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Volume 25 No. 177
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The Ringer Preparing NBA Preview Heavy On Video, Social Media

The Ringer’s '18 NBA preview will be heavy on videos, podcasts and social media this year. Sponsored by State Farm, the media company’s preview launches this week and culminates with a live watch of the league’s first regular-season game tomorrow night, 76ers-Celtics. The Ringer will be positioning itself as a second screen during the game. “It's easily the most ambitious thing we've done,” said Bill Simmons, the website's founder. “The biggest reason we've had some success on video social lately is because we're trying to make stuff that makes sense on the internet. For the first year to 18 months, we were trying to do TV shows on the internet. You have to grab somebody's attention in the first minute or so. They're usually watching their phone. They don't care what the set looks like. They just want to laugh and enjoy themselves and enjoy the content.” Shows run the gamut, from a one-hour show that picks the NBA’s 21st Century Team (described as similar to VH1’s “I Love the ‘80s” shows made for the NBA) to two mockumentaries, including this one called “TakeHunter.” "This is the biggest area for us to grow,” Simmons said. “In 2018, video and social are not two separate things anymore. The goal is to get somebody to watch your video for three or four minutes. Or one minute. Or 30 seconds. I think we're getting better and better at that.” Other Ringer features includes 30 fake TV opening credits for the NBA, a season preview featuring quotes from an unnamed popular TV show, “NBA Desktop with Jason Concepcion"; and “The Leap." “Obviously we want to have guys talking about if the Wizards are going to be good,” Simmons said. “But it has to have a hook. It can't just be, turning the cameras on and talking.” The Ringer will produce several podcasts, including a “Black On The Air” pod where Simmons and Larry Wilmore argue about the Celtics-Lakers rivalry. Content will exist via Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and the Ringer’s website. “If we have something that's good, people are gonna see it,” Simmons said. “They're going to retweet it. They're going to forward the link to each other. I think that's one of the biggest advantages in 2018 compared to seven or eight years ago."