Mediaweek

Digital

Introducing Punkee: Junkee’s Gen Z ‘cheeky younger sister’

How Junkee Media is expanding operations following its acquisition by oOh!media

Online publisher Junkee Media has shifted its focus from catering for millennials towards enticing a younger audience. After 85% of the company was acquired by oOh!media in June 2016, Junkee Media is now expanding its horizon to produce content for the first true digital natives – Gen Z – with new digital destination Punkee. The new brand will launch in May 2017.

The digital publisher characterises the Gen Z market as people aged 15-21. They were born into the digital age and haven’t experienced life without internet.

Advertisers have been fighting to capture the attention of millennials in the last few years. Gen Z is now increasingly on their radar, Junkee Media CEO Neil Ackland told Mediaweek on his way to the airport to board a flight to Melbourne.

“What brands are looking is the entry point consumer. A lot of time brands want to attract people when they are young and then try to bring them in for a lifetime. It’s a really important time,” Ackland said.

Neil Ackland

“If you can recruit somebody at that age into your brand and then hold onto them, then you can actually have them for life – especially if you are a telco or a bank for example. That’s why the market really appeals to brands.”

There are 4.8 million people in Australia who fall into the Gen Z age group according to the market research carried out by Junkee Media, the title’s publisher Tim Duggan said in a recent episode of Mediaweek TV on Sky News Business channel. Ninety percent of the group in Australia access content on mobile and use up to five devices – up from three devices their millennial counterparts use on average.

Junkee.com is well recognised as an alternative popular culture news website for Gen Y. The tone of its reporting and stories sets it apart from the offering from big publishers such as Fairfax Media and News Corp. Punkee will be borrowing this attitude from its elder sibling.

“The main difference between Junkee and Punkee is that it will be more of a guilty pleasure. It’s really about having fun. It will be very light-hearted and funny,” Ackland said. “The topics covered on the website will be quite different from Junkee’s. A simple way of thinking about this would be that Junkee may cover a reality TV show, but it would be more likely to do a think or an opinion piece on it. Meanwhile, Punkee will produce a short recap video that is taking the piss out of the whole thing.

“The two websites may be covering similar content but they will be communicated to their audiences in different ways.”

The company is attempting to solidify its offerings so that the products are more recognisable to the umbrella brand, Junkee Media. The name Punkee, Ackland revealed, kills two birds with one stone.

“We felt like it [the name Punkee] had a lot of cues around punk and the punk attitude. The name also denotes lots of colour, fun and youthfulness of the target market,” Ackland said.

“What we are trying to do is build Junkee Media’s presence as the master brand. We were trying to simplify our offering and have a brand that really points back to the master brand. By calling it Punkee, it makes it sound like Junkee’s cheeky younger sister. It gives us the opportunity to build awareness around Junkee and Punkee, rather than having lots of different names that we have to communicate in the market.”

Punkee is a revitalisation of the independent pop culture website TheVine that Junkee Media acquired from founder Tom Pitney at the end of last year. Pitney was added to the company’s payroll as the editor of Punkee. The primary aim of the website is to continue engaging its Gen Z audience with entertainment content, primarily through video.

Under Pitney’s leadership, prior to the purchase made by Junkee, TheVine recorded 11 million organic video views on social media over a six-month period in the second half of 2016. The video recaps of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette were among the most popular pieces of content.

“Punkee is going to be taking over TheVine social handles. So we will be launching a pre-established audience when we go live in May 2017,” Ackland said. “TheVine website will also disappear and there will be new website there, which will be Punkee.”

What’s new for Junkee?

It wasn’t all about Punkee at Junkee Media’s upfront, which was held in early April in Sydney. The company announced three new content pillars for its prolific four-year-old digital brand Junkee: Politics Junkee, Music Junkee and Video Junkee. Junkee Media will also use the name for its video vertical to host a film festival event in partnership with Destination NSW.

Speaking about the three new content verticals, Duggan said on Mediaweek TV: “Any time we publish politics content the audience really engages with it. They want to access it in a funny, smart, ballsy and interesting way.

“We have a heritage as a music publisher. We have been doing it for over a decade. Our title called FasterLouder has been around for 13 years, which we have evolved into Music Junkee. Video Junkee is based around the insight that young people consume news and media content through video.”

Osman Faruqi leads the politics vertical. Katie Cunningham is the editor of the new music section. Meanwhile, former Tropfest festival and development manager Henry Kalaf has joined Junkee Media as executive producer of Video Junkee.

The past few months have been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride for Junkee Media, with a new parent company in oOh!media, a new brand for Gen Z and three new content pillars for Junkee.com.

In mid-2016, it was announced that oOh!media had acquired 85% of Junkee Media for $11.05 million (equivalent to a valuation of $13.0m for 100% of the company), with a right to acquire the remaining 15% of shares from the three remaining shareholders.

Ackland said: “It’s still early days. A lot of the work has been happening behind the scenes. But the biggest difference is that through their investment and support we are really able to scale the business up. We’ve got more human resources to be able to do things we need to do.”

oOh!media acquisition

The past few months have been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride for Junkee Media, with a new parent company in oOh!media, a new brand for Gen Z and three new content pillars for Junkee.com. In mid-2016, it was announced that oOh!media had acquired 85% of Junkee Media for $11.05 million (equivalent to a valuation of $13.0m for 100% of the company), with a right to acquire the remaining 15% of shares from the three remaining shareholders.

Ackland said: “It’s still early days. A lot of the work has been happening behind the scenes. But the biggest difference is that through their investment and support we are really able to scale the business up. We’ve got more human resources to be able to do things we need to do.”

To Top