Unilever has committed several million dollars to securing a year-long sponsorship deal on WomenCentral, the recently launched female interest area on the Microsoft-owned MSN portal site.
MSN’s WomenCentral content will be provided by Women.com Networks (www.women.com), the previously independent portal site operator which last month restructured as a 50-50 venture with the new media division of US media group The Hearst Corporation.
The restructured venture estimates it has already attracted four million female visitors a month. The deal sees the online publisher gain access to the content of the Hearst stable of women-oriented US magazine titles, which include Cosmopolitan, Country Living, Good Housekeeping and Marie Claire.
Women.com Networks has already secured a content-sharing deal with MSN rival AOL with the aim of establishing itself as the world’s leading online supplier of women-oriented Web content.
According to MSN, Unilever’s take-up of sponsorship on the WomenCentral service reflects its confidence that the female Web audience is now sufficient for content owners and advertisers to take an interest.
“We are a company devoted to making womens’s lives easier,” according to Anthony Romeo, who leads interactive initiatives for Unilever North America. “Women are increasingly adopting the Web for information, solutions and purchase decisions.”