Hearst Grabs Men’s Lifestyle Property UGO Networks

Online entertainment company UGO Networks was acquired by Hearst’s interactive group. The site will add the male 18 to 34 demographic to the publisher’s readership.

UGO’s news and content on games, movies, television, film, DVDs, music, sports, women, and comic books attracts an audience many advertisers find difficult to reach. To retain the audience, UGO deploys what it calls “high touch” advertising.

“We create customized solutions for advertisers; we’re not a banner shop,” said UGO CEO J Moses. “The organization is built around our ability to sell and deliver these campaigns, that’s what we bring to the Hearst family, our ability to create value for advertisers beyond the IAB box.”

Custom advertising solutions developed by UGO are already in demand at other Hearst properties. Hearst Interactive Media’s president Kenneth Bronfin said he already received calls from ad sales reps within the company in the hours following the acquisition announcement. “There will be opportunities for advertisers to look at a piece of something from Hearst and a piece of something from UGO,” he said.

UGO Networks includes its flagship site ugo.com, and also Actress Archives, Celebrity Wonder, Casters Realm, and UGO Player.

The relationship between Hearst and UGO began about two years ago, though formalized talks of an acquisition only got serious in the past month. “I think one important ingredient of any kind of acquisition is chemistry between companies,” said Bronfin. “We’ve gotten to know UGO well, have some of the same philosophies on business. I think the companies are highly compatible. It’s especially nice that we’re both here in New York, to keep the lines of communication open”

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. UGO Networks plans to remain in its downtown offices instead of consolidating in Hearst’s midtown headquarters. “I’ve been assured by Hearst that our employees can continue to wear flip flops and work downtown,” said Moses.

Bronfin added, “There are employees at Hearst who wear flip flops, too.”

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