Earlier this month, Liverpool FC appointed Matthew Baxter as the club's new chief media officer to head up its digital media and TV operations.
Baxter brings a wealth of global digital media experience having held senior positions in well-known TV businesses including Warner Bros International Television and Walt Disney, and was part of the Fox Kids launch team in Europe.
This week, he sat down with LFC TV to talk about his role at the club, his aspirations going forward and reflect on how he has settled into life in Liverpool.
Matthew, tell us about the responsibilities that come with your role at the club...
My role as chief media officer is a new one and it's all-encompassing. It involves me looking after online, TV, website, content-creation and programming. It will be all about looking at how we deliver the product to our audience. We'll engage with the fans and let the fans engage with us through all our media platforms - through social media, Twitter and Facebook. But we'll also look to develop our strategy internationally, so that we can talk to fans in Indonesia, India, China, Iceland or wherever it may be. We've got a lot of work to do to build on the great progress to date.
We've seen some tremendous progress in the club's social media activities recently, haven't we?
We have. Back in 2001, we were the first club to digitally show a live game and from there we have just gone from strength to strength. Today we have 15 million followers throughout all of our social media. We have 11 million on Facebook, 1.5 million on Twitter and we have introduced a wave of new Twitter accounts which allows us to reach out to fans in over 75 countries. And we are developing on these fronts by the day.
We are launching and expanding our business. Only recently, we launched our Apple site through iTunes, which is going to be a great way of approaching new fans and getting them to interact with our product. We've passed the one million mark for followers on Chinese microblogging sites Sina Weibo and Tencent. So it just shows how much this space is developing on a day-to-day basis. I think we're now the frontrunners in this space - we have just overtaken Barcelona with our number of Twitter international accounts worldwide. This is a very dynamic area and we'll continue to see great growth.
What's your opinion on the official Liverpool website?
Our site has thousands of followers. During the transfer window, we get millions of hits on the website per day as it's a very popular time of the year in terms of people wanting to know what's going on. We need to be first to the consumer, to our audience and to our fans. There's only growth in that area. We should be looking at expanding those numbers and making sure we're the destination portal for our fans to engage with Liverpool Football Club. We should be the first place that they come to.
Can you tell us a little bit more about your background in media?
I arrived here from MGM Film Studios, who have had huge success recently with the film Skyfall. My role there was to oversee the channel and the digital media business worldwide. I'd been doing that for the last five or so years and before that I was at Warner Brothers, where I looked at international distribution. As well as delivering channels, business and media space, the focus was on how to add value to our consumers across the board. It was about finding out how they could interact with us in a better way, without us just feeding them the content that they watch. I've spent the last 18 or 20 years in this area, so I'm just excited to be here and take some of that forward in this business.
How have you found your first couple of weeks at Liverpool Football Club?
It's been busy but it's been great. I've really enjoyed meeting the whole team and I've really embraced the enthusiasm and the passion of everyone here. I've been trying to understand the ins and outs of how the business is and where it is today and where the growth potential is. The nice thing is that the team here are engaged for growth, whether it's international Twitter accounts, or whether it's the TV channel aiming to create great content. That's the nice part about coming into this family and this club. I've also been going to the matches and experiencing the fans first-hand and the passion within the crowd is indescribable. It's fantastic.
Finally, what are your aspirations here at Liverpool Football Club?
I think first and foremost, my aim has to be to build on the great work that has been done to date. What is in place already is super. But we've got a long way to go. We can grow both domestically and internationally. We can create great, engaging content across the board for everybody who wants to interact with our club. I think we need to be the destination place for anyone who wants to know about Liverpool. We need to make our content great, make sure we're the place that people come to first. The aim is to build on the values of the club and drive the message forward, making sure everyone gets part of the club that they want to be involved with. We're all part of the same team, whether you're a fan or you work at the club or you're a player on the pitch.