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Microsoft’s MSN, which has launched a series of very successful sites with major magazine publishers over the last two years, is now partnering with Rodale on a new health and fitness property. The site, Fitbie, which is going live today, features a series of articles and videos on working out, healthy eating, and weight loss; there are also fitness and dieting programs that users can sign up for.
Steve Madden, the VP of digital product development at Rodale, tells us Fitbie will stand out because it covers “what you eat” and “what you burn.” He contrasts that with competitors like Weight Watchers and Everyday Health-owned Jillian Michaels, which primarily focus on one of the two.
Rodale, which publishes health and fitness magazines including Men’s Health and Bicycling, had already been licensing some of its content to MSN since 2003, accounting for about 40 percent of MSN’s existing diet and fitness coverage. The company will now provide all of the editorial content on Fitbie. Some of the content will be “repurposed” from Rodale’s other brands but about half will be produced specifically for the site by a small editorial team. MSN will primarily handle ad sales, although it’s worth noting that the site is also heavy with promotions for Rodale’s many products, including its books, magazines, and online fitness programs.
The launch comes as MSN has identified “lifestyle” as one of five key verticals it is emphasizing as part of the relaunch of its home page, which it rolled out in March. Since then, the portal has also partnered with publisher Hachette Filipacchi and BermanBraun to launch the women-focused lifestyle site Glo. MSN says that site has been a success, pointing to comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) figures showing Glo is now number four in the “beauty/fashion/style category.”
As for what areas MSN will double-down on through partnerships next, Scott Moore, the partner regional executive producer at MSN, wouldn’t say. In addition to Hachette Filipacchi, MSN has also partnered with Hearst on food site Delish. Non-magazine content partners include IGN (for video games), BermanBraun (for celebrity news), Fox Sports (sports), MSNBC.com (news) and GrindNetworks (comedy).
Here’s the front page of the new site: