Evolve Media today purchased the LGBT women's lifestyle site AfterEllen.com from Viacom for an undisclosed sum.
"It adds scale, unique affinity, and a unique additional interest and focus on the LGBT community that's attractive for us," said Evolve Media president Brian Fitzgerald. "We can work with brand marketers, allowing them to reach women generally and broadly, as well as align a typical marketing program against a very specific audience—the LGBT audience."
Big picture, just two years ago, anti-gay group One Million Moms led a campaign against J.C. Penney for using comedian Ellen DeGeneres in its campaign. The company stood by its decision, and ultimately, the protest lost steam. This year, brands like Cheerios and Honey Maid have featured gay couples in their ads, generating public praise.
Fitzgerald said there will always be "a certain percentage of the audience that's narrow-minded," but, based on the company's research, more brands are embracing advertising featuring and for the LGBT community. Evolve Media COO Mike Dodge told The Advocate that Hilton and Toyota have already expressed interest to them about advertising on AfterEllen.com.
"There's a widening and growing acceptance. There's more marketers that are going to understand the LGBT audience and the value of that audience. We’re excited to be a part of this community," Fitzgerald said.