Branded Content Synergy
HelloGiggles employs 10 people in its editorial department but sources much of its content from its 400-person strong contributor network, so content ends up being written by and for millennial women with an average age around 26. Many of those contributors have participated in sponsor programs for advertisers like Cover Girl.
Time Inc. plans to build on that contributor model. It can also cross-expose content and branded content across People and Entertainment Weekly, giving it a wider reach.
In September, HelloGiggles’ website posted 11 million unique visitors, according to comScore, not far behind Entertainment Weekly’s 18.6 million uniques, although only a third of People’s 32.7 million.
But according to Candace Tischer, director of sales partnerships for People, HelloGiggles adds to the publications’ unduplicated reach by bringing in more of that coveted young millennial demographic. The audience overlap is 3 million uniques.
Time Inc. also expects HelloGiggles to help infuse its other brands with knowledge about how to thrive in a digital world. “They’re mobile-first and social-first,” Battista said. “Those are capabilities and experiences that we want to bring inside of our company.”
The trade, then, looks something like this: HelloGiggles brings its brand and its knowledge of how to thrive in a digital pure-play world, and Time Inc. brings the infrastructure to scale it up even further, expanding branded content and video along with live events and ecommerce (HelloGiggles sells artwork by its readers on the site).
Other traditional media brands have had the same idea lately.
Last week, Condé Nast bought Pitchfork Media. In April, Scripps Networks Interactive invested in another female millennial-focused site, Refinery29, to the tune of $50 million. Other recent examples include Axel Springer’s purchase of Business Insider, NBCUniversal’s investments in BuzzFeed and Vox, A&E Networks' investment in Vice and Daily Mail’s $50 million purchase of Elite Daily.
For all the synergies, Battista suggested the purchase came down to the strong bond HelloGiggles has with readers.
“We’re interested in brands that have an authentic voice," he said.
On Monday, Time Inc. shuttered another property, All You, which was once exclusively distributed in Walmart and focused on reaching the money-saving female shopper.