NBCU’s iVillage has just expanded its reach into the online women’s market through a partnership deal with the two-year-old BlogHer, a women’s affiliate network of 2,200 bloggers.
The partnership was created via a $5 million second-round investment by Peacock Equity—a joint venture between NBC Universal and GE Commercial Finance—and venture capital firm Venrock, already an investor in BlogHer. The deal comes on the heals of the formation of Women@NBCU, an ad network that combines BravoTV.com, Oxygen.com, iVillage and Sugar Inc., which just scored its first sponsorship deal with Wal-Mart across the iVillage and “Today” properties.
iVillage essentially adds another 8 million unique visitors to its 31.4 million, per Nielsen Netratings and ComScore MediaMetrix figures. Along with that comes BlogHer’s event division, which produces two conferences and a six-city road show.
Selected BlogHer content will be featured on NBCU properties, including iVillage, Oxygen.com and BravoTV.com.
iVillage executives did not return calls for comment.
The women’s vertical has been getting its share of attention lately. The 12-year-old Web 1.0 survivor iVillage is now battling it out with the three-year-old Glam Media network, and Yahoo’s Shine, a women’s portal that launched in March and features content from various sections of Yahoo and from Rodale, Time Inc., Hearst and Conde Nast.
When reached for comment, Glam Media’s CEO Samir Arora was unimpressed by the deal. “The founder of BlogHer, Lisa Stone, was one of the early people that helped build Glam,” Arora told The Circulator. “We are happy to see her efforts to gain momentum. iVillage, which used to be number one for over 10 years with 16 million uniques a month, clearly is still a player in the women’s space, but in spite of NBC/GE’s efforts, is now a distant second to Glam—with over 42 Million in reach. Our feeling is too late, too little.”