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Fandom officially launches fandom.com.au

The Australian edition of US-based entertainment and pop culture fan website Fandom, has officially launched.

Fandom Australia – a Wikia-owned site – was initially announced in January last year, and will now have its own website and tailored mobile application, featuring a hybrid of local and international content.

Fandom Australia officially launched today

The editorial team will be led by Jeremy Ray, who was appointed last year. Eric Welles, vice president of sales for Asia Pacific oversees the Fandom brand for the region.

Fandom president and CEO Craig Palmer told Mumbrella the Australian website’s launch was part of a “stepwise strategy” to build a global brand. A New Zealand version will also roll out in the coming weeks.

“For us, Australia is a really important market and we have a really strong position. As part of the launch of our complete product line, we also implemented Nielsen for the first time in the Australia market,” Palmer said.

Despite still being relatively new to the market, Palmer told Mumbrella the company would not endeavour to roll out a major marketing or advertising push for the launch.

“We are very content to keep building and building. Even though we haven’t had a full product line in the Australian and New Zealand marketplace yet up until now, we’ve had a sales team there run by Eric Welles for over a year and they’ve been doing an immense amount of education both within the Australian and New Zealand marketplace,” Palmer said.

Palmer said the new website is part of wider plans to become a global brand

He added he has no concerns about resonating with a local audience, but admitted the company would need to continue to build a local team and craft content specific to the Australian and New Zealand market. By the end of the year, Palmer expects the Australian team will grow to 15 people.

“We will leverage both marketers and advertisers who want to advertise and reach audiences in the Australian and New Zealand marketplace but also it’s an important country for us for people who are looking to launch global campaigns,” he added.

The website itself will bear similarities to its UK and US counterparts, with the style and layout all the same. It will feature a main feed, Fandom’s A List – a list of interesting video and written content – a ‘Need to Know’ section and a Fandom trending section.

All will be customised to the local market by Ray. So far, advertisers such as Warner Bros, Disney, Stan, Universal and Village Roadshow have come on board.

Launching in the Australian market hasn’t been easy for all publishers, including HuffPost, which last year axed a majority of its Australian roles, effectively withdrawing its presence from the local market. For others, such as BuzzFeed Australia and The Guardian, building a brand in Australia has been more successful.

Palmer said the greatest challenge around launching in Australia was the same as that the brand faced on a global scale – reaching audiences.

“We have a tremendous opportunity in the market where audiences are becoming incredibly fragmented, traditional ways of reaching audience are becoming less and less impactful. You’ve got this mass of new content coming into the marketplace, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, Apple, Google are going to spend almost 18 billion incremental dollars this year on content that didn’t exist five years ago. There’s so much more content, harder and harder to reach audiences and entertainment is massive and growing,” Palmer explained.

“It’s more about the way we execute on the opportunity that we have versus ‘I wake up everyday and think about how we are competing head to head with a company who is exactly like us’.

“Of course we have to go take dollars from Facebook and Google and that duopoly but we have the unique position, we have market wins that are behind us, we have incredible reach, and a great story to tell and it’s more about our execution. And it’s no different in Australia than any other market for us.”

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