The success of Kidspot over the past 2 years has been a great example of the power of a womens focused vertical network within the current digital market in AU.
Kidspot, at the time, looked almost like a part time hobbyist site – awkward design, lots of bright colours and no signs of ‘sophisticated’ UI.
Behind the scenes though was a well thought out commercial idea that slowly but surely refined its product, pitch and audience over the next 24 months to be easily the market leader.
At the same time, Glam Media – based out of the US – was building a valuable audience and, most importantly business, by “curating” a network of premium womens sites.
It’s widely believed that for digital to uphold current growth rates it needs to attract advertisers from FMCG and retail categories. More often that not, marketers within these categories are looking for women, predominantly grocery buyers with kids.
When looking to reach this audience the options are slim and contextually, there aren’t that many great matches. The major players have a handful of strong environments. Yahoo!7 has Who, Famous, NewIdea and Marie Clare within their Lifestyle category. Ninemsn has AWW, Womens Day and The Fix. Fairfax has Life & Style … but aside this the Women’s lifestyle category online is not as bouyant as it is within the Magazine world.
Glam, Kidspot (with their network SheSpot) and Flossie Media Group aim to change this. With these 3 out in the market it should be interesting
Kidspot launched Shespot only a few months ago … creating a vertical network of womens sites to effectively sell alongside Kidspot. Makes sense, Kidspot has strong agency relationships and is probably close to selling out most of the time. A network allows it to increase its inventory and revenue for minimal additional costs. Kidspot, with sales led by Miffy Coady, editorial by Sarah Bryden Brown and CEO Katie May driving it commercially is a formidable outfit. Jo Gaines, ex Sales Director at Yahoo! (and my former boss) has also joined the team, starting in a few weeks.
Glam Media was a part of Tempest Media but of late has gone quiet in this market. Monique Talbot, ex Tempest head honcho who left the company only a few months ago, was the person responsible for gettng Glam to AU. Could it be that Monique would be looking to set up Glam as a standalone? Who knows … but Monique would be a great choice. Monique also runs http://www.shesaid.com.au
Flossie Media Group is an NZ based outfit led by Jenene Freer, which opens a local office this week with sales being led by Juliet McKenzie (who worked with me and Jo Gaines at Yahoo!). Flossie splits its channels into Fashion, Beauty, Sex & Dating, Health & Wellbeing, Careers & Money, Parenting, Living and Entertainment.
So now we have 3 competitors. What will it mean for the local market. Well
– for advertisers it will make things easier to reach women in smaller, niche environments. The beauty of the web is the depth of content but until now it’s been difficult to really tap this
– for publishers of niche womens content it means there are more options available to monetise your inventory. The winner will be the one that can structure their commercial terms in a way that appeals the most to the publishers. What this should mean is the group that puts the most skin in the game (ie through performance/yield based commissions or upfront guarantees) will get the best sites. The goal for the pubisher is extraction.
– this will probably make things more difficult for the generalist ad network (like Digital Network Sales, 3Di) who are jacks of all trades … I would imagine it’d be hard for them to hold onto their womens properties as it would make more sense to align with a specialist in terms of knowledge of product and also yield
– for the larger pubishers it could potentially eat into revenues on their womens titles
So yeah, there’s a bit of upside there for everyone. However, I think the ultimate winner will need to focus on a bigger prize.
Personally, I don’t think having 3 specialist plays in the market will grow the market all that much in the next 18 months. It will more likely move dollars around into better environments for advertisers and increase competition … potentially lowering prices (reaching women online in quality environments is an expensive exercise) across the board.
The way that ad dollars will migrate from magazines to online is if online can create a product that can better magazines in terms of
Reach and cost are crucial … how many people am I reaching and how much is it costing me to do so. Impact is important – does a medium rectangle have the same impact as a Full Page Colour? Um … probably not. This is a key area. Integration is also vital – magazines are excellent at creating advertorial that is cost efficient. Digital, not so much so far … digital media loves “production costs” … clients don’t.
For this to happen these groups need to not focus on competing with eachother, or the rest of the digital market … but the wider media market.
Should be an interesting year.