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Twitter has ordered a second season of House of Highlights Show, the monthly talk show hosted by Omar Raja and CJ Toledano (HoH founder and creative director/head writer, respectively) that bowed last year on the social media platform. The announcement came Monday evening at Twitter’s NewFront presentation in New York.
Turner Sports-owned Bleacher Report acquired House of Highlights in 2016; the show shoots at a studio at Bleacher Report headquarters in New York. An episode featuring Los Angeles Lakers star Lonzo Ball is the most-viewed so far, with more than 1 million views on Twitter, close to 1.2 million on the House of Highlights YouTube Channel and more than 2 million on Instagram. The latter is where most fans engage with House of Highlights, which has 12.6 million Instagram followers.
“It’s really cool to see the show cut through the clutter and tell organic stories,” general manager Doug Bernstein told The Hollywood Reporter.
The second season of House of Highlights Show will emphasize live events; it will roll out in conjunction with tentpole events possibly including NBA All Star Weekend, the NBA Finals, March Madness, the UEFA Champions League Finals and even the Super Bowl. (Turner Sports has broadcast rights to the NBA, March Madness and UEFA, which enables House of Highlights to share league content across digital and social.)
“The idea is to take this show to where the fans are, to really bring that energy that you experience out on location and have that be a major part of the second-season experience,” said Bernstein, adding that they are also exploring events in the gaming space. “The big moments we see on the sports calendar, that pop on Twitter and resonate with Gen Z, those are the things we’re going to try to be a part of. We want to be there for those peak moments.”
Started as an Instagram feed five years ago by Raja, then a Miami Heat-obsessed student at the University of Central Florida, House of Highlights has quickly established itself as disruptive force in sports media. It boasts superstar followers including Drake, LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Justin Timberlake and Dwyane Wade. It has racked up a slew of sponsors including McDonald’s, Taco Bell, Nike, Yahoo, Foot Locker and Jordan. And earlier this month, it became the only U.S. sports media brand to surpass ESPN across social platforms.
Most of House of Highlights fans are on Instagram, and the goal is to grow audiences on Twitter and YouTube, where it launched about 16 months ago, and is at about 850,000 subscribers. In February, House of Highlights notched approximately 75 million views on YouTube. As with the Twitter show, the brand is attempting to go beyond highlights to creating original content; there have been additional series — such as Mark Phillips’ sketch series Supreme Dreams Show — while also cultivating fan bases among other sports.
“We want to be more than an NBA highlights account,” noted Bernstein, adding that soccer also resonates with House of Highlights’ young fans.
“That’s been really encouraging — to see a [Cristiano] Ronaldo highlight put up just as many views as an NBA highlight. We don’t want to be thought of as just an Instagram account,” said Bernstein. “We want to be thought of as a true media brand.”
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