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Elite Daily boss: ‘If Buzzfeed and Vice had a lovechild it would be us’

The president of US youth orientated news website Elite Daily says publishers who think they can just spend money to acquire a young online audience are kidding themselves.

In a video hangout with Mumbrella,  Miguel Burger Calderon said publishers who failed to recognise the “fickle” nature of the millennial audience were setting themselves up for failure.

“The first thing that comes to mind is you can’t just throw money at a problem and think it is going to solve itself,” said Burger Calderon, in an interview where he also flagged his desire for an Australian expansion. 

Burger Calderon’s comments come in a week when many of the biggest digital players in the US are presenting at the Newfronts in New York.

On Monday Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer wheeled out celebrities including the music empresario Simon Cowell, supermodel Naomi Campbell, actress Michelle Rodriguez and journalist Katie Couric, in a strategy aimed squarely at taking revenue from the traditional US television networks.

“The millennial audience is very fickle because there are so many places they can go… so we don’t just want to cater to them for the hell of it – they are a big audience and we have to,” said Burger Calderon.

“We spend a lot of time learning Facebook, Twitter etc. and also looking at new platforms like Periscope, Twitter. You have to understand how our generation acts within all the different platforms.”

Asked why so many digital players Maker, Yahoo, Youtube, were so focused on digital in their pitches he said: “(Millenials) are the biggest ones on digital. Now everything is moving digital and who sits on digital? Well it’s the millennials but you need to be authentic.”

The four year old Elite Daily was bought by the Daily Mail last year and now claims 50m plus global readers per month.

Burger Calderon said the site had a number of competitors but noted: “If Buzzfeed and Vice had a lovechild it would be us. We grew up in the social era, we understand the social era really well.

“Our next office will definitely be the UK because that’s where the Daily Mail is, but after that Australia is definitely up there.”

For a timeline of the questions: 

  • 0.25 – The newfronts
  • 2.00 – What agencies want from distribution channels
  • 3.30 – What content works to attract the millennial audience
  • 5.00 – Can you throw money at the millenials to get eyeballs?
  • 7.00 – Who are Elite Daily’s competitors?
  • 10.00 – Australian expansion plans

Nic Christensen in New York

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