Capitalising on the strength of its niche audiences, Australia’s largest private media company, Universal Media, has launched a new online e-learning and e-commerce offering in the booming global craft and hobby space.
Cosy PROJECT (cosyproject.com) is an exciting marketplace filled with video craft classes and digital patterns from some of the world’s most-well-known and inspiring teachers and designers.
“With technology taking over our lives, people across the world are turning to crafts such as knitting and sewing as they provide an escape and a real sense of community,” Emma Perera, head of digital and innovation said.
“There are more than 2 million Australians engaged in craft and design and in the United States, where the industry is worth a staggering US $44 billion, one in five households are crafters.”
“A similar business in the US called Craftsy was founded not that long ago by an ex-eBay executive. The company came to Australia sniffing around about 18 months ago. To-date, it’s had more than US $100 million invested into the business. Our traditional publishing structure and existing assets has allowed us to create Cosy PROJECT at a mere fraction of the Craftsy investment.”
The Future for Publishers
Emma, who is an ex lawyer and the daughter of Universal Media founder, Prema Perera, is also tasked with re-engineering the magazine company into a strong digital player. Towards this, she has negotiated a dedicated Corporate Venture Fund from the board to strategically invest in new businesses operating at the intersection of media and technology. Cosy PROJECT was the first such business to be green lit with an additional 3 digital businesses already in the pipeline.
“As publishers, what we own is popular brands, die-hard print and digital audiences, and great content. While growing these assets what we also need to do is leverage them into new businesses and models that play to these strengths. Universal has been the dominant creator of craft content for more than two decades. Our ever-popular craft magazines, Homespun and Quilters Companion, have a combined EMMA audited readership of more than 1.1 million/year and this continues to grow. Cosy PROJECT provides a new product to this audience and allows us to continue to monetise our print and video content library digitally,” she added.
To help deliver the project, Emma engaged start-up leader Charles Hunter from consultancy Tribe Concepts. Hunter has worked for a number of successful start-ups and established media businesses including GoCatch, Cudo, Nine Entertainment Co and FetchTV.
“I was both thrilled and a little nervous when Emma asked me to help her create Cosy PROJECT. Sewing, quilting and knitting were all new for me. When I began my initial research, I quickly found the commercial opportunity in the craft space to be astounding. Unfortunately, after three months, I still don’t know how to knit or sew,” Hunter said.
A Global Business
Universal Media had also done extensive audience research before developing the concept revealing the potential for Cosy PROJECT to be a global business from day one.
“We engaged more than 2000 crafters from all over the world as part of our ideation process. We then developed detailed customer profiles to streamline our marketing efforts. Developing global marketing strategies across search and social media for key countries including the US, UK and NZ has also been critical to our initial success,” Perera said.”30% of our sales are already coming from the US with the UK not far behind. We’ve literally launched a new global business in just three months” she added.
Cosy PROJECT also includes pre-roll and banner advertising as an additional revenue stream, which many businesses steer clear of when it comes to e-commerce sites.
“Our research confirmed that our craft audience actually loves advertising, as long as it’s subtle, contextual and highly relevant,” Emma said. “We also found that crafters spend big on their hobby and shop regularly online providing our advertisers with a great new marketing platform.”
About Cosy PROJECT
Cosy PROJECT is an e-commerce site selling 2-3 hour video craft classes and digital patterns from leading designers to creatives around the world.
(02) 9887 0312