XLMedia has announced a corporate brand refresh that matches its “culture and expanded presence in North America” and the “premium media brands” it publishes.
The digital publisher has noted that, over the past three years, it has seen “tremendous growth” in the region. 68% of its business is now US sports vertical focused, it has several acquisitions and partnerships with US-based brands, and has made significant new hires across verticals including the appointment of David King as CEO.
Ahead of the brand refresh, SBC Americas spoke to Elizabeth Carter, Vice President of Global Marketing and Communications at XLMedia, and asked why the brand refresh has taken place, if the company has become more North American-focused following its rebranding, and which markets in the region is it most excited about.
SBC: Why has XLMedia undergone this rebranding process?
Elizabeth Carter: We have a new CEO, we have a new Chair, we have a new CFO, we have a new Chief People and Operations Officer. We have new growth in America, tremendous growth in America, we have new technology, and so we decided that this was the right time to go forward.
In a few years of XLMedia, having a legacy and a strong legacy, we thought that there are very few times that you have a great moment to be able to bring your brand back to the market in a fresh new way. And so that’s what we wanted to do.
We also are a new business. We’re about to release our H1 2022 results, and if you look at how far we’ve come and changed, you can see that it was time to bring our brand forward into a more modern place.
SBC: Would you say XLMedia has become more North American-focused following this rebranding?
Carter: I don’t think they’re necessarily intertwined. I think that the North American growth is really an important part of our journey that we’re on right now, but I think that the rebrand was about fresh, new industry experience being infused, new leadership, and a new culture we’re trying to build. That’s what we really wanted to highlight.
We’re a business that touts having premium brands, and so our corporate brand also needs to be a premium brand.
SBC: XLMedia has acquired several US-based brands over the past few years, as well as partnered with media conglomerate Advance Local (Cleveland.com, MassLive.com). How have those acquisitions and partnerships helped XLMedia transform in North America?
Carter: I think that those partnerships and acquisitions have really moved us into a more modern media company, and that’s what we wanted this rebrand to signify, is that we are a modern digital media company.
We’re looking to continue our growth. We have strong brands within our portfolio with strong identities, and so we wanted our corporate brand to match that. We wanted to bring in the dynamic muscular tones of a sports footprint, while also staying true to being a parent company with a house of brands.
SBC: Has XLMedia already noticed a significant change since David King began his work as CEO in July?
Carter: Yes, the change has come from the stability and the support to rebrand and to continue the business implementing the strategy that we have. He didn’t come in to change the strategy, he’s come in to really implement what we’re doing and to express this new XLMedia that we’re bringing to market.
SBC: Which North American markets are XLMedia most excited about over the next few months as sports return to action?
Carter: The whole of the US is really exciting to us because the regulation is changing so quickly, but if you think of each state as its own market, the next two really big ones are going to be Ohio and Massachusetts.
We have a deal in place with Advance Local’s Cleveland.com, and we also expanded that partnership recently for their Masslive.com property. Those are two key areas with very strong fan bases and huge sports-engaged audiences, and so we’re excited to capitalize in those areas.
SBC: What’s next for XLMedia for the rest of 2022 and the beginning of 2023?
Carter: I think you’re gonna see XLMedia continue to engage fans and bring fandoms what they’re looking for. We are excited to continue to grow. We’re excited for new states to come online.
We’re going to continue to watch our regulation closely and make sure we’re poised in different areas, in different states to be able to capitalize on that growth, and continue to invest in our content, in our people, and overall our brand and building a culture.
The next few months are going to be very busy for us, but it’s an exciting time.