NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In the wake of market research indicating that women are avid online gamers, women's magazine publisher Meredith Corp. has launched gaming sections on three of its most widely read Web sites.
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More than 280 games have been offered to readers of Better Homes and Garden (BHG.com), Ladies' Home Journal (LHJ.com) and American Baby (americanbaby.com). The sites combined reach about 8 million unique visitors a month.
Spend more time playing online
Of those who play games on the Web, women over 40 play the most often and spend the greatest number of hours per week doing so, beating out both men and teens, according to the Casual Gaming Report, conducted by Digital Marketing Services. Even though men spend more time on the Internet than women, female game players over 40 spend 9 hours online per week playing games vs. 6 hours for men.
Visitors to the American Baby and Ladies' Home Journal Web sites are 95% female, while BHG.com draws an audience that's 75% female.
RealNetworks, a digital entertainment company in Seattle, provides an arcade of casual games that can be sampled, downloaded for free and, for some games, offered for purchase in a revenue-sharing agreement with Meredith. The games in the RealArcade are more diversionary than the shoot 'em up variety. They include puzzles, mah jong, word games and others that are "approachable, gender-neutral and addictive," said Julie Pitt, general manager of RealArcade. "They are family-friendly games you can play with your kids."
Women use these games to take a quick breather, research shows.
Interact longer with ads
Dave Kurns, editor in chief of Meredith Interactive, said the games are a way to keep readers on the sites longer to view advertising and to interact with more parts of the sites and sign up for the offline magazines. Users must register a name and address to play. Games played on the site are free.
"They are a way for us to engage people," Mr. Kurns said. "When they return, we recognize them [through a personalization feature and encourage them] to sign up for newsletters and other products."
Two additional games, built by Meredith -- a matching game and a jigsaw puzzle -- are designed to be adapted by advertisers for use as advergames.