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Mamamia wants to ‘own’ women’s ears as it cracks 2m downloads of podcasts

As women’s lifestyle website Mamamia eyes off further global expansion with its Flo & Frank brand, locally the company continues to find success with its podcast network continuing to gain popularity. Mamamia’s Mia Freedman and Kylie Rogers spoke to Mumbrella’s Miranda Ward about how they gained traction in the podcasting space. 

0458_NoFilter_podcastart-01Mia Freedman says she wants Mamamia to “own” the attention of women – and that’s not just their screens. At last year’s upfronts the publisher was open about its focus on owning women’s ears via its podcast network.

At the end of last year, the company said it was looking to quadruple its 1m podcast downloads to 4m this year as it grows the network to 16 shows.

It sounded like a huge target but in April Mamamia is already halfway there, cracking 2m downloads.

Rogers

Rogers: We kicked the year off super strongly

Kylie Rogers tells Mumbrella: “We said at our upfronts in November that we were looking to grow our downloads this year to 4m, so it’s exciting that we’re already halfway there.

“We have now upped our annual goal to 5.5m. We have kicked the year off super strongly and we are excited about it.”

Rogers explains Mamamia uses iTunes’ omnichannel analytics to track its podcast downloads, however this does not offer details of where the downloaders are located or who they are.

“The current metric today is of course downloads and we talk to our clients about how many downloads will be of their campaign,” she says.

Freedman adds: “It’s interesting, anecdotally over the last six months, I’m getting more comments in the street about the podcasts from women of different ages. It’s younger women and older women.

“Women have jumped onto podcasts very quickly. I would say that podcasts are growing faster among women than any other demographic regardless of generation.”

On why podcasts is an important part of Mamamia, Freedman says: “For us, it’s about owning women’s ears.”

“We’ve established our ability to do that pretty quickly. iTunes internationally has approached us saying they want to promote us because they say they’re using us as a bit of a benchmark in terms of quality and consistency.

“Everyone is jumping on podcasts at the moment. There’s a lot of noise in the market but they say, very few people are doing it the way we are and we’re the only women’s podcast network that is very visible internationally. They have earmarked us for promotion internationally and locally.”

0944_16_MMPN_MeshelLaurie_podcastartworkMamamia currently has six regular podcasts, with a further six set to launch in the coming months. In February, Meshel Laurie joined Mamamia to bring her interview podcast The Nitty Gritty Committee to its audio stable.

This year Mamamia Podcast Network sponsors have included Weight Watchers, the National Broadband Network, Open Colleges Australia and Meat and Livestock Australia.

Rogers says: “Podcasts are selling incredibly well in this market. We tend to sell by series and we sell it as native reads. It is certainly a premium sell and a premium opportunity for clients as opposed to a CPM or programmatic buy.”

On what is so attractive about podcasts, for women Freedman says it is because they are “very information hungry but time poor”.

“There’s a limit to the number of hours in the day you can look at a screen and there is still that desire to absorb more content and have more conversations,” she says.

“Podcasts are to radio what digital was to print in terms of disruption. It’s same principle of on-demand and very specialised. There’s not a huge number of women on radio. On AM radio, for example, I don’t think there’s one woman in Australia.

“But there’s a huge appetite for women by women and we’ve been able to meet that.”

Freedman says women tell them: “It’s like listening to a conversation with girlfriends”.

US expansion

This year has also marked Mia Freedman’s official expansion into the US – with Mamamia launching what will become a global brand with Flo & Frank.

Flow & Frank

The site, led by Sarah Burden-Brown, officially went live last Friday after a soft launch in beta mode in early March.

“We’ve been in beta stage,” says Rogers. “We’ve moved out of that into live stage which means we then move into acquisition and a user strategy and an amplification strategy.

“We’re wildly excited about where we’re going to take it,” she adds.

Mamamia announced its US expansion plans in April last year, naming Bryden-Brown as its US lead in July.

On what they learned during Flo & Frank’s beta phase, Rogers says: “We’ve had some fantastic traction on Facebook with strong engagement both in the US and in Australia.

“Interestingly, the audience split is 50% Australia and 50% America. We’re about to embark on a amplification and user strategy to engage our UK audience.

“I expect we will be in the UK by the end of the year,” says Rogers, explaining the UK presence will be a continuation of the global Flo & Frank brand.

The fake news story

The year began ingloriously for Mamamia with its news desk falling for a very juicy and clickable story about a prostitute being released from prison after her attorney proved she was a “spermaholic”.

Unfortunately for the women’s website, the story wasn’t real.

How Mamamia reported the story

How Mamamia reported the story

In February, Mamamia published the article under the headline  “A woman has been released from prison because she is a spermaholic”, giving details of how the Texan woman – called ‘Miss X’ in the article – had escaped a jail term for prostitution as her lawyer argued she had an eating disorder giving her a craving for male semen.

After questions were raised by Mumbrella, the story – which appears to have originated from from fake news site World News Daily Report on January 13 – was pulled.

Speaking to Mumbrella, Mia Freedman conceded that publishing the story was an error.

“There’s not a media company that hasn’t been done in the rapid fire of the 24/7 of digital media. It was an error on our part, one we rectified as quickly as we could,” Freedman said.

On the coverage of the mistake – which saw Media Watch also covered off – Freedman says: “It was a highlight to hear Paul Barry say “spermaholic” on Media Watch, that was a personal highlight, but in all seriousness, it was a good reminder that in the speed that online media demands you still have to make sure to check sources very quickly.

“We’ve all made mistakes. We happened to be unlucky that it was a quiet news day and Mumbrella picked it up, then it went on Media Watch. We weren’t the first and we won’t be the last. It was a good lesson for us and a reminder for us. We’re very confident in our editorial team and the story was then led by Kate de Brito as editor in chief.”

Miranda Ward is Mumbrella’s PR and publishing editor

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