For this week’s MCV Pacific Weekly, Editor Joab Gilroy spokes with Fandom’s Eric Welles about the company’s expansion in Australia.
With co-creator of ABC’s Good Game and prolific freelancer Jeremy Ray joining FANDOM’s Sydney office, the fan-powered pop-culture site is launching into the next phase of its local push.
After first looking at the company’s move into Australia back in January, the local team at FANDOM has grown, adding Stuart Gallagher as their Director of Sales ANZ and expanding into a new office in Sydney as they sought to inform the region of what they have to offer. The addition of Ray indicates that the educational segment of their genesis is over, however, and the focused editorial FANDOM offers has begun.
“This past nine months, we’ve really just been focused on coming in as a challenger brand,” Eric Welles, the VP of Sales explained. “Letting everyone know who we are and what we can provide. I think having Jeremy as a managing editor is extremely valuable in allowing us to build a blue chip entertainment brand, creating that localised content for our customers and having his presence for our clients. This is a good step forward for us at a pivotal time in the marketplace.”
It’s a transition a long time in the making, but it’s one with promise. Their Wikia network provides them with an enormous wealth of data — both before and behind the scenes — which gives them some staggering opportunities to create content.
“I mean, we have 50 million plus pages of content,” Eric told us. “Jimmy (Wales) thinks we’re the largest provider of content on the internet. And it comes down to the quality of that information. Take, for example, Game of Thrones Season 7, which was huge. We have deep information about the characters, we have these incredible fan contributors creating content on our property, and we have our journalists presenting fan theories and elements of things other people might not have caught. Combine that from a data perspective where we have heaps of information about user traffic spikes to support this content strategy. When are people watching? When did those spikes happen? When should we put content on our property. And that data helps us talk to our users during the season, and then again in the off-season.”
“When you think about that from an advertiser’s perspective, we’re engaging consumers, our fans, at these high peak traffic/emotional moments,” he continued. “And that’s what advertisers can capitalise on. FANDOM’s ability to deliver in those moments is really telling of what we’re bringing to the market. It’s a unique mass entertainment property that we are leveraging in strategic ways.”
“We haven’t been in Nielsen which is crucial from a brand/agency mindset,” Eric detailed. “We just got in a few days ago, and our numbers are pretty massive. We’re at 1.989 million uniques in Nielsen. And coming into a market where we just landed 9 months ago and to have these types of numbers to showcase to brands/agencies is tremendous… it’s crazy, we’re bigger than the likes of IGN, GameSpot, Fox Sports Digital, and Buzzfeed.”
“We’re walking into rooms with important brand leaders throughout the industry and talking about what we can do from an advertising, branding and content standpoint. People are listening, and we’re making waves in a lot of strong areas. While it’s taking time, it’s all been positive. So it’s really just about growing the team and covering more ground.”
And time is on their side, especially now that they have a seasoned editorial veteran at the helm like Jeremy Ray.
“I’ve been talking to FANDOM for two months now about content strategy, and have become more and more excited,” Jeremy Ray said. “This is clearly a place for genuine content creation, which I’m sure to find very fulfilling. Anyone who’s worked with me knows how many crazy content ideas I run through every few months, and this is the perfect place to put them!”