Hard labor laws and the European economic crisis coupled with switch in advertising revenue towards digital have hit many traditional media companies hard, and France has been no different. While Le Figaro has risen to the top through its trial-and-error digital plan, including an iOS App that has fine-tuned the art of breaking news (though still lacks in readability & searchability), many have felt the pains of a dying industry without the hope of a digital recovery. Earlier this year, Google settled its political issues with the French media industry by creating a €60 Million fund dedicated to helping media companies transition to digital.
Amidst all this, however, there is hope, as Melty Group has paved a new path in digital media. Described by some as a “HuffingtonPost for the youth,” Melty’s proprietary trend-tracking software scours the internet and measures what trends will be “small blips” and which ones will be huge. The company’s many sub-sites – News, Family, Style, Buzz, Food, Campus, etc – all target Millenials, or the under-30 audience, and they are doing quite well.
After raising funds earlier this year, the company has expanded already into Italy & Spain, with a respective 1 Million & 600,000 readers in the new markets, with a total of 15+ Million readers across all sites. With their fast success, the company is hiring & expanding faster than ever, including creating exclusive video content and mini-series.
Because of their expertise of what Generation Y wants, Melty offers native advertisement à la Buzzfeed, though CEO & founder Alexandre Malsh sees it as going beyond Buzzfeed’s sponsored content model today:
Today, in-content advertising appears in two ways: you can have James Bond saying “Buy an Aston Martin,” or you can have James Bond driving an Aston Martin. What we want to do with brands is present readers with James Bond, as he is, but co-created by Aston Martin.”
Today the company does this through its video mini-series, such as “Surf House,” which is co-created by Sosh, Orange’s youth-oriented mobile plan. Melty Group also announced this week a partnership with Wat.TV, a top youth-oriented video content site owned by TF1, one of France’s top media players. The announcement not only represents an opportunity for Melty to bring its editorial expertise to Wat.TV, but also marks the point in which Melty is becoming an unavoidable player for those targeting 18-30 year-olds in France.
As the group gears up to roll out internationally – with Germany & Brazil next on the roadmap – their technology-powered, human-written news seems to be working across multiple languages – the group’s Paris office features several screens that broadcast in real-time a video to their Milan office, where the Melty.it team can easily exchange information back & forth with the Paris office.
The group has no plans to target Anglophone markets just yet – though they are keeping an eye out for opportunities and changes in tides – but power-house players in the US market like Nikelodeon are no-doubt watching as a media group founded by a graduate of developer university Epitech quickly takes the European market.
The group also has no plans to expand their scope beyond youth – it seems they’ve cracked the code on the youth market, but perhaps the professional market is a bit more complicated. Or is it just a matter of time?