Media companies often try to get audiences on one platform to check out their content on another platform. But they do not usually rely on another media company to do so.
In a twist on the typical cross-platform content promotion strategy, Crooked Media will have Team Whistle distribute Crooked’s YouTube show “ALL CAPS NBA” on Snapchat and Whistle’s other social platforms. The move is meant to capitalize on Whistle’s large social footprint to funnel viewers to Crooked’s weekly series, which launched on March 19.
Whistle and Crooked will have a revenue share model on the content distribution on Snapchat. Neither company provided additional details. It’s unclear whether that includes ad-supported programming, and if so, which team would be responsible for overseeing it.
The deal allows Crooked Media to “work smarter, not harder, by partnering with someone already doing something successfully and effectively” on Snap, said Ryan Sides, vp of digital strategy at Crooked Media. Team Whistle had 25.5 million viewers on Snapchat in May 2021, across 20 active shows and 19 channels on the platform, according to the company. Crooked Media did not provide its Snapchat viewership figures by press time.
“ALL CAPS NBA” will have its own Snapchat Discover channel, which will feature the show’s branding, not Whistle’s. But Whistle will be responsible for producing the Snapchat versions of Crooked’s show. Specifically, Whistle will cut three- to five-minute-long variations of the 15- to 20-minute-long, full-length YouTube episodes.
Whistle will also distribute teaser videos and promotional clips and posts for “ALL CAPS NBA” across Whistle’s channels on YouTube, Instagram Stories and Twitter. The promo posts will have calls to action and links to watch the full episodes on YouTube. Crooked Media will also reshare the posts on their own social channels.
“It’s very similar to a client-agency relationship,” Sides said. Crooked provides the content, and Whistle markets it to the right audience to drive views.
Whistle reached 64 million unique global viewers in April 2021, according to Tubular Labs’ Audience Ratings data measuring 30-second views across YouTube and Facebook. Conversely, Crooked Media, which is home to the popular podcast “Pod Save America,” reached around 237,000 in the same period.
“ALL CAPS NBA” launched mid-March, at the same time as “Takeline,” a Crooked Media podcast hosted by Jason Concepcion — also the host of “ALL CAPS NBA” — and former WNBA champion Renee Montgomery. The YouTube channel that houses “ALL CAPS NBA” and video content from “Takeline” currently has 20,500 YouTube subscribers.
Crooked is “looking for expanded reach, and we are looking for content that resonates with this generation,” said Tyler Kenly, Whistle’s vp of media, referring to Gen Z and millennials, which make up the majority of Whistle’s social audience.
This is the “first of many” iterations of the deal between the two companies, according to Kenly. Other new programs are currently in production, such as Whistle videos featuring Crooked Media’s talent and other co-distribution and co-production opportunities. For example, Concepcion was featured in an episode of Whistle’s series on NBA trading cards, called Card Clout — “a perfect example of something borne out of this Snapchat partnership, but beneficial for both” companies, Kenly said.
“ALL CAPS NBA” is different from the type of content Whistle would produce on its own. Whistle focuses on sports and entertainment content, but the new Crooked show revolves around the “intersection of sports and culture,” touching on topics like systemic racism and pay inequities in sports, Sides said.
From an ad buyer perspective, the challenge may be “understanding the viewership” of the show, said Clair Bergam, associate media director at Media Kitchen. “Are the audiences for Crooked and Whistle similar enough to roll up into one sales pitch? Will either platform be able to accurately predict the viewership numbers they can expect given it’s a new distribution strategy?” she questioned.
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