Hearst and MSN partner for food site

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Hearst Magazines and MSN have partnered to create Delish.com, a food-focused Web site that is expected to drive online traffic, build online ad revenue and boost brand awareness.

“Food is clearly a big opportunity online, and it continues to grow,” said Chuck Cordray, VP and GM of Hearst Magazines Digital Media. “As we have grown our own online offerings this was good next step for us. Launching a food site builds on Hearst's heritage in food and its history as a group that's now built a strong set of interactive tools that make it a good online experience.”

Delish.com will launch in September. Though it will exist as a standalone brand, the site will feature content from Hearst brands such as Good Housekeeping and Country Living. The MSN sales team will sell ad space on Delish.com and across related Hearst sites Countryliving.com, Goodhousekeeping.com, Quickandsimple.com and Redbookmag.com.

“Certainly our print titles will have significant exposure as content providers within Delish.com,” Cordray said. “Both MSN and Hearst have links back to other areas in our online operations, so it will build significant traffic from related links and promotional areas within the site.

Cordray also expects the site to play a role in Hearst's initiative to build an integrated online/offline database. Over time, the company intends to be able to match visitors to its sites with their subscriber histories in order to customize the online experience, and, “the larger the online properties, the greater the reach, the greater the footprint,” Cordray noted.

Delish.com has a broad intended audience, which it will reach through its presence on the MSN portal and Hearst's online properties. The goal for the site is to win user loyalty and be seen as the “go-to” to find recipes and food information. Its main competitor, Cordray said, is not another food site but the basic search box. Delish.com is expected to debut in the top 10 food sites, with plans to grow.

Hearst is responsible for the design, development and editorial vision of Delish.com, and MSN will handle advertising sales and content distribution, per the partnership agreement.

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