 2013, Facebook was the best friend a publisher could have because they valued premium content, and that fit into their ecosystem of community and sharing. That changed over time, and it became volume-based. Facebook is taking a necessary step for their business that might not fit everybody else’s business. It doesn’t hurt us, but there are a lot of brands that are exposed right now.”
Below are highlights from the conversation, edited for clarity.
Need vs. feed content
“The media world is broken into two distinct categories: need and feed. Need has higher engagement, shareability, passion. If I worked at Bloomberg, I’d be psyched about this moment. If you’re into finance and you need to know what GE closed at, you’re going to push aside the beeps, the blinks, the texts and get to exactly what that closing price was. It’s a need, a deep-rooted passion, and it’s timely. Sports is the same way. We have a horizontal vertical, and we get to tap into that content. A small percentage of content that we consume is need. Everything else is feed. Inside of feed, things you’re happy to consume but you’re not looking for it, you won’t engage or spend time with it. The brands that have been subsisting off of feed versus focusing on premium content in need are having a reckoning.”
Apps are ‘everything’
“I view desktop the way those Madison Avenue luxury stores view their retail experiences. You have to be there, and it has to look good, but it’s really a branding exercise. It’s a small percentage of our overall business. The app is everything. It gives us control. We sit on top of a wealth of data. The app is the beating heart of the American sports fan. We own the social graph. We’re getting really good at asking the right questions of data. It’s 40 percent of our audience. The distributed web is not dead; the partnership models are not dead, but our app is a recognition of a different level of value.”
Video requires constant evaluation
“Facebook Watch was a big opportunity in 2017 at launch. They have to figure out what it’s going to be. Is it going to be Netflix or NBC? And then we would have to figure out where we fit into that ecosystem. We’re re-evaluating video every day. You can’t out-Hollywood Hollywood. We have a studio, but it’s not a lot. We’re more focused on creating content that meets the expectations of the user community and the story we’re trying to tell. Sometimes that would be 30 minutes, 60 minutes or six seconds.”
E-commerce shows promise
“The pivot to social monetization has been very successful for us. We’re making sure we’re crafting opportunities for consumers to engage and monetize through live experiences or e-commerce. It could be a nice revenue spike. The reality of some of that licensing business is you have to be willing to put your brand at risk. Those businesses also play intellectual property whack-a-mole. We own lots of IP. There are opportunities to do that, but a lot of examples I have seen are egregious and shady.”
CEO Dave Finocchio says Snapchat is interesting, too — but Instagram is where Bleacher Report is making money.
We have been talking about the problems with Twitter, Facebook, and social media throughout the last year.
Our guest has too, and he’s trying to do something about it. Manton Reece, talks about Micro.blog, the technology it is built on, and how he is being thoughtful about building something new. - GeekSpeak Podcast for 2018-01-19
Podcast: iPhone X Dark Mode, Castro 2.6 and App Store Pre-OrdersDecember 21, 2017 ∞In the last episode of 2017, Oisin’s iPhone X is stolen by Mexican police, we discuss apps using black backgrounds on the X’s OLED screen for dark modes, the launch of Castro 2.6’s backup / restore feature (including a daring live performance of Padraig restoring his main device) and the new App Store pre-orders feature.Links:Jared Sinclair’s ’Sodes appCastro 2.6 is available on the App Store now with Backup / Restore.Offering Your Apps for Pre-OrderListen in Castro, or find links to other players.
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