How Konbini wants to remain the medium for 18-35 year olds

Faced with competition from influencers and content creators…

Founded 14 years ago, when social networks were preparing to revolutionize our daily life and usage, combi has established itself in the highly competitive media world – Pure Player – thanks to highly recognizable formats that have inspired many media outlets and brands looking to break into social media with “Konbini-style” videos.

Among the favorite media of the new generations, Konbini now finds itself in competition with other media that are rapidly adapting to platform algorithms, as well as influencers/content creators that are grabbing some of the attention that has so far returned to the media.

How do you stand out and attract new readers while targeting an increasingly sophisticated and content-saturated audience? What about its monetization? What innovations are expected?

Maria MissetEditorial director of Konbini, accompanied by David Creuzot and Lucie BeudetCo-founders of Konbini, answer our questions.

The medium was launched in 2008, social networks like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter were just beginning, today a large part of the medium’s strategy is based on it, even if the market is highly competitive. What are the challenges facing the media today?

Maria Missett : These are those of most pure players. We’re fortunate to have a longer story than other players, such as Brut. We are firmly rooted in people’s minds, that’s our great strength: we’re recognizable everywhere, we make videos “à la Konbini”, that work is done.

On the other hand, the industry has become very competitive, all classic media are trying out short videos and social networks with varying degrees of success. Occasionally with formats similar to Konbini. On Instagram you can read comments under the videos of certain media: “X is doing Konbini now?” The competition is huge, it comes not only from other media that used to have little or no presence in social networks, but also from content creators. As we saw during this presidential election, these content creators can become competitors for the media, not just for Konbini or Brut, but for all media. I am thinking in particular of Hugo Décrypte or Magali Berdah, who the candidates see as levers of influence in their media strategy, just like TF1 or Konbini.

The other challenge is the competition between the platforms, they all somehow do the same thing, at least follow each other in their strategy: Instagram makes TikTok, YouTube tries with short videos, TikTok with long videos… The rules are constantly changing depending on the platform. We still rely on algorithms, so the challenge is to maintain our identity, remain recognizable without getting carried away by every change in algorithms, and establish our status as a player that is still just as important to our audience is, 18-35 years old.

Are we addressing the younger generations the same way we were 15 years ago?

mm : Everyone is trying to do it. It has many more channels and networks, more niches and topics affecting such a community, etc.

We do not address youth monolithically, youth as a large group does not exist. The audience varies depending on the social network: on YouTube, she likes social topics, but is also interested in rap, music, pop culture and cinema. Some content goes more to this platform and others to Instagram, we modulate distribution according to the communities we reach. It’s something you can see today that makes you adapt, but it used to be like that.

The topics of gaming and web culture are gaining in importance, even if they were already present in the years 2000-2010. Konbini was born out of web culture and the web, so we feel comfortable with these themes that have gained prominence over the past 15 years. The decoding of this web culture and its statement about society has taken up a lot of space and will continue to take up space here.

The health crisis has led to an explosion in the consumption of online content across all platforms/media combined. TikTok and Twitch in particular have seen a growing and exploding audience. How do you want to distinguish yourself and win new readers?

mm : We know how we are perceived, Konbini stands out very strongly and is visible on all pop culture topics. We put our signature on these themes, our approach is very recognizable and our creative value is visible amidst very similar videos. The Konbini colors, for example, immediately catch the eye. Pop culture and creativity is our core positioning and a continuum of Konbini.

Then there are many things that come from web culture and social media in today’s popular culture. It’s being infiltrated in more visible ways, like in this Judd Apatow film that was recently released on Netflix (the bubble, Editor’s note), where we see a 3-minute TikTok choreography.

This decoding of intra-pop culture web culture, not many of us realize it and Konbini will continue to push that segment there. To stand out, we always rely on the quality of our content, even as we produce more and more of it.

Also, something is happening with short videos of 1 to 2 minutes: they are very prominent on Instagram, where we are the first medium. The changes to the platform are also forcing us to step up creatively and create formats like TOP 1 (one minute format) that are made for it. It’s a way of constantly reinventing ourselves, challenging our creativity to be in tune with what’s going on and the way people consume media.

Do you have a specific device planned for the presidential election? Do you feel like your audience is engaged?

mm : We produced about ten videos on specific topics, such as B. the precarious situation of young people, how to attract young nurses to work for the public hospital, legalization (or not) of cannabis, young people’s relationship with the police, etc. Videos are in short format on Instagram and long format on YouTube accessible. We sense a huge interest in the comments where there is tremendous response. People are happy that we’re talking about topics that aren’t covered too often elsewhere. For example, we haven’t gotten too bogged down in identity and immigration issues because a lot of people/media are doing that for us and it’s not our role or the main concern of our audience.

A Le Monde study published in March shows an increasing affiliation of our audience with political parties and in relation to pure and hard political engagement. On the other hand, we feel a very strong interest in the concrete topics on which we challenge the candidates: most of the short videos have exceeded one million views, on YouTube some long videos are approaching, such as the one on cannabis with almost 700,000 views. The level of interaction and the number of comments show this interest, as does the completion rate, which is also very high.

I have no doubt that young people are interested in the society in which they live. On the other hand, we can doubt when other media offer us common content and want influencers to ask the questions. I’m not sure if our audience is very interested in political issues. However, we did a program with Instagram (Ça vote) to encourage young people and first-time voters to vote with influencers, and that was great because they are people who only approached the issue of voting and not the parties. ideas etc.

We chose 4 influencers with very strong and diverse communities, such as @Sally, who is very politicized and more involved, if not an accompaniment, or @Vargasss92, who is very far from politics. It was really interesting and valuable to have the help of these communities to do local vox pops, distribute fliers and show how to get on the election lists.

We feel that the young people are quite removed from politics in the sense that they come across as a little desperate from words and the political landscape. They don’t feel very concerned, maybe because we don’t talk to them very often. their subjects are very present, they react enormously in the comments and finally get into conversation. The aim of these videos is to start discussions with family, friends and entourage.

What are the next media innovations expected at Konbini?

David Creuzot and Lucie Beudet : We have to be constantly innovative in all areas. Whether internally in the implementation of the most modern information systems as well as in terms of experience around the content with considerable resources that are invested in the creative innovation of our formats or in our publication and sales channels.’ Analysis.

As media for young generations, they address a variety of issues that are close to their hearts: climate, diversity, inclusion, police violence and violence against women, etc. Which one is particularly close to your heart, if you had to defend one? They are starting or will start Cyberbullying Week at Konbini… (January 5th, February)

mm : Cyberbullying is the first issue we tackled because it is an issue that affects Konbini very directly and it is a massive issue: the numbers are huge. Cyberbullying is bullying, we don’t know it enough, it’s real life. This is an issue that is particularly close to our hearts, especially for journalists themselves who have been victims of cyber harassment or our guests after staying with us.

Topics such as sex education (in June) or child protection are topics that we, as media, feel obligated to do. We stand firm by the commitments we make, we believe firmly in them.

The idea is to do this in a joyful way while doing pedagogy. For every engagement we provide a kit with resources, advice and any other practical things that add value to move the issue forward.

You seem to have recruited quite a bit in the editorial office lately, especially in key positions: Is the medium at a crossroads between consolidation and expansion?

DC and LB : Our community is evolving and we are making progress with it. We had a very good 2021 and are still in the momentum. We have indeed welcomed new expertise and new strategic talent to the group. We are indeed at a real crossroads where we have worked hard to consolidate all our activities and can now focus calmly on our expansion.

The media is mostly monetized by content marketing and native advertising?

DC and LB : Our model is the future of advertising. Brands now need to create and serve editorial and creative content for their community. Thanks to our unique expertise, which we have developed in this market since 2008, we offer our partners effective solutions to help them connect with their audience. This content marketing market is booming and we are proud to support the biggest brands over the long term, like recently Amazon Prime.

How do you see the development of the media industry in the coming years? What are the biggest challenges to overcome?

DC and LB : The media industry is constantly evolving, as are broadcast platforms.

The fight against fake news, the arrival of the metaverse, creator compensation solutions, subscription are exciting topics that are changing things.

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