Screen Australia kick-starts Mamamia’s video ambitions

Video matters for Australia’s largest women’s network

Mia Freedman, Monique Bowley and Alys Gagnon

A recent endowment from Screen Australia has meant Mamamia will be able to engage in a bolder push into video. Through its Gender Matters funding program, Screen Australia partnered with Mamamia to embrace narrative storytelling and to open up its platform to find an audience for other web series.

Mamamia has already been experimenting with video, with a growing catalogue of short-form videos on the site featuring opinion and information related to health, relationships, lifestyle, entertainment and more. Recent video topics include “five simple ways to minimise your risk of bowel cancer”, “millennials are having less sex than the previous generation. Here’s why”, and “women own up to the craziest things they’ve ever done for love”.

There is considerably greater scope for Mamamia to expand its video offering.

“We haven’t gone deep in that. We know our audience wants it,” explained Mamamia managing director Kylie Rogers. “We have great ambitions to go deep into the screen space, so we engaged with Screen Australia. We found out that they were launching their Gender Matters program and obviously there are some ideal synergies between them supporting women in the screen space and our higher purpose being supporting women and engaging women through great content. So, we applied for a grant and were successful.”

Kylie Rogers

Kylie Rogers

Rogers doesn’t dispute that Mamamia would have struggled to fund its narrative video aspirations by itself, but admits that the additional funding enables the company to expedite the process:

“There are two elements to it. There is a grant that part-funds the production and creation of our own original content – that has allowed us to accelerate our dreams quite considerably. The other part, the interesting part, is we will be setting ourselves us up as a video destination so we can distribute and promote other Screen Australia projects, other great projects that have also received grants. We will create an audience, a voice, a promotion platform for those partners so we can sustainably encourage and support great content by women for women,” she said.

In a sense, the move towards deeper video engagement with the Mamamia audience is an extension of what the media company had done with its podcast network – extending the content offer beyond just text-based content.

“Our podcast network is starting to become its own stand-alone brand, an owned and operated network within the Mamamia umbrella, and I would imagine video will be the same. We will produce great content for other players, but it’ll be underneath Mamamia Screen.

Nigella Lawson and Mia Freedman

Nigella Lawson and Mia Freedman

“We’re growing our audience every day. We just celebrated our second month where we have grown 22% each month. As we do more podcasts, as we do more video, and as we continue to write the content that we write, we are growing our audience,” Rogers revealed.

That growth is all coming from Australia. A sister site was launched recently in the US, with Mamamia also working on growing an audience in that market.

Just as it has been successful with podcasting, Mamamia expects its video growth to increase exponentially. At its upfronts presentation late last year, Mamamia forecast video views to pass 20m views over a 12-month period. Rogers reports that the company is on track to meet that target.

The video content currently being produced is sourced in a number of different ways, with some of the content coming from video shot during podcast recordings. The best bits of that video are then included in the Mamamia podcast app.

Mamamia has also, like so many other media companies trying to tap into its potential, experimented with Facebook Live where it has over a million followers. At least three Facebook Live videos are produced each week, which has been met with a highly enthusiastic response by its Facebook followers.

The multiplatform approach with text, audio, and video content has been successful with an audience whose attention is often diverted at different points throughout the day. Their engagement, Rogers said, is “when they are travelling on a train or bus, or are exercising in the morning, or cooking at night. They are listening to our podcasts. When they get ‘me time’ throughout the day they are watching a video or reading our content.”

Currently Mamamia is looking to hire an executive producer to head-up the team responsible for its video division, Mamamia Screen. With 80% of the Mamamia audience consuming its content via mobile, short-form and easy-to-digest video content is going to be a significant focus. Rogers does have an eye to Mamamia getting involved in long-form video content too, but she stresses that it’s long-form in the mobile sense: “It’s the attention economy. Long-form is anywhere between five and 10 minutes”.

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