How Punkee created serial content which ‘ended up owning a Channel Ten show’

Junkee Media’s youth title Punkee ended up “owning a Channel Ten show” by posting something nobody else had and creating serial content, according to managing editor, Tom Pitney.

For Pitney, who started out creating The Bachelor and The Bachelorette recaps on The Vine, working out what trend is next and leveraging it to create something original is the key.

Punkee ended up own Ten’s The Bachelor and Bachelorette recaps, even Osher Gunsberg got on board

Commenting on how it all began, Pitney told an audience at Mumbrella’s Publish Conference:  “It started off because I missed my alarm and I woke up the day after The Bachelor premiered and everyone had already written stories on it.

“It kind of became a beast and it began by starting at about three or four o’clock in the afternoon and then when I was on my own working till about 11 o’clock in the morning to get it up.”

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For Pitney, posting something no one else paid off.

“We also leveraged communities so we looked around online at who were the dedicated die hard fans we could tap into that would be our carrier pigeons and take it out into the world,” he said.

“And then we supported this with live activity on Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram telling people what was happening behind the scenes so people felt like they were part of this movement of taking the piss out of The Bachelor and I love Punkee and it’s a part of my life.

“That even translated to people like Osher Gunsberg the host sitting there refreshing our Facebook page waiting for The Punkee recaps to drop which is awesome and helps propel that community and that culture. We ended up owning a Channel Ten show really, at the end of the day.” 

Another key to driving the re-caps’ success was nailing the first 30 seconds of the four minute video, to capture the audience’s attention and ensure Facebook would prioritise the video in its feed.

“Facebook actually changed their algorithm in January this year where they said ‘if you have a fifteen second video, sure it’s going to do really well,'” he explained.

“What they also said was that if you have a three or four minute video and people are going to watch the majority of it then that’s a commitment by the user that they’ve made to this video, and therefore we are going to really try and put that up in people’s feeds.

“We really focused in on the science behind it and what we found was that if we could maintain viewers for the first 30 seconds of the video they would retain on the video up until the 95% completion mark.

Punkee’s top tips for creating engaging video content

“Most of our energy goes into the first 30 seconds, and a lot of it to be honest isn’t that funny it’s just overwhelming the viewers.”

Pitney said shot speed, zooms, joke overloads, while being slow enough to understand but too fast to compute was all vital is the first 30 seconds.

But he emphasised quality of video was not important.

“We don’t need that quality. It’s a waste of time it’s a waste of resources,” he said.

“As a result it means that we can up skill our writers to be part of the video team.”

However he noted it was important for the Punkee brand to constantly “reinvent”, telling the audience Punkee would not continue to do recaps for other shows as it could create “user fatigue.”

Also in the session, Pitney said a challenge was the perception video is time intensive and publishers’ concern about the risk the investment wouldn’t pay off.

“Speaking of our ROI, we are losing a lot of opportunities with this off platform engagement to monetise our content and the world of pre-roll is struggling and there’s this perception that’s because Facebook and YouTube are taking away the control for us to run those pre-rolls but actually interrupting content is a pretty shit user experience,” he added.

But according to Pitney, social giants such as Facebook and YouTube force publishers to connect with brands in a “far more meaningful way.”

“We have great wish list video ideas that we really want to do because we know our audience are going to love them, and it’s impossible to do on a day to day basis, but by inserting the brands they get something awesome out of it, our audience gets something out of it and instead of interrupting the content they are being awesome,” he said.


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