Junkee overhauls structure, builds native video unit

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 10 July 2015

Fresh from rebranding from Sound Alliance to Junkee Media, the publisher has restructured its senior management and outlined a sharp focus on branded content and video. It has created a video team and appointed Vincent Rommelaere, former technical head and videographer, to oversee it.

Rommelaere will be tasked with leading Junkee Media’s dedicated video team as they craft video for Junkee’s channels and work with its partners, such as Westpac, Intel, Qantas and Telstra, to create branded video content for social media and owned channels.

CEO of Junkee Media Neil Ackland tells AdNews that video is a huge focus for the media company to tap into its growth and also the appetite of brands to create more mobile video content. The IAB’s online ad spend report released in February revealed that video advertising grew 52% in the previous 12 months, reaching $237 million, while TubeMogul claimed in May that mobile video inventory increased 250% quarter-on-quarter.

“We really want to try and crack the distribution of video through social. Our belief [about online video] is that the model of pre-roll is a bit broken, from a user point of view,” Ackland says.

In the past, online video was often about clicking on a page and sitting through 15 seconds of pre-roll before a user got to see what they wanted, but the future is mobile video in the social feed, says Ackland, and he’s gearing Junkee up for it.

“The future is much more about getting the content into the mobile feed, whether that’s through Instagram, Snapchat, or predominantly Facebook, and then having that brand message integrated through the core of the content rather than having to interrupt the user experience.

“We’re focusing on how we can create compelling and engaging video content that also tells a brand story. That’s the holy grail for us, in terms of video,” says Ackland.

The business has also restructured its management to facilitate its next phase of growth, promoting co-owner and content director Tim Duggan to publisher and naming technical lead Ian Grant as CIO.

Junkee Media is also upping its custom publishing offering after the success of its youth-focused travel site AWOL in partnership with Qantas, and is working with other brands to create mobile-first customer titles.

Duggan adds: “When native first started, a lot of brands were really just dipping their toes in with a couple of pieces of content here and there. When a big brand like Qantas makes a big move like AWOL – and so far, it’s proving to be really successful – you see a lot of other big brands wondering if they, too, can become publishers.

“Our twist on it is focusing on mobile first, focusing on the youth segment, and then focusing on native as the primary revenue model. I think Qantas have shown how successful custom publishing can be with their printed magazine, but you haven’t seen many people crack it in a mobile sense, or even a digital sense.”

A version of this story first appeared in the 10 July issue of AdNews Magazine. You can get it hot off the press today on your iPad or subscribe in print, by clicking here.

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