Industry Profile: e-Mersion Media chief digital officer Michael Chmielewski

13 April 2021

Our Industry Profile takes a look at some of the professionals working across the advertising, adtech, marketing and media sector in Australia. It aims to shed light on the varying roles and companies across the buzzing industry.

This week we speak to e-Mersion Media chief digital officer Michael Chmielewski.

Time in current role/time at the company:
Since before it was a company, but officially two years.

How would you describe what the company does?
At e-Mersion Media we transform print magazines into brand driven digital experiences that leverage cross-platform content to help tell unique context driven stories.

What do you do day-to-day?
I come up with new ideas that push the envelope, try to break things, and then help work out how to put them back together, improved.

As head of digital I oversee the digital strategy, technology adoption, and end product delivery for our portfolio of magazine publishers and advertising partners, as well as our internal direction. Leading the digital transformation for traditional print based publishers, developing new digital strategies and revenue opportunities, and managing teams both internally and externally. As the content production lead I oversee the team of content producers and designers, and manage the delivery pipeline for all commercial projects.

Define your job in one word:

I got into digital because:
I love both science and creativity, so I really enjoy technology and insight driven storytelling.

What’s the biggest challenge you face in your role?
e-Mersion Media is developing a new platform and a new format for an otherwise traditional industry, there’s certainly an education piece there, but also an opportunity for growth.

What’s the biggest industry-wide challenge you’d like to see tackled?
The magazine industry as a whole is facing many challenges such as sustainability, scalability, cost, accountability, that we hope to tackle through digital transformation.

Previous industry related companies you have worked at:
Nine Entertainment Co, Guardian Labs, and Fairfax Media.

Notable campaigns you have worked on:
Taking a renowned print magazine like Goodwood Magazine, which is the publication for England’s greatest sporting estate that is home to three of the biggest sporting events in the world, and transforming it into an enhanced digital magazine complete with video, 360 content, fully interactive ads and editorial, and then using the readership data and what we learned from the first issue to influence both editorial and ads for subsequent issues. Being a digital platform, the data is of course way more detailed and granular than ever before, leading to precise actionable insights for the first time.

Who has been a great mentor to you and why?
Maree Hall, who was head of Powered by Nine when I was a new media strategist, taught me the importance of audience insights when I thought all I had to do was come up with “cool ideas,” not only to help develop better ideas, but to help sell them during pitches.

And my mum, who always told me to ask why, to learn and understand the answer, and to be creative in everything that I did.

Words of advice for someone wanting a job like yours?
Don’t be afraid to branch out and explore different sides of the media industry, learn all you can, be creative but back every idea with research and data. Work out what the difference is between information and intelligence and apply that approach to everything.

If I wasn't doing this for a living, I'd be:
I’d be going crazy with all the free time I had. But probably something else creative (I studied music and film before media).

My mantra is:
Only boring people get bored.

My favourite advert is:
I honestly don’t have just one favorite advert, I like a lot of different types of campaigns. From a once off really creative and fun video, to a cross platform campaign, to engaging experiences for the audience. As long as there’s some insight and thought behind it and it’s outside of the box it grabs my attention. And that’s always the type of content I have strived to create in my various roles.

Music and TV streaming habits. What do you subscribe to?
Everything. I have literally every streaming platform but still spend most of my evening time watching YouTube. It’s even become such a part of my streaming habit that if I do watch something on Netflix for example, I’ll then follow up by watching YouTube videos about the content I just watched.

Years ago I wrote a paper about the difference between lo-fi and hi-fi TV, lo-fi being user created content like YouTube and actually much more similar to early television, and hi-fi being your big productions. Now the lines have blurred so much that rather than being two different things, they’re more complimentary than ever.

Tell us one thing people at work don’t know about you?
I release music under an alias no one knows about.

In five years' time I'll be:
Exploring new technology and new ways of using it to tell stories and help businesses and audiences. I’m fascinated with things such as 5G and the Neuralink; both of which really address current latency issues, be it the latency of information transfer or the interface latency caused by being limited to interacting with technology through our hands. I think seamless real-time experiences are the future and that’s really exciting to me. I look forward to working out what that means for media, marketing and ad-tech, and what amazing stories we can tell and what new platforms we can create.

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