Adam Rippon gets asked to go ice skating a lot. So the Bronze medal-winning Olympian decided to create a show out of it.
“People always say, ‘Let’s get coffee,’ and you never end up doing it,” said Rippon, who retired from competitive figure skating in November. “This is something I really wanted to do, get people out on the ice, talk about things that are important, laugh and joke and fool around.”
That led to the launch of his new YouTube show, “Break The Ice,” where Rippon and his guest hit the rink to chat about topics fun and serious before the episode concludes with guest trying the skating technique they learned.
The first season, which is made up of eight, 10-minute episodes, features guests Lilly Singh, Manny MUA, Gus Kenworthy, Maddie & Mackenzie Ziegler, Raymond Braun, Todrick Hall, Jasmine Luv and Molly Burke.
Rippon has also built out his YouTube channel with weekly Monday and Friday vlogs, allowing fans a deeper look into Rippon’s life.
He felt the launch of the YouTube channel would be a good platform to start the series, and he plans on continuing it for multiple seasons, whether it lives on the channel or moves to a more traditional platform. But the channel also holds an important brand aspect for Rippon, who recognizes the power of YouTube beyond other social media channels.
This week, he’ll vlog from BookCon, where he’s promoting his new memoir, “Beautiful on the Outside.”
“What I hope with the vlogs is to really show behind the scenes of what I do, like these are the things you do when you’re promoting a book,” Rippon said. “As opposed to Twitter or Instagram, it’s an unedited version, so you can get to know someone. And when the content is a little bit more long form, you get to know that person a little better, feel like you’re catching up.”
Rippon worked closely with digital production studio Portal A to launch the YouTube channel and film “Break the Ice.” Portal A has worked to launch many YouTube channels and is now breaking further into the space with established personalities like Rippon, recently launching “5 Minutes From Home” with Steph Curry and Unanimous Media.
Portal A Co-Founder Nate Houghteling said the production team was excited to work with Rippon, and the vision for his new property emerged quickly upon meeting.
“With Adam, the things that jumped out were his authenticity, how he was willing to produce an unvarnished appearance of himself,” Houghteling said. “Modern fans can spot BS and spin millions of miles away, and Adam cuts through that; he doesn’t have time for it. He knew it would create that direct connection.”
The growing trend of established names, especially athletes, making their way to YouTube channel is for a variety of reasons, and Houghteling echoed Rippon’s thoughts on it helping to build a deeper connection with fans outside the narrow performance window. The platform also provides a great place to develop an athlete’s media presence, as well as incubating projects.
Developing a YouTube channel also can present unique brand opportunities – deals that studios like Portal A can then create, Houghteling said. Recently, Portal A fostered a deal between Lyft Entertainment and Curry’s “5 Minutes From Home” interview show.
While YouTube channels can be thrown together, Houghteling said for them to be truly successful it takes planning — almost like programming a TV network.
“It’s that level of thought and production to really find that deeper connection,” he said.
Rippon has high hopes for “Break the Ice,” and he’ll continue to have a wide array of guests. – his wish list includes the likes of Oprah and Michelle Obama. Regardless, he’s just happy to still be on the ice, entertaining people.
“I’m over the moon,” he said. “I feel so lucky to do so many things in the entertainment space. It’s such a passion of mine, I love entertaining people and I feel so grateful to be doing it.”