Complex Networks is known around the world for its thriving, passionate audiences. With popular shows like Hot Ones and Sneaker Shopping, the digital publisher also comes up with creative solutions to monetize those fans outside of ad revenue.
In a recent webinar, we chatted with EVP, Marketing Jonathan Hunt and VP of Business Intelligence and SEO Aaron Braxton about Complex’s secret (hot) sauce for successful content and monetization.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Start with Deep Audience Understanding
Before investing or creating new IP, it’s essential to understand who your audience is, what they like and dislike, and how they consume/interact with your content.
Hunt and Braxton suggest you conduct deep audience analysis using solutions, tools, and resources best catered for where your audience spends their attention.
“If you’re not doing psychographic profiling at an entity level, meaning audiences are different for every series, and then overall within the primary platform that those series are deployed, then you don’t know who’s watching your show.”– Aaron Braxton
2. Let Data and Creative Work Symbiotically
When vetting new content ideas, take data-backed guidance from your business intelligence or data teams to your creative team. Then, lean on holistic data sources to determine where this new content should live before investing and deploying.
Always benchmark new ideas and talent against previous content performance to ensure it appeals to your current audience while also unlocking new viewers.
“Aaron and his [business intelligence] team have done a great job in positioning BI as being a really fundamental resource to help unlock new ways of thinking and new ideas for things that maybe creative teams haven’t been thinking about, but could actually engage audiences at larger scales and maybe even drive more revenue as a result. I think it’s that dynamic that’s so crucial for any kind of BI team to have with their content team.”– Jonathan Hunt
3. Think of All Videos as Potential IP for Monetization
Any integrated sponsorships, merchandising, and licensing that fit with the subject of your content are all valid monetization options. In fact, any series could become a new revenue stream!
For example, Complex grew its Hot Ones fan base from an online audience that has now purchased more than 8 figures’ worth of products from its hot sauce line, as well as licensed the series to TruTV (which ended up being the network’s biggest premiere in 5 years).
“We had been so successful in actually proving out that IP, it made a conversation with Turner and TruTV very easy to have. [It] also allowed us to then extend [Hot Ones] into a new format, to new audiences, and then to engage our existing Hot Ones and First We Feast audiences into becoming people that tuned into that series.”– Jonathan Hunt
Curious how Complex’s other growth strategies could work for you?