Glam Media Grows Brand Ad Base, Partners with Hearst

Online fashion and lifestyle network Glam Media has entered a syndication deal with Hearst Magazines Digital Media to distribute content from multiple of the publisher’s fashion and lifestyle magazines for women. The company also scored a series C investment of $18.5 million, a big chunk of which is intended for acquisitions.

Marie Claire was the only book to be named, but Hearst also publishes Cosmo; Cosmo Girl; O, The Oprah Magazine; Bazaar; and Country Living. Contributed content will include not only print articles, but also podcasts, blogs and other higher engagement media, according to Samir Arora, chairman and founder of Glam Media. Glam had a pre-existing ad representation and content syndication deal with Cosmo.

“We are very good at providing what women want online,” he told ClickZ News. “Hearst is very good at the deep content they generate through their heritage.”

Glam Media had 3.8 million unique visitors in November, up from 1.4 million unique visitors in June 2006, according to comScore Networks. In addition to selling ads on its own site, the company has 200 network affiliates, including blogs, which make up about 40 percent of its traffic. Across its entire network, the company reported 7 million unique visitors and 70 million page views in November.

The company’s senior sales staff includes storied Internet veterans Scott Schiller, a former sales head with Disney Online and a founder of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, and Carl Portale, previous publisher with the Elle Group, Harper’s Bazaar, Mirabella, and other print brands with strong ties to fashion and beauty advertisers. By leveraging those relationships, Glam claims to have successfully wooed several big name brand advertisers including Guerlain, the French cosmetics brand. Louis Vitton-owned Guerlain had never advertised on the Web before placing its media buy with Glam, Arora said.

Glam commands CPM rates of $20 to $30 for non-rich media executions, up to $50 for more engaged placements, and between $50 and $125 for “high engagement” placements in e-mail and other channels. In addition to display ad sales, the company offers sponsored content, such as a “What’s the right fit?” feature from Victoria’s Secret. “What we are doing really is a microsite,” said Arora. “Our goal is to put interactive content that women want online.”

He said the company has already been engaged to develop proposals for 10 large brand ad campaigns slated for next year.

Glam also recently added a social networking component, called GlamSpace, which has drawn approximately 500,000 registered users. Profile owners characterize themselves, according to a type system, as student, designer or boutique.

As part of the new funding, led by Duff Ackerman & Goodrich Ventures, CNET Chairman and E.W. Scripps Board Director Jarl Mohn has joined Glam’s board. Only a small portion of the investment will go to operations, Arora said. The remainder will be spent on technology and content sites.

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