IQ News: Concrete Media Pours Effort Into Custom Publishing Division

Concrete Media, New York, online publisher of youth culture sites Bolt and the GirlsOn Network, has created a custom publishing division to design and create third-party Web sites.
Concrete is designing Bertelsmann Online’s forthcoming book site Bertelsmann Online, or BOL, in addition to designing sites for alternative weekly The Village Voice and toy maker Toymax.
“We’re selling a consultancy that understands relationships with consumers,” said Dan Pelson, president and CEO of Concrete Media. “It’s important for us not to be seen as an online ad agency. It’s more relationship marketing through community environments on the Internet.”
Pelson said the company has successfully built communities where consumers are likely to do transactions online.
GirlsOn sells videos through a partnership with Bolt will launch an electronic commerce store in two weeks to sell branded apparel and accessories and other products such as snowboards. Bolt and GirlsOn both sell CDs and books through affiliate relationships with CDnow and
Toymax will be the first of Concrete’s custom publishing sites to launch. When it goes live this week, it will feature online gaming and e-commerce to sell Toymax’s laser shooting game Laser Challenge.
Concrete began working with Bertelsmann five months ago to build the massive BOL site. That site is expected to launch in six countries, including the U.K., France, Germany and the U.S. by the end of the year. Concrete is working with Pixelpark USA, in which Bertelsmann AG has a majority investment, on developing the site. OgilvyOne, New York, is working on the media budget.
The Village Voice site is being redesigned to better leverage additional revenue streams such as classifieds.
Pelson anticipates Concrete’s custom publishing division “will be a multi-million-dollar operation very quickly.” The contracts with third-party publishers are annual retainers for the most part. Concrete is privately held and Pelson would only say “cash flow is positive on an operational basis.”