Junkee upfront: Launches Punkee + politics, music and video verticals

Punkee, which launches in May, is headed up by managing editor Tom Pitney

Tom Pitney and Neil Ackland

Junkee Media has announced the launch of new title Punkee aimed at the Gen Z audience.

The launch, revealed during the publisher’s annual upfronts at the Eternity Playhouse Theatre in Sydney, was prompted by its annual research project which specifically focused on looking at the differences between Gen Z and Gen Y Australians which showed there was a large gap in the market for a strong new digital Gen Z title.

Punkee, which launches in May, is headed up by managing editor Tom Pitney. Pitney joined Junkee Media last year when it purchased TheVine where he was owner and publisher. Under Pitney’s stewardship, TheVine generated 11 million organic video views on social media over a six-month period, with the video recaps of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette among the most popular pieces of content.

“I’m excited to be able to scale up the video content that our audience already loves and take it to the next level under the Punkee banner,” Pitney said. “Over the past 18 months we’ve tested a whole range of ideas to understand what Gen Zs want to share and consume on social media. With these learnings, Junkee’s expertise and the growing base already behind us, we’re in a great position to introduce and grow a culture around Punkee.”

Tom Pitney

Junkee Media CEO Neil Ackland said the launch of Punkee continued the publisher’s track record of innovating in youth publishing.

“We look at Punkee as Junkee’s cheekier, younger sister,” Ackland said. “As Millennials move into the 20s and 30s a gap has opened up to talk to the next generation in a unique and authentic way, just as Junkee does for Millennials. It’s up to us as leaders in youth publishing to keep innovating to stay ahead of the curve.”

In addition to an online platform, the Punkee brand and content will be amplified in digital out-of-home environments via oOh!media’s extensive screen network.

Also announced at today’s Upfronts were significant changes to Junkee Media’s flagship title Junkee. Effective from today, Junkee will have three new dedicated sections each with their own social communities: Politics Junkee, Music Junkee and Video Junkee.

Junkee Media publisher Tim Duggan said the new sections are driven by the audience’s interest in the key pillars and expanding the hero brand, Junkee. “We can see clearly from our research and audience engagement that these are three of the fastest-growing content areas for us to go deeper on,” Duggan said.

Politics Junkee will be led by news and politics editor Osman Faruqi and build on Junkee’s reputation for funny and smart political news for young Australians.

Music Junkee is a new section headed up by editor Katie Cunningham. “Music Junkee reflects the current world,” says Duggan, “where music is celebrated in all of its forms and someone might be into Drake and Beyoncé, Diplo and Taylor Swift and that’s totally OK. There are no genre boundaries any more and Music Junkee will reflect that.”

The final announcement is Video Junkee, a section where lovers of video content can read, discuss and watch the latest in online screen content.

Expanding on this concept, Junkee is also launching a new major event Video Junkee 2017, a two-day festival in Sydney celebrating creativity in video content that will take over Carriageworks from July 28-30. Video Junkee is presented in partnership with Destination NSW, the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency.

Video Junkee 2017 is a festival for creators and lovers of video content that will celebrate short- and long-form video on digital screens. Video Junkee 2017 will bring together industry and consumers to celebrate, discover and foster creativity, talent and innovation in Australian video, encompassing SVOD, social, live streaming, TV, film and branded entertainment.

Former Tropfest festival and development manger Henry Kalaf has joined Junkee Media as executive producer of Video Junkee.

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