Olympic Swimmer Dives Into IG Video Series 🏊

Bella Sims partners with Portal A's Moonshots program

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Olympic Swimmer Bella Sims Launches IG Series

18-year-old Olympic swimmer Bella Sims shares everyday adventures in the nine-part Instagram series “Bella Sims Needs A Life” / Portal A

Olympic swimmer and NIL athlete Bella Sims recently launched an Instagram video series called Bella Sims Needs A Life with production studio Portal A. Her motivation? Sims just wants to be normal.

Diving in: 18-year-old Sims is an elite swimmer starting at the University of Florida in the fall. She won a silver medal for the 200-meter freestyle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and will compete this summer at the Paris Olympics.

Amid these larger-than-life accomplishments, Bella Sims Needs A Life aims to bring Sims down to earth. 

  • The nine-part photo and video series follows Sims’ everyday adventures like doing pottery or browsing a thrift shop with friends. 

  • The production was made through Portal A’s Moonshots project, a $500,000 investment program funding creative projects from up-and-coming artists.

“Elevated content offers athletes a point of real differentiation,” Jacob Motz, director of original projects at Portal A, told us. “Bella has star potential and we believe this type of storytelling gives fans a chance to know her on a deeper level.”

NIL snapshot: Sims is repped by Excel Sports Management and has worked with brands like CVS, Vella, and Shoe Palace. 

  • Her home state of Nevada is one of 33 in the U.S. that allows high school students to earn income from their name, image, and likeness (NIL), an opportunity that’s only been available to student athletes since 2021. 

  • According to the NIL marketplace Opendorse, the average compensation for student athletes on their platform was about $1,300 per deal in 2022

Zoom out: The lines between athlete and creator have blurred with the growth of NIL content—see Travis Hunter’s YouTube channel or the Cavinder twins training with the WWE. Student athletes like Sims have demonstrated strong engagement thanks to their reality-style content and the trust they’ve earned within their sport.

70% of Kinigra Deon’s Watchtime Came from TVs in 2023

Kinigra Deon (right) creates skits and short films (left) with camera crews, actors, and people with traditional television experience / Kinigra Deon, YouTube

Multihyphenate creator Kinigra Deon—who regularly writes, directs, and acts in the family-friendly videos she uploads to her YouTube channel—counted over 70% of her watchtime from connected TVs in 2023.

Why? “Our content is for viewers who want to sit down, get their popcorn…and turn on the TV to watch a really good story,” Deon told YouTube’s company blog.

Context: Deon started out making low-cost sketch comedy videos in 2019.

  • As her channel grew (she now has over 3.7 million subscribers), Deon began to branch into short films and comedy, action, and drama series.

  • Deon said her goal is to become “the Tyler Perry of YouTube.” She currently works with a rotating cast of 30–40 actors and plans to build out her own production studio.

Unpacking the strategy: Deon is using a hybrid model to achieve her desired “cinematic” feel.

  • Deon hired a small camera crew with traditional television experience to fill roles such as set design, sound, and videography. She and her husband handle the majority of pre-production (such as writing and ordering props).

  • “The difference is that we do things faster with far fewer people…[and have] a personal relationship with our audience,” she said. “We can wear multiple hats and delegate.”

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Linktree Tests Social Commerce with Sephora, Urban Outfitters

Brands Sephora and Urban Outfitters (right) sign on for link-in-bio platform Linktree’s (left) affiliate marketing program / Linktree

Linktree is testing a new affiliate marketing program that pays creators 12–15% commission on product sales from certain companies through creators’ unique link-in-bio. 

  • Brands including Sephora and Urban Outfitters have signed on for the program. 

  • Linktree will begin taking a “nominal fee” of each sale once the program expands, according to The Information.

Big picture: TikTok Shop added more than 5 million new U.S. customers during Black Friday season last November, and Linktree’s latest moves suggest it could be entering the social commerce arena. FYI, about 7.3% of total e-commerce retail sales in the U.S. are expected to happen via social channels by 2025, according to Statista.

👀 Creator Moves

  • Mark Rober is hiring a data analyst who specializes in YouTube analytics.

  • CreativeLaunch is hiring a video editor to create paid social ads for top e-commerce brands.

  • MrBeast is hiring a creative to lead writing sessions and develop frameworks for original videos.

  • The CoachingYourCoaching Podcast is hiring a social media manager to identify and edit podcast clips.

Looking to bring on new team members? You can post opportunities on our (free) job board here.

🔥 Press Worthy

  • PRIME is now the center ring sponsor of the WWE.

  • YouTube makes a retirement tribute video for MatPat.

  • Rely less on brand deals and more on true fans by creating income through memberships with Memberful.*

  • The Fellas podcast launches a site for exclusive travel videos and ad-free content.

  • X is launching a TV app for Amazon and Samsung smart TVs.

*This is sponsored advertising content.

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