Mar 26, 2014

Move over, BuzzFeed: how Junkee is making its own way (and making money) online

If Junkee can survive BuzzFeed, the team at Sound Alliance will have created something rather unique. But read the fine print on who's paying for some of the content.

Myriam Robin — Media Reporter

Myriam Robin

Media Reporter

Smart, ballsy or funny -- that’s how Sound Alliance CEO Neil Ackland describes the vision he and his team had for upstart pop culture website Junkee. "We looked at pop culture, and we felt like it was being dumbed down," he said. "We could see a huge shift in the news consumption habits of young people. They get their news from social media, and they share what makes them look funny, clever or interesting." And so a year ago, Junkee was born. It's since cemented its place among Sound Alliance’s stable, which includes youth websites like FasterLouderInTheMix and SameSame. It’s already surpassed 600,000 unique browsers in March (an exceptionally good month for traffic), and commercially, it’s tracking ahead of expectations. It’s through Junkee that Sound Alliance, Australia’s leading youth publisher, pioneered the use of "native advertising" (or branded content) in Australia -- such advertising now contributes close to 20% of total revenue. Native isn’t a new concept globally; it’s a key part of websites like BuzzFeed overseas. But Sound Alliance is the first company to take it up in a big way in Australia. The company’s positioning has helped, Ackland told Crikey. "Brands tend to be more open to experimentation on youth campaigns," he said. "It’s not been that difficult to get interest from brands and media agencies around what we’re doing. We’ve had 12 months of really evolving and refining the model, and the results are getting better and better." Native advertising can be described as advertorial on steroids. Instead of relying on the clout of media personalities to add their credibility to a brand, the brand borrows from and leans on the editorial sensibilities of a media outlet. The idea is for the advertising to be less intrusive and more of what users would want to read.

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

2 thoughts on “Move over, BuzzFeed: how Junkee is making its own way (and making money) online

  1. Richard

    Been increasingly impressed with Junkee, they cover the youth/pop culture stuff without dumbing it down too much or resorting to clickbait. Worth subscribing to their mailing list.

  2. fractious

    I’m of an age that is probably well outside junkee’s “target demographic”, and I confess a lot of its feed doesn’t interest me at all. Nonetheless, this (from late last year) was one of the best things I read on the innernet evar:

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details