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International: MSN.Com signs $9 million eDIETS advertising deal

23-July-2002
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International: MSN.Com signs $9 million eDIETS advertising deal

Representing its largest-ever Web media pact, Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Internet portal has signed a $9 million yearlong advertising and content-integration deal with eDiets.

As Microsoft launches the latest version of MSN, MSN 8, long-term deals like eDiets' are becoming more important. The portal, which now boasts 7.7 million Internet-access subscribers and 270 million unique visitors each month worldwide, is currently in the process of re-signing existing customers and trying to build business in tough categories such as entertainment and consumer package goods.

The Deerfield Beach, Fla., Web provider of personalized weight-loss, diet and fitness services will, among other things, see its content integrated into two co-branded MSN channels: WomenCentral and MSNBC. The integrated gateways will give eDiets' target audience, women aged 25 to 54, entry to proprietary content and services such as the ability to create an eDiets profile.

MSN recently hired an entertainment-category manager to lure new business and is weeks away from naming a high-level agency relations executive. "People come to the Web for entertainment, but the entertainment category still sees the Internet as a content distribution medium, not an advertising vehicle," said Joanne Bradford, vice president of MSN and chief ad revenue officer.

MSN is increasingly becoming the all-important hub around which Microsoft content properties and services are connecting. Microsoft's Slate online magazine says it is beginning to sign major advertisers. It had 4.2 million unique monthly visitors in June, according to Media Metrix.

Microsoft promoted Cyrus Krohn, 31, to publisher, to scout and manage new ad opportunities for Slate. Mr. Krohn, who was associate publisher and one time managing editor, says he will cultivate the travel, wine and spirits categories. He's credited with signing blue-chip marketers such as Toyota Motor Co.'s Lexus and Absolut for Slate.

"I'm focused on brand advertisers," he said, adding that he'll be working closely with Ms. Bradford's MSN ad sales team. Slate's ad revenue this year is up 17% over the same period last year, and bullish insiders say, the online magazine could reach profitability late this year.

Mr. Krohn takes over for Scott Moore, who was recently promoted to general manager, news and information, MSN. Mr. Moore is charged with integrating MSNBC.com more with MSN and Slate.

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