HEARST MAGAZINES CREATES DIGITAL MEDIA UNIT

Joins Meredith, Hachette in Developing Emerging Platforms

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Joining a crowd of traditional media companies that are trying to catch up with emerging media, Hearst Magazines has created a unit called Hearst Magazines Digital Media to direct the development and convergence of its titles in the digital space.

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Recent initiatives
The new division echoes efforts at other print publishers, including Meredith Corp., which said in January that it will invest $2 million this year in its Web sites; Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S., which reorganized that month to facilitate digital content creation and cross-platform content-sharing; and Time Inc., which partly justified its recent layoffs as a way to free resources for digital development.

Outside of print, MTV Networks has also created a unit devoted to creating short-form entertainment that may play well on portable digital devices and computer screens.

“More than 76 million people read our magazines each month and, with the proliferation of digital media, we want our brands and unique editorial perspectives to be available to our consumers wherever and whenever they desire,” said Cathleen P. Black, president, Hearst Magazines.

John Loughlin to lead unit
John Loughlin, exec VP-general manager, was named to lead Hearst’s digital unit. Much of its work will build on the company's relationship with iVillage, which hosts sites for Hearst magazines including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire and Redbook.

NBC Universal said two weeks ago that it had struck a deal to buy iVillage, a Web company oriented toward women, for $600 million.

“With the news of NBC’s acquisition of iVillage and the expansion of our internal digital media group, we believe this is a very exciting opportunity to extend our content distribution using new digital applications and technologies, including blogging, podcasting, mobile content and IP video,” Ms. Black said.

The company also hired two executives to oversee the new unit. Chuck Cordray, formerly senior VP for consumer marketing at the TV Guide Publishing Group, was named VP-general manager of Hearst Magazines Digital Media. And Debra Robinson, who had been senior VP-chief information officer at Primedia, was named VP-technology.

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