How Red Bull’s Content Strategy Got Its WingsBy Erica Swallow January 24th, 2012
When you think of brand journalism, a number of things come to mind: blogs, social media channels, off-site branded content. But one thing that usually doesn’t come to mind is the idea that a brand could own an entire media network. Red Bull, the popular energy drink, supports its content strategy with just that foundation, though, owning its very own Red Bull Media House.
Although Red Bull was founded in 1987 by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz, the Red Bull Media House was launched in 2007 and produces just about every type of digital and traditional content you could image. It operates a TV station; prints one of the biggest magazines in the world; produces documentaries, movies and music; and runs a very thorough digital strategy, the focus of our interest here. So, here’s how it’s done.
Red Bull’s content creation process centers around sports and cultural events and projects, and its strategy has been in the making for nearly 25 years.
The Red Bull team has created a multimedia experience from the start, incorporating film, photography and stories built for broadcast, print and digital media partners.
It wasn’t until 2007, though, when the brand formalized the content production process by launching Red Bull Media House. Headquartered in Salzburg, Austria with a North American base extended to Santa Monica, Calif. in January 2011, the media house controls the production, collection and distribution processes for all Red Bull content. Today, Red Bull Media House employs more than 400 people around the world.
Going Big with Digital Content
When it comes to digital media, Red Bull Media House runs more than 900 domains in 36 languages under the umbrella of RedBull.com.
RedBull.com covers all of its digital bases, with an offering of web TV, web radio, online games, newsfeeds and digital databases.
And if you’re curious about where all of Red Bull’s iPhone and iPad apps come from, you guessed it, the Media House is in charge of building and launching Red Bull’s mobile apps. Stop by the App Store some time to check out the Red Bull TV iPhone app or the Red Bulletin and Red Bull Illume HD apps for iPad — with them, you’ll have a pretty in-depth look at some of the most visual content created by Red Bull’s very own media empire. For a look at one of its mobile app games, check out Red Bull X-Fighters. (Read more about Red Bull TV here.)
As it has carved a niche in the sports arena, Red Bull is associated with competitiveness and games—thus, it has launched a number of games accessible via Facebook or RedBull.com, where the games are hosted. One of the more visually-pleasing and simply adorable offerings in the line-up is the Soapbox Racer game.
YouTube is perhaps Red Bull’s biggest social strong suit. It joined as one of YouTube’s inaugural action sports content producers. And to date, nearly 300 million YouTube views have been generated from Red Bull content, making Red Bull Media House one of the top five sports content producers on YouTube globally.
This month, Red Bull upped the ante by launching 13 new episodic series to its YouTube channel. These shows will chronicle the day-to-day lives and competitions of some of the world’s most popular athletes from a variety of sports, including skateboarder Ryan Sheckler, motorcross star Travis Pastrana, surfer Jamie O’Brien and trials cyclist Danny MacAskill.
Red Bull seems to be benefiting from operating its very own media company. Have you heard of any other non-media brands with separate media operations? If so, let us know about them in the comments below.Image by Getty