On the debut episode of a new video series on theScore app, Lance Stephenson discusses Lakers teammate LeBron James, Kevin Pritchard and more.
If theScore has its wish, you are going to see this video everywhere: new Laker Lance Stephenson remembering the time he blew in LeBron James’s ear four years ago.
To see the full 12-minute documentary, you’ll have to download the mobile app. But it’s also OK if you don’t, says VP of partnerships Aubrey Levy. While theScore makes its money from a news and scores app (the second biggest in North America, behind ESPN), the company has increasingly prioritized serving fans on social platforms—Instagram especially. So throughout production of the Stephenson profile, staffer Ashkan Rahimi was tasked with constantly looking out for potential short-form content. “Social is becoming such a substantive content platform on its own,” Levy says.
ESPN has built a small staff around its Snapchat show. Bleacher Report is turning House of Highlights into a digital publishing brand. But Levy believes theScore, which currently has about a million Instagram followers, can hold its own. “Even though these guys are finally starting to put more focus on mobile,” he says, “I think there is fundamentally a strategic difference when you are a digital-exclusive and mainly mobile-exclusive company.”
theScore’s social team has put an emphasis on bringing mainstream sports content to social—think more breaking news and less amateur bloopers—and producing their own documentaries is simply the next step in their eyes. “There’s consumer demand for premium,” Levy says, adding that theScore can create good video without massive production teams. The Stephenson doc was created by an on-the-ground team of three, including Rahimi. “The tech is there to support rich, robust, multimedia experiences on mobile.”
Inside the app, this new video series, named theScore X, is just the latest addition and effort to differentiate from competition. theScore has also recently added podcasts and games, with esports and gambling also being major focuses going forward. Social engagement features are coming to the app too.
Eventually, the company will look to monetize on its social following. But no one needs to worry about that for now, just enjoy the clip. And pay attention. Social-first video is getting good.