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Seventeen months into the deal, New York Times reporter Brooks Barnes assesses NBCU’s purchase of iVillage: “the snags that can arise when trying to bolt a new media operation onto an old one.” Content partners departed, a daily live show flopped, and even branded segments on the nation’s #1 morning program, Barnes writes, “did not spike traffic to the Web site as expected.”
“You assume in the beginning that a mention on the Today show will drive tremendous traffic, but it’s not that easy,” says Beth Comstock, president of NBCU Integrated Media.
But Barnes writes, a turnaround is in the works on-air and to the bottom line. “Analysts estimate [iVillage] will generate over $120 million in 2007, a 26% increase from last year.” As for uniting iVillage and the Today show, says NBC News SVP Phil Griffin: “We’re trying not to do just female stories that are sweet and nice…” and “we try to direct viewers to the site by telling them what specific three related stories they can find if they go there.” Also, Today co-anchor Meredith Vieira is now blogging on iVillage.