Glam Media Buys Canada's BBS Media

U.S. online ad giant to bring vertical content and ad-serving platform northwards.

TORONTO – Where Oprah Winfrey leads, a slew of rival U.S. female-focused entertainment properties are following in Canada.

The women’s online network Glam Media is buying BBS Media, the Canadian ad rep firm, to create Glam Media Canada.  

Terms of the deal, which continues building out Glam’s female-oriented ad-selling network globally, were not disclosed.

But Christine McNicholas, Glam Media senior vp and the Canadian country manager, said the U.S. online giant was migrating its vertical media and ad platform model northwards to target women and premium-brand advertisers with sticky content.

“We’re starting off with 8.5 million Canadian women in our sights, and we will offer that audience content that engages across our verticals,” she explained.

BBS Media co-founders Mark Boxer and Brian Fields become vice presidents of Glam Media Canada, in charge of publisher and brand advertising sales forces.

The new Canadian player will tap Glam Media’s existing content library, including articles and video, while recruiting Canadian editors and writers to create local content.

The media content will then drive a planned website with a range of lifestyle categories, including beauty, fashion, health and wellness and sports, to launch in summer 2011

“We’re going to carve out channels, then allow advertisers to engage in a really relevant environment,” McNicholas explained.

Glam Media isn’t the only U.S. player to chase the Canadian female demo for advertisers with a hyper-targeted reach.

The OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network launched in Canada on March 1, and local player Rogers Media has pacted with NBC Universal’s property to launch the iVillage Canada web portal this spring.

BBS Media’s women’s portfolio currently represents Women’s Health, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s Bazaar, OK! Weekly.

Being acquired by Glam Media aims at helping the Canadian company maximize ad sales at home using the U.S. parent’s proprietary ad serving platform GlamAdapt, and getting deeper into the U.S. market.   

“There will be a lot of opportunity for Canadian partners that already have success in the U.S. for reach -- hopefully we can monetize them on a North American level and then really start growing North American based programming for our clients,” Brian Fields said.  

And local Canadian publishers can leverage Glam Media to get closer to global brands like L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

Increased American interest in the Canadian market stems from a host of factors, including Netflix having successfully launched a pure video streaming service here, and the Canadian economy emerging in better shape from 2009-09 recession than the U.S. market to the south.

Glam Media is also targetting a Canadian display advertising market that did $600 million in total business in 2010, and is growing 15% year-over-year.