7 Australian media startups that are beginning to influence the masses

- September 18, 2014 4 MIN READ

It’s an interesting time for the Australian media landscape; it’s as cut-throat as ever, as various categories compete for advertising dollars. Content creation is becoming an integrated art form – and democratisation is at an all-time high. Simply put, anyone that creates content, could very well indeed be the next Rupert Murdoch.

From Pop Culture to Politics, Business to Babies – all of these high growth media startups have put in the hard work, have experienced the manic depressive up and down cycle of building and maintaining an engaged audience and are now emerging as key influencers across the Australian media landscape.

Here are 7 media startups (some are startup publications of existing media companies – equally as hard to launch) that are influencing tens of thousands across the country on a daily basis.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 8.18.48 pm1. Junkee

Over 24,000 people read an article from Junkee on a daily basis. Their average number of unique browsers is over 700,000 per month. That’s a lot of influence right there. Junkee is part of the Sound Alliance stable of publications – a company that is growing rapidly and is focused on content for those between the ages of 18 and 29. Junkee is pop culture but with thought and analysis behind it. The site is becoming a major influencer not just in the demographic for readers, but as a leader in long-form native advertising solutions.

RenegadeCollective191492040-shadow2. Renegade Collective Magazine

One of the first of its kind globally, the Renegade Collective is a magazine that reaches hundreds of thousands of women across the world each month, and on a daily basis online. It is fast becoming the bible for women who want some smart, intelligent conversation with their media consumption. Distributed to over 30 countries now, this magazine boasts some of the world’s greatest sports people, actors, entrepreneurs and fashion icons as cover stars, with the style continually being shaken up month to month, keeping readers engaged and talking about the product. From a startup perspective, the backend of the business is what is most impressive. Founder Lisa Messenger has said at events previously that if she wanted to write 100 stories in a week, the business has contingencies to scale and handle that work load. The current issue is sold out of most places worldwide and there is still two weeks of the month to go.

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3. Pedestrian TV

Pedestrian is one of the country’s fastest growing youth media brands. Originally launching in 2005 as a bi-monthly DVD magazine, it is now one of the most prominent websites in the country. They have graced the pages of the BRW Fast 100 list twice. They reach over 1 million young people every month through their site, and take a biased yet humorous approach to their content often influencing their readers on topics that range from which movies they should go and see, to who they should vote for in an upcoming election – even if they don’t realise it at this point in time.


4. John and Josh International

Whilst he may play the quirky underdog in his hit tv show “Please Like Me” which is broadcast on Australia’s ABC and on PIVOT TV in the United States, Josh Thomas is perhaps not receiving  the attention he should be for the growth and credibility – not to mention influence – that his company John and Josh International is starting to have globally. Already the first series produced under the company reaches millions of people across the world and both networks have already signed on and commissioned season three. This reach, combined with the political and social subtext of the dialogue in his show, makes this company a very influential one indeed.


5. Hello Mr Magazine

It has been nothing short of impressive what Ryan Fitzgibbon has done with with Hello Mr magazine. The bi-annual publication was created to break down stereotypes within the gay media that Fitzgibbon saw to be full of unachievable body images and lacked in-depth conversation and  essays about the ‘real’ gay scene that exists today. The magazine was launched a year ago now and so far has put out four issues. Readership for this magazine is global and nearly all speciality magazine retailers, especially those that stock a lot of LGBTI material sell it. The magazine also has a huge digital subscriber base for those reading on tablets. Companies are now seeing the value in Hello Mr and the potential it has to influence the pink dollar – everyone from Birchbox in the USA to the Thailand government is wanting to get in on the action. Hello Mr launched in Australia via crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, and now runs out of New York City.


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6. Babyology

Mandi Gunsberger understands what it takes to turn a blog into an engaging, market-leading brand. She founded Babyology – a product-focused blog for Australian parents, back in April 2007. Since 2010, Babyology became an online market leader in high-quality product focused editorial content for Australian parents. The company has a staff of 16 individuals, all working remotely, with company meetings once a week. The website garners over 300,000 unique visitors per month; and now Babyology is leading the social media revolution in Australia. On Facebook, Babyology is one of the most engaged Australian pages with the most engaged posts in the region, since 2013. The site is influential because of the product focus and its ability to turn readers into instant buyers – a rare achievement, that not even some of the biggest media outlets have been able to execute.

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7. Spoke (by the ABC) 

Still in its very early stages, Spoke is a new application by the ABC, being trialled in Canberra and Albury, Wadonga. Spoke brings users news and information based on their interests and location – a personalised and targeted multimedia newsfeed. What makes this application influential is the fact that even in a short amount of time, larger news organisations are beginning to look at how they can deliver a similar experience. The ABC, although government funded, has always been a pioneer in media tech launching iView well before other free-to-air players began to launch their own catch up TV services in a similar on-demand and intuitive layout. Spoke may only be a three-month trial at the moment, but I think it would be crazy not to scale nationally. Information to palm is the way the next generation will expect to consume their news.