Maximum Media hires 15 people for UK expansion

Dublin-based digital publisher has launched JOE.co.uk

Maximum Media chief executive Niall McGarry. The digital publisher has expanded into the British market with the launch of JOE.co.uk

Maximum Media chief executive Niall McGarry. The digital publisher has expanded into the British market with the launch of JOE.co.uk

 

Maximum Media, the Dublin- based digital publisher behind the lifestyle sites joe.ie and her.ie, has launched a new website targeting young men in Britain.

The company, founded by Niall McGarry, is investing €1.3 million and has hired 15 people to work full time on JOE.co.uk, the “British brother” to joe.ie.

Matthew Stanger, previously a deputy editor on the site football365.com, has been appointed editor, while other hires include the men behind popular Twitter accounts @USASoccerGuy and @beardedgenius.

“We think the UK market is wide open,” Mr McGarry said.

He believes there is an opportunity to fill a gap between sites such as theladbible.com, which has its origins in a risqué Facebook page, and men’s magazine brands that enjoyed a print heyday in the 1990s but are “not hugely relevant” on social media today.

Four existing websites Maximum Media already employs 54 people full-time in Dublin across four sites, joe.ie, her.ie and the more recent ventures sportsjoe.ie and herfamily.ie.

The five-year-old company expects to record a turnover of €2.7 million for the year ending April 20th, 2015, after an estimated 65 per cent increase in advertising sales compared with the previous financial year. Its net profit will be about €600,000.

Its turnover was almost €1.5 million and its net profit €175,000 in the year to the end of April 2014.

In response to interest from potential buyers, Maximum appointed a private-equity specialist last year to explore the possibility of selling the company or a stake in it. However, it has instead decided to finance its expansion via a loan from AIB, which has previously backed the company and Mr McGarry, the majority shareholder.

Former Irish rugby international Jerry Flannery has a minority stake.

Mr McGarry said his ambition for joe.ie was to make it “a more intellectual, well-rounded product”, and that he hoped to achieve the same with the new UK equivalent.

There will be a strong emphasis on sport – primarily soccer – on the UK site at first. Maximum has a longer-term plan to launch a UK sport subsite and another concentrating on men’s health and fitness.

The operation will be based in Manchester for the first three months, before moving to Soho in London, close to where major advertising agencies are based.

Some 70 per cent of the traffic to Maximum’s sites in Ireland is generated by mobile users and Mr McGarry identifies Twitter rather than Facebook as the most important social- media platform for luring visitors.

Joe.ie and her.ie have more than two million monthly unique users each.

The move to expand into the UK is “not all on black or all on red,” Mr McGarry added.

“It’s not roulette. Even if it doesn’t work out it’s not going to jeopardise our Irish business.”