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Recognizing that women are the most avid online gamers, Meredith Corp. launched gaming sections on three of its most widely read Web sites in the magazine publisher's portfolio.

More than 280 games are available on (Better Homes and Garden), (Ladies' Home Journal) and The sites reach a total of 8 million unique visitors a month.

Of those who play games on the Web, women over 40 play 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 Net than women, female gamers over 40 spend nine hours online per week playing games vs. six hours for men. American Baby and Ladies' Home Journal sites are 95% female, while Better Homes and Garden's is 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. Dave Kurns, editor in chief of Meredith Interactive, said the games are a way to keep readers on the sites longer and hopefully get them to interact with more parts of the sites and ultimately sign up for offline magazines. Two games that Meredith built-a matching game and a jigsaw puzzle-are designed to be adapted by advertisers for use as adver-games.

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