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Entertainment Marketing: Movies, TV, Music and Gaming Creative Works Brand Strategy

‘It’s a game-changer’: Warner Music Group launches WMX, a first-of-its-kind music culture, content & media group

By Thomas Hobbs, Journalist

December 8, 2021 | 6 min read

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As interest in music and culture-focused content reaches new heights, Warner Music Group has announced the timely launch of WMX, a pioneering music culture media offering for advertisers.

WMX brings advertisers a simplified way to interact with their music

WMX brings advertisers a simplified way to interact with their music

WMX will give artists the opportunity to extend their brands and connect with fans, and advertisers the chance to reach a global audience of 249 million-plus unique monthly users as well as nearly 50 billion monthly video views through its premium content channels. Those include Warner Music’s genre-spanning label and artist channels, as well as WMX’s owned and operated properties, such as UPROXX, Songkick, HipHopDX, and Cover Nation.

With a deep understanding of gen Z, UPROXX is a leading youth culture and music news destination, reaching 22 million people every month through a compelling mix of journalism and audio-visual content. Songkick is an award-winning live music app and music discovery platform where fans can buy tickets and track the activity of their favorite artists. Meanwhile, HipHopDX is a hip-hop news website that’s expanding globally to cater to the genre’s explosive growth. WMX will tap into all these channels as well as utilizing Cover Nation, a popular song-cover brand that unites TikTok and YouTube cover song creators.

An offering ‘no one can match’

“Brands that want to be relevant for today’s audiences need to be in the right environments, at scale, with brands that engage and affect culture,” said Ben Blank, President of Media & Creative Content, WMX.

By integrating these brands into one unified offering, WMX brings advertisers a simplified way to interact with their music and culture-shaping O&O properties, as well as scaled premium videos, engaging artist content and exclusive targeting opportunities.

The group also boasts over 15 hit music and culture shows, its own TV channel, an award-winning content studio, the capability for custom programming, and an immersive digital content strategy that will ensure its advertisers achieve cut-through among some of their core consumer groups.

“WMX has an offering that no company can match,” enthused Maria Weaver, WMX’s president, about the new launch. “It provides brands with exclusive content, scaled digital audiences, and a direct link to Warner Music’s iconic artist roster and digital platforms.”

Praising Blank, Weaver added: “The WMX team have done an incredible job building our scaled, premium video capabilities and I have no doubt that this group is going to change the game for artists, for fans, and for partners – and lead us into the future.”

A bright future for digital

The WMX launch comes as PwC figures suggest a bright future for the entertainment and media industry. From 2021 to 2025, PwC forecasts the global E&M market will grow at a healthy compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5%, ultimately resulting in industry revenues breaking the $2.6tn barrier. This will be driven by a continued acceleration in digital consumption and the use of in-home video services, with PwC predicting streaming and video-on-demand channels will grow 10.6% by 2025, making it an $81.3bn industry.

Although consumer spend on entertainment and media fell by 5.5% in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, PwC says this will bounce back into a 3.9% rise by 2025, with totals expected to hit an impressive $914.9bn. Its latest entertainment and media forecast report says internet advertising rose by 9% to $336bn in 2020, overtaking non-internet ad spending for the first time and projecting a strong 7.7% growth over the next five years.

“Our outlook shows that the hunger for content, continued advances in technology and new business models and ways of creating value will drive the industry’s growth for the next five years and beyond,” said Werner Ballhaus, global E&M industry leader partner at PwC Germany.

Another encouraging sign is the expected growth for music revenues, with PwC backing them to grow at a 12.8% CAGR over the next five years; fueled by digital streaming, which will solidify its position in the ‘live’ arena. This backdrop puts WMX in a strong position to provide true value to artists and brands and help successfully integrate its advertisers into a digital future for the music industry.

An exciting team

Led by Blank, WMX’s media business will see Erin Moran act as global chief revenue officer of content and media, overseeing all of WMX’s media revenue streams. An industry veteran with over 15 years of experience, Moran joins from a top tier education role at Google, where she transformed digital experiences for learning institutions. Before that, she had a high-ranking role at Twitter.

“Erin’s experience is a much-needed asset as we open our doors to massive growth opportunities for our current and future advertising partners,” said Blank. “Her background will be invaluable as we continue to disrupt the industry and connect brands with audiences in new ways.”

The content and media leadership team at WMX will be capped off by Paul Josephsen as chief strategy officer; Max Gore as vice-president of finance; and Kurt Anderson as head of studio.

Another area that will help WMX stand out above its rivals is CONNEX, its premier data storefront for brands. By gathering fan and audience engagement details across every digital touchpoint at the Warner Music Group, CONNEX offers advertisers a deep, data-led understanding of how to connect naturally with their target audiences as well as major artists.

WMX’s Josephsen says brands should be excited about the opportunities the company can offer brands across the 2020s. He concluded: “WMX truly is a game-changer. We are very excited for our brand partners to experience the power of this global network.”

To find out more about how WMX is re-imagining the future of music culture media, watch The Drum's exclusive interview with Erin Moran here.

Entertainment Marketing: Movies, TV, Music and Gaming Creative Works Brand Strategy

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