Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Axios visuals

Bleacher Report, the millennial and Gen-Z focused digital sports franchise owned by Turner, has no plans to put its free app — which is accessed by millions of people — behind a paywall, the company's new CEO Howard Mittman tells Axios.

Why it matters: Mittman believes people will pay for live sporting events, but not necessarily sports journalism and analysis. For this reason, he doesn't expect to ever build a subscription model for the 20 million people that have downloaded the Bleacher Report app, which drives 50% of the company's traffic and revenue.

"I don't see us at any time going to paid model, where content is gated, because I think there's a better opportunity for us to continue to engage a larger audience of sports fans, who show no evidence from us that that's what they want ... I just don't believe that gating journalism is the best way for us to grow this business."

Yes, but: Bleacher Report does charge consumers for live games or access to its over-the-top live TV app, Bleacher Report Live. A single game or match is $2.99, while a monthly subscription is $9.99 — nearly twice the monthly cost of ESPN+, which has exclusive sports content and niche live sports rights. A yearly subscription to B/R Live is $79.99.

  • The app is currently driven by ads, which bring in between $80-$100 million for the company, according to estimates based on revenue ranges from Mittman. Users have to sign into the free app through an authentication service, like they would for a paid subscription. That helps the company collect better first-party data and in turn, sell ads for a higher premium.
  • The regular Bleacher Report app has 10 million people signed up to get push alerts, which Mittman believes will be a critical service once real-time betting becomes widespread. "Our alerts are fast," Mittman said. "You’ll get them anywhere between 1 minute and 7 minutes faster than any other subscription alert service. Speed is the key performance indicator that we monitor in terms of alerts."

Mittman takes over as CEO in place of Dave Finocchio, one of the company's four original founders, who announced his summer 2019 departure last week.

  • Mittman has been chief revenue officer and chief marketing officer of Bleacher Report since August 2017. He takes over just months after AT&T purchased parent company Turner, which acquired Bleacher Report for $175 million+ in 2012.

The AT&T acquisition has been smooth so far, Mittman says. "Nothing has changed yet day-to-day, but the opportunity is massive." He believes Bleacher Report's digital data, combined with AT&T's customer data, could be a big sell for advertisers looking to better target hyper-sports fans.

  • When it comes to betting, Bleacher Report announced a new deal last Thursday with Caesars Entertainment, a casino operator, to build a live 24/7 sports-betting content studio inside the sports book section of one of Caesars’ Las Vegas casinos.
  • AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson recently told Recode that AT&T itself doesn't plan to get into the gambling business, but recognizes the content opportunities around gambling.

The big picture: In an era where venture-capital backed media companies appear to be struggling, Bleacher Report is an example of a pretty stable exit.

  • Mittman says the company currently brings in 4 to 5 times the amount of revenue that it did when it was acquired by Turner in 2012, which was roughly $40 million at the time, according to reports.
  • "I think there’s a lot of decisions being made by companies right now not to appeal to to consumers, but to appeal to VCs," Mittman says. He predicts we will eventually see a similar shakeout of some of the direct-to-consumer media companies focused on podcasts and subscriptions that we saw over the past 12 months with distributed web publishers.

Go deeper

Buffett eyes slow U.S. progress, but says "never bet against America"

Warren Buffett in New York City in 2017. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Warren Buffett called progress in America "slow, uneven and often discouraging," but retained his long-term optimism in the country, in his closely watched annual shareholder letter released Saturday morning.

Why it matters: It breaks months of uncharacteristic silence from the 90-year-old billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO — as the fragile economy coped with the pandemic and the U.S. saw a contentious presidential election.

Restaurant software meets the pandemic moment

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Food delivery companies have predictably done well during the pandemic. But restaurant software providers are also having a moment as eateries race to handle the avalanche of online orders resulting from severe in-person dining restrictions.

Driving the news: Olo filed last week for an IPO and Toast is rumored to be preparing to do the same very soon.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
5 hours ago - Technology

How the automation economy can turn human workers into robots

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

More than outright destroying jobs, automation is changing employment in ways that will weigh on workers.

The big picture: Right now, we should be less worried about robots taking human jobs than people in low-skilled positions being forced to work like robots.