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DCNF 2014-15

Glam Media Rebrands as Mode Media and Takes On Netflix

Debuts original programming initiative

Glam Media changed its name to Mode Media at its NewFronts event today in New York. Glam chief Samir Arora told Adweek prior to the presentation that the new moniker reflects a commitment to entertainment as well as rebranding its properties beyond its core women's lifestyle offerings.

And he's evidently not kidding about entertainment. Over the last 18 months, his team has quietly developed a consumer-facing video product, which Arora likens more to Netflix than iTunes. Five to 20 percent of the video programming will be original content, but the rest of the shows will originate from syndicated deals made with TV companies. Mode Media has been working with Creative Artists Agency (CAA) to acquire quality content. It announced 10 original series at the NewFronts presentation in downtown Manhattan, while promising to deliver another eight in the near term.

"We will be able to distribute our video in different channels and verticals across our current reach," Arora explained. "We wanted to take the time to build the platform in order to aid in the discovery of our content."

In addition, the company has built studios in Los Angeles and New York to create original video content. Arora said the video offering will include short- and long-form Web series as well as full feature films.

New programs include a food show called Tastemakers, which will showcase international cuisine, as well as Haute Havens, an MTV Cribs-styled show that entails celebrities giving a peek into the homes of fashion icons. And then there's Designer in a Diner, an interview series with fashion industry insiders at their preferred local eateries.

"These are top talent, top production quality series done in our studios with celebrity talent. It's a great lineup," Arora boasted.

Glam Media, which was called Project Y at launch in 2003, has been known as a destination for beauty and fashion blogs, recently charting on comScore as the seventh largest media property with 250 million monthly unique visitors globally. Now, Glam for Style, one of the company's content staples, will become a single vertical within Mode Media and will make room for other channels, including Mode Entertainment, Brash for Men's Lifestyle, Home, Fashion & Beauty, Foodie for Recipes & Restaurants and Tend for Family & Parenting.

Digital video streaming is heating up with Amazon Prime's recent entry, which would seem to deter a brand like Glam/Mode Media from joining the fray.

But Arora said it was time to enter the space because the company already operated on a Netflix-like model with its blog content, paying more than $200 million in revenue to partner publishers. The CEO said, once again citing comScore, his videos—none of which have been original programming—reach 11.5 million monthly. That's barely shy of the 13 million from Hulu, according to comScore.

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