INTERACTIVE: PROFILE DANNY KELLY - Stock market flotation for the venture launched on passion/The will to be the best has taken 365’s Danny Kelly a long way

Danny Kelly considers himself a fortunate man in that he has tied everything that interests him - sport, music and, latterly, communication - into his work.

Danny Kelly considers himself a fortunate man in that he has tied

everything that interests him - sport, music and, latterly,

communication - into his work.



He has another reason for feeling lucky: when the 365 Corporation, of

which he is co-founder and publishing director, floats later this year

he will make a great deal of money. In fact, The Sunday Times recently

put him in its list of the top-100 e-millionaires, estimating his

personal fortune at pounds 10 million.



He doesn’t consider himself a materialist, but it was the desire to own

what he was producing that inspired him to leave Emap, where he edited

the sports and music magazines, Total Sport and Q.



365 came into being two years ago, when Kelly got together with Dan

Thompson - the founder of Renegade Software and now 365’s chief

executive - and Simon Morris, a former Ginger Productions director and

BSkyB programme marketing director, currently 365’s marketing director.

With the help of more than pounds 1 million from the high-tech investor,

Durlacher, and ’some rich people’, they went into business.



Kelly says: ’We had all worked in different parts of the media for a

long time and we wanted to avoid the self-regarding, over-bureaucratised

aspect of the business. We wanted to build a proper business we could

all be proud of.’



He admits they got it all wrong when they started. The first venture,

the football365 website, was too much like a traditional publishing

product.



But within three months, the design flaws were ironed out and it

mushroomed.



Sites sprang up for cricket, rugby and music in seven countries.



The other revenue-generating areas of the 365 operation are less well

known, and the company has also been relatively discreet about its plans

for growth - to go cross-platform, across all content and

international.



365 currently operates on three platforms - the internet, by e-mail and

by telephone. On the back of its websites, it provides personalised

team-specific news and information that is e-mailed or messaged to

phones.



Following the January purchase of Symphony, 365 moved into providing

chatlines.



Digital is next on the agenda, although Kelly is cautious on this

topic.



’Anyone who tells you where digital TV and convergence are going long

term doesn’t know what they are talking about,’ he warns.



Plans for expanding 365’s operations across content are based on the

fact that it will eventually be possible to pull media consumers into

’passion centre’ communities based on topics such as football, music and

business, via all the various media, making profits through economies of

scale.



Eventually, there should be TV versions of what they’re doing online,

but Kelly won’t spell out at this stage what they’re up to, beyond

saying: ’We are dipping our toes in the water. If, and when, the content

we provide becomes replicable and high quality on TV, why not? It will

all become clear in a few months.’



The third area targeted for growth is the international market. There

are already sites and offices in France, Germany, Chile, South Africa,

Australia, India and the US, where the company hopes to grow as it has

done in the UK.



It is this three-pronged strategy that has stopped the City from gasping

’no way’ to the flotation plans, which, annoyingly, 365 staff are unable

to discuss.



Sources reckon the 365 Corporation will be valued at between pounds 300

million and pounds 600 million, and it is expected to generate revenues

of pounds 20 million this year, rising to more than pounds 50 million

next year.



Its advantage over the Freeserves of the market is its content

ownership, but what about the high level of competition in the ’passion

centres’?



Kelly is unworried. Competition is a sign that you’re in the right area,

he asserts.



Kelly is sweetly old fashioned about certain things. The fact that 365

employs 180 people makes him immensely proud, growing up as he did in

the 70s when ’unemployment stalked the land’. His inspiration in life is

an uncle who started off as a barman and became a successful

entrepreneur, and Kelly himself always wanted to do his best, even when

he worked as a British Rail clerk. ’I wanted to be the best railway

clerk the world had ever seen,’ he says.



And like those football and music anoraks who immerse themselves in

their subjects, he’s addicted to this new form of communication and

spends every hour God sends thinking about it. Ask him what it’s all

about and he says, a touch obscurely: ’It’s different from anything

that’s gone before. It’s related to all media. It starts off like

everything then becomes more and more like nothing except itself.’



THE KELLY FILE

1985

NME, journalist

1992

Q, managing editor

1995

Total Sport, launch editor

1997

365 Network, latterly 365 Corporation, founding partner



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1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).