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Bleacher Report Embraces Delivering Content Everywhere

Jason Barrett

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When word first leaked that Facebook was approaching publishers to put content directly on the platform, many were skeptical. There were the usual fears of loss of control and uncertain prospects for monetization.

And, to be fair, many of those questions remain unanswered. But as Facebook, Google and Snapchat have moved content directly on their platforms, publishers like BuzzFeed and Bleacher Report have eagerly jumped at the chance of reaching audiences directly on the platforms where they’re spending the most time.

“2016 is the year that, as a publisher, if you’re not embracing the content-everywhere approach and you’re not coming up with a way to have conversations with advertisers about how you’re going to bake their brands in content on these platforms, 2017 is going to roll around and you’ll be in trouble,” said Rory Brown, President of Bleacher Report. Brown was employee #12 and has witnessed the company’s growth to more than 300 people, becoming a cornerstone piece of Turner’s digital media strategy in the process.

Bleacher Report did not grow without its share of critics. Some bemoaned the site’s reliance on aggregation and mastery of the dark arts of search-engine optimization. What they missed, Brown said, is that Bleacher Report was focused not just on producing content but on getting it to audiences, a basic strategy that many publishers were late to adopt.

The knock on distributed strategy is publishers can become over-reliant on a platform. That’s why Bleacher Report has a “hedging” strategy of not over-emphasizing one platform too much. That can mean bringing in traffic through search, social and apps but also going out to platforms.

Compared to many publishers, Bleacher Report made an early bet on mobile, seeing its audience shift in that direction. That has allowed it to amass 15 million downloads of its Team Streams app. Its strategy relied on converting search traffic to email newsletters and then to the app, Brown said.

“The current media wars are not going to be won on direct audience numbers,” he said. “Brand is the big winner. We’ve got to reach as many people as we possibly can, and the best way to do that is creating content that might live on Bleacher Report but lives in a number of places as well.”

To read the full article and hear the podcast with Rory Brown visit Digiday where it was originally published

 

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NEWS: F1 Renews With ESPN For U.S. Media Rights

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

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F1 ESPN

The racing series F1 has decided to stick with ESPN through 2025.

ESPN was reportedly in a three-way bidding battle with Amazon and Comcast. According to the report, F1 told both Amazon and Comcast on Friday that they had decline to accept either one’s offer.

The reported value of the three-year contract is set to pay F1 $75-90M per year for the U.S. media rights. Amazon had offered to pay roughly $100M per year, with the right to sublicense to a linear broadcast network. Comcast’s offer was similar to ESPN’s in terms of value and the structure. They also wanted to put select races on it’s streaming service, Peacock.

Netflix was in on the negotiations, as well. The makers of Drive to Survive, the streaming series that many credit with the sport’s explosion in popularity in recent years, wasn’t close on on their financial offer. Also, it seems F1 executives were not ready to put all of its races on a streaming service just yet.

Currently, F1 receives $5M per year for ESPN to broadcast it’s races. ESPN has grabbed about 1.0 million viewers per race. That makes F1 a more than viable option for the network to invest into again. ESPN will be able to put a small number of races on its ESPN+ streaming service exclusively. The vast majority being on ABC or ESPN.

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Skip Bayless Says He And Stephen A. Smith ‘Sorted Out’ Their Disagreement

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

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Skip Bayless

Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless were locked in a war of words last week following the First Take host’s appearance on JJ Redick’s Old Man and the Three podcast.

The origins of their partnership were discussed and Bayless admitted he did not like the way Smith characterized the state of First Take before he arrived on set. Smith insisted that Bayless simply misunderstood what he meant by saying that he was told the show needed him.

Over the weekend, Skip Bayless says he and Stephen A. Smith got together at the Bayless home in California to talk things out in private.

“He was in LA, he came over, we sat by the pool,” he said on the latest episode of The Skip Bayless Show. “It wasn’t the easiest conversation for a while, but we slowly but surely sorted it out. We got through it, and we have been through so much together.”

Bayless reiterated that he considers Smith a brother. They love each other. That doesn’t mean they are always going to remember events the same way or see eye-to-eye all the time.

“Brothers fight. We have fought before. I’m assuming we will fight again.”

Fighting doesn’t mean the relationship is fractured. In fact, Skip Bayless was adamant that he remains closer to Smith than he is to most people in his life.

“I don’t trust easily because of the way I was raised, but I do trust Stephen Anthony Smith. Trust him with my life. Always have and always will. I trust he will always be there for me, and you better believe I will always be there for him.”

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FOX Sports VP: ‘USFL Proves Spring Football As Valuable As Rising Properties’

“We want to show we belong in that category, and I think that happened.”

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Michael Mulvihill says the USFL accomplished exactly what FOX needed it to. It proved there is a large enough audience for spring football that it has a value on par with some of the hottest properties in sports media right now.

 “All we wanted to do is demonstrate that spring football can do viewership at the levels of Premier League, NHL regular season, Formula One or MLS,” the FOX Sports Executive VP said according to Sports Business Journal. “We want to show we belong in that category, and I think that happened.”

While none of those properties are pulling in the kind of media rights money the NFL or major college football is, Mulvihill pointed out that all of them have been in the news for the right reasons.

“You’re talking about properties that have all recently negotiated deals at substantial increases, or with F1, people know it’s about to.”

The USFL had a solid broadcasting footprint with games airing on FOX, NBC, FS1 and USA. Regular season games for the first year of the revived league averaged just under 700,000 viewers.

Mulvihill said fans behaved exactly how he expected them to in the first season of the USFL. Without any team loyalties, he isn’t surprised that people watched less of an average USFL game than they did the NFL or college football.

The USFL Playoffs begin this weekend. Canton, OH will host the league’s first championship game on July 3.

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