Demand Media is dialing up its premium Web video output to help distance itself from its low-cost, content factory image.
With Tuesday’s (Mar. 15) much anticipated rollout of typeF.com, the fashion and beauty-themed site launched in conjunction with everywoman supermodel Tyra Banks, Demand will unveil the first of several Web originals. The first, Tyra’s Fa Fa Fa Fashion, features Banks and Vogue contributing editor Andre Leon Tally breaking down the use-case of a different fashion staple each week—starting with the trench coat.
Also in the works is Trendshaping, a series aimed at women of all sizes who want to recreate runway looks. A slew of other original series are planned for the future, said officials.
Given the talent and high production level involved in these shows, it’s clear that Demand is looking to establish typeF.com as both a destination site for a loyal user base and an outlet for premium brands—both attributes that the company’s editorial products are not always associated with (fairly or not).
For example, Demand’s biggest site, eHow.com, is best known as a source of information for thousands of how-to search queries. Many have doubted whether the site has much of a loyal user base, though according to CEO Richard Rosenblatt, eHow’s direct traffic surged last year, as did the site’s Facebook presence.
So is typeF.com about serving searchers or delivering branded content? “We’re going for both,” said Larry Fitzgibbon, Demand’s evp, media and operations. “We’ve always had an editorial calendar at eHow, and that’s always going to be a focus, as is search. This site takes all of Demand’s best practices.”
Those best practices, beside video, include a lot of personalization features. For example, users can enter their hair color, eye color, skin tone and eye shape to establish a profile, via which they’ll receive personalized content recommendations—and ads. Though as of Tuesday, no advertisers had signed on for the latest project.
Besides personalization, there is lots of Banks’ voice, which could be described as empowering and inclusive. “We’re not trying to be Vogue,” said Lisa Kraynak, svp/gm of typeF.com. “It’s a mix of inspirational and practical.”