EMAP eyes social networking sites to develop titles

EMAP, the owner of Grazia and FHM magazines, is eyeing a move into online social networking sites to help promote its magazine titles.

EMAP Advertising managing director Marcus Rich says it is considering a twin-track strategy of creating a stronger presence for its titles on existing sites, such as MySpace, and potentially looking to make an acquisition in this area.

The company says that it has made no firm decisions yet but a spokeswoman adds that it has always been its strategy to “take brands and move them onto the fastest moving platforms”.

Industry insiders are already linking it to a possible deal with social networking sites such as eTribes.

Tom Moloney, group chief executive, said in September that he expects digital revenues to double over the next three years.

The company has already made changes to its magazines based on online research. Rich says that it has made changes to its rock music title Kerrang!, after discovering that most of its readers on MySpace were young female teenagers. According to Rich, this directly led to the magazine reintroducing posters to appeal to the newly-discovered audience.

EMAP has also launched a strategic review this week, hiring Boston Consulting Group to examine the company’s portfolio and strategy.

Any move into the social networking arena would mirror the strategy of rival publishers. Condé Nast bought Reddit, a social news site based in Boston, last week for an undisclosed sum. It will form part of the publisher’s CondéNet division.

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