What do you do when you're a network known for female-oriented content but you'd like some guys?
Change your name? Well, that's what Glam Media did today at its NewFront in Manhattan. Glam is now "Mode Media."
"We need to have an umbrella brand name that's not only good for the female lifestyle, but allows us to go into new channels," said Mode CEO Samir Arora.
A 10-year-old survivor of web 1.0, perennially working toward an IPO, Mode is soldering on with its network of 6,000 small and mid-sized publishers as well as its owned media properties. While those are female skewing, Mr. Arora would like to add new verticals in autos and gadgets.
Today Mode unveiled a slate of 18 episodic series, including some renewals from last year. While the volume is high, the investment is small: Mode is spending $2 million on exclusive video content this year, according to Mr. Arora.
They include "Mi Casa, Su Casa," a look inside noteworthy homes hosted by former Miss USA Ali Landry; "Supermarket Adventures," hosted by the Food Network's Claire Robinson; and "Real Alphas," which compares "history's most aggressive and accomplished leaders with those of today." Some are being produced in-house, while others are produced by Hud:sun Media and Trium Entertainment.
The videos will be distributed on Mode's owned-and-operated sites (such as Glam.com and Brash.com), as well as across its ecosystem of publishers via a new native video player.
Mode is also developing a discovery platform where video can effectively be curated, and it intends to do more licensing deals going forward so that the lion's share of its video content is syndicated. (It currently syndicates video from over 200 independent studios and producers; many of those have been used for its Foodie TV channel.)
Mr. Arora has a bold notion of how Mode's video play could evolve and said that part of the goal of the NewFront is to accelerate conversations with TV networks to license their content.
"Like a Netflix, do we have the capability to spend large amounts of money on content acquisition?" he said. "Absolutely."
The relatively small size of Mode's expenditure on production is notable in light of the expense of hosting a NewFront, however. Presenters spend "well north" of $500,000 on their events when all is said and done, according to DigitasLBi's senior VP-content John McCarus. "The opportunity warrants it," he added.
Mode had 126 million monthly unique visitors across desktop and mobile in the U.S. in March to rank ninth among online publishers, according to ComScore.
Mode, nee Glam, has raised nearly $200 million over the past decade in VC financing and debt, according to Crunchbase, including $25 million last fall.