Glam Media Set For France Expansion In 2010, BRIC Nation Launches Planned

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Women-focused content network Glam Media is on course to launch in France next year and has plans to open offices in more European markets and developing nations around the world after that. The US company, which organises content from 1,800 sites into its Glam.com flagship site, opened its UK office 18 months ago before moves into Germany and Japan. Glam’s international VP Bernard Desarnauts told me in an interview that launches are being planned in Italy, Brazil, India, Russia and China in the next 12 to 18 months. But to do that, the company might need more funding…

Paris in Springtime?: “We see France as an important market, the most logical one for us to launch in next,” says Desarnauts, though he doesn’t give a launch date. He says the global downturn had put expansion plans on hold, but they are now back on track. Glam already has two million France-based monthly unique users of its US and UK sites, according to ComScore (NSDQ: SCOR) figures, he points out.

Glam Media vs Glam One: As we reported on Tuesday, Glam could face something of a challenge cracking the French market because of the existence of Glam One, another “vertical-based” publisher that owns the “Glam” brand in France. C’est pas un problème, says Desarnauts: “We are completely different businesses, we’ve been doing this for five years and it’s got nothing to do with what these guys are trying to do.” Glam doesn’t expect to break any trademarks, he says, adding that Glam did years ago consider buying the “Glam” trademark but thought otherwise “because it’s such a generic word in English that it’s not protectable on a global basis”.

BRIC calling:Glam raised $10 million to fund its German and Japanese launches — will it need more funding to finance these ambitions? “It’s a possibility at both a global and local level — in each market there are entities interested in the Glam model,” says Desarnauts. Talks are underway with “the main players” in each of the markets but, again, no deadline is set. The company tends to pick local advertising partners to launch with. Glam has already bought AdaptiveAds, a targeted ad company with offices in Mumbai and Pune, India.

UK approaching profitability: Glam doesn’t disclose its profit figures, but Desarnauts admits the UK and German markets have been “challenged” in the last 12 to 18 months. Despite that, he adds that the UK division is “close” to profitability. “It depends how you measure it, but we’re in striking distance.”

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