Comcast/NBC (NSDQ: CMCSA) Universal’s iVillage has tapped cable giant Rogers Communications to launch a version of the female-focused site network for the great white north. This is iVillage’s first country-specific site since establishing its UK version over a decade ago. Coincidentally, Rogers Media last week hired former Gannett (NYSE: GCI) Pointroll CEO Jason Tafler as its chief digital officer. He takes that role next month.
While the Canadian site will include content from both the U.S. and iVillage.co.uk; and content from Rogers’ media properties such as English/French magazine Chatelaine, sweetspot.ca and local guide Citytv.
Rogers will handle all the sales and marketing for the new site. In it addition, it will also craft ad sales deals that will bring Canadian advertisers to existing iVillage network sites.
Over the past year-and-a-half, as iVillage has been continuing to refine itself following a major overhaul. It has launched several verticals aimed at niche audiences and advertisers, including pregnancy, food and health/wellness. Along the way, iVillage has reached out to a variety of partners on on ad sales and content. The strategy has appeared to paid off, as iVillage is considered to be in a stronger position now than two years ago. The series of expansions has also helped it maintain its growth in the face of moves by generalist websites, like AOL/Huffington Post, Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO), Federated Media, which have also been focused increasingly on women’s content. At the same time, established brands like Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) and Glam Media have also been attracting a lot more display advertising aimed at women.
In terms of the personnel, Rogers has appointed Leigh Felesky as the Canadian site’s General Manager & Director. Felesky had headed the relaunch of Chatelaine.com last year.
Lauren Zalaznick, Chairman, NBC Universal Entertainment & Digital Networks & Integrated Media, will be speaking at the paidContent 2011 conference on March 3rd at The Times Center in New York City