NBC Uni invests in Sugar Publishing

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NEW YORK -- NBC Universal will invest in Sugar Publishing, Inc., owner of a network of  Web sites focusing on young women, as a complement to its iVillage property, which skews towards an older demographic.

Under the terms of the agreement, NBCU will acquire a minority stake in Sugar, which publishes lifestyle and entertainment sites including flagship PopSugar, FabSugar, BellaSugar, BuzzSugar and others as part of its Sugar Network. NBCU's digital media sales team will handle Sugar's advertising inventory and the sites will share content with iVillage.

"IVillage's advertisers have access to a committed audience of women who are going through a spectrum of life stages, from dating to parenting, health and home," said iVillage president Deborah Fine. "With the addition of the Sugar Networks' inventory, that spectrum now includes young, trendsetting women who go online daily for gossip, advice and fashion."

This announcement comes amidst reports that iVillage is losing ground in the battle for female Internet users to upstart Glam Media. ComScore Media Metrix revealed that, with 17.1 million users in May, the NBCU property finished second to Glam's 17.3 million users for the month in the women's Web properties category. Glam also saw a 3,638% jump in traffic compared to May 2006, comScore said.

Earler this month, Glam began an ad campaign touting its new ranking. In published reports, Fine responded by saying that she didn't consider Glam a competitor and that her site, which NBC said has seen a 13% increase in traffic over the last year, is a safer bet for advertisers.

Founded in April 2006, the San Francisco-based Sugar Network receives 4.5 million unique visitors a month according to Google Analytics. FabSugar recently won the 2007 People's Choice Webby Award for fashion.
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