Q&A with Oscar Martin, co-founder of Pedestrian.TV
Tell me about Pedestrian.TV
Today Pedestrian is Australia’s largest youth-focused media brand, or website. We basically create pop culture news, and news relevant for a younger audience. I guess you could look at it as a younger version of The Sydney Morning Herald, written in a tone that you would use to talk about news with your friends. It seems to have struck a chord because it’s relevant, funny, smart, and all those great things.
Was that the plan from the start?
It definitely wasn’t the original idea, and that’s the beautiful thing about business, who knows where it’s going to end up. We always say even if your idea is bad, if you’re passionate and believe in it and work hard at it, you will end up somewhere better than not doing anything at all.
The original idea for Pedestrian was a DVD magazine back in 2005. This was before the days of YouTube, before you could jump online and watch an interview with a band or model, or anything you wanted. We filmed a whole bunch of content with people that we liked, and we went around and pitched to advertisers to advertise on this brand new medium, the DVD.
It was a very innovative product at the time, but it had all the challenges of creating a new medium and convincing advertisers that their ads would be seen. And it’s bloody expensive to produce 35,000 DVDs every two months.
We started putting some content online and we were like, hang on, we can put this content online and find advertisers to advertise on there, and it’s been a much smarter solution, and better for the environment too.
And we’re on track for over $13.5 million revenue this year.
Is it true that you first started working out of your bedroom?
Yeah, the first office was at my mother’s. I lived with my mum and we turned the bedroom into our office, and the lounge room, and everywhere else. And then we went to my business partner Chris’ parent’s basement, and then to my dad’s. And then we got an office in Surry Hills and it went from there.
What’s your role in the company?
The official title of Chris Wirasinha, (co-founder) and myself is managing director. So we are across the entire business. Our main goals are to drive the business forward, grow it, look for all sorts of different revenue opportunities, have good staff, and make sure they are happy.
Who inspires you?
I think I was greatly influenced by my father who was in business and also people like Richard Branson, who was a real business entrepreneur.
What gives you the most amount of satisfaction in the work that you do?
I think it’s the people that we work with to be honest. We’ve brought together a bunch of very talented staff, so I get my satisfaction in seeing them grow in their roles and get better and really drive the business. We are nothing without our staff. There’s also the satisfaction of growing a company from nothing to something pretty significant. Making my parents proud and all that.
What will you be working on in the future?
Philanthropy. We launched a section of Pedestrian called ‘Pedestrian Help’. Our first initiative was to raise money for Youth Off The Streets by putting on a music event and auction. I’ve been so fortunate in my life and my next phase will be centred around giving back and helping others. I’ve got ideas to launch a clothing label that can be paid for with charitable donations… I have a huge desire to raise awareness and funding for cancer research after recently losing my father to a year-long battle with the disease, and watching my mother fight breast cancer.
Oh and I’d also love to turn a studio in my house into an artist residency program... where artists are given the studio at no cost in exchange for donating a work, which would then be sold for charity. I also like to paint, so I see a lot of colour in my future!
Oscar Martin completed a Bachelor of Commerce at ACU.