Hachette Goes for In-Market Decorators with New Online Home Hub

Hachette Filipacchi has taken a patient approach to moving its magazines online, and the publisher will enter the final stages of this transition with the upcoming launch of a home decorating site network. Taking aim at in-market home decorators, the company this April will unveil a site that pools content from Metropolitan Home, Elle Décor, Home and special interest titles. The goal is to attract action-oriented consumers through utilitarian site features, allowing advertisers to reach people ready to buy kitchen tile and designer faucets rather than simply ogle them.

“Our strategy was always to wait until we got the full package together… rather than building it out incrementally,” said Marta Wohrle, SVP, director of digital media for Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S.

PointClickHome.com will act as a hub for information from special interest publications like Kitchens and Baths and Budget Decorating, in addition to sites associated with the company’s home fashion title Elle Décor, remodeling magazine Home, and luxury design magazine Metropolitan Home.

Currently undergoing redesign in preparation for the network launch, the Elle Décor, Home and Metropolitan Home sites have had little to no unique Web content or advertising. However, that will change with the launch of PointClickHome.com, which will offer search advertising and sponsorships, as well as lead referral in the future. The publisher also might feature images that provide advertiser product details and retail information when scrolled-over, Wohrle said.

To grab direct-response ad dollars, the firm is developing an ad-supported vertical search engine for the site that will provide product and manufacturer listings searchable by keyword, manufacturer or category. Ads will link directly to retail sites in this Resource Guide, according to Wohrle, who called it “the centerpiece of the site.” The firm plans on offering lead referrals, most likely in 2008.

Through the new site, Hachette is taking aim at Scripps Networks, which produces home improvement and decorating TV channels and sites including HGTV, DIY Network and Fine Living. Scripps offers sponsorships and links to retail sites on its home and garden improvement site, HGTV, for instance.

PointClickHome.com, which is close to signing a launch sponsor, will allow for several sponsorship opportunities in areas focusing on painting, kitchen design or bathroom remodeling, for example.

In developing the more robust online editions of its home lineup, Hachette is taking a cue from its auto publications, Car and Driver and Road and Track, where sponsorships are popular with advertisers. The print versions of those magazines appeal to enthusiasts, while the Web sites tend to attract people in car-buying mode. In fact, Wohrle told ClickZ News there is about a 20 percent audience crossover between the print and Web versions of those publications; she expects the same of the home magazine online and print group.

The new home décor site will provide expert interviews, information on recommended products and how-to instructions, as well as tools for choosing a paint color, planning a garden or designing a room layout. Like other Hachette sites, including Elle.com and Woman’s Day, the new site will feature how-to related video content updated on a weekly-basis.

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