|HEARST MAGAZINES ANNOUNCES ACQUISITION OF eCRUSH.COM, INC.|
NEW YORK, January 8, 2007 — Hearst Magazines Digital Media, the online unit of Hearst Magazines, has acquired eCRUSH.com, Inc., a top entertainment/community network for teens and young adults. The announcement was made today by Cathleen P. Black, president of Hearst Magazines.
Under the terms of the agreement, Hearst has purchased a number of youth-oriented online destinations operated by eCRUSH.com, Inc., including the following:
eCRUSH® is the original "crush" site –- a way for users to find out anonymously if someone they like feels the same about them, with no chance of rejection. The site launched on Valentine's Day 1999, and since then has matched over 900,000 people, with over 2,400,000 users registered to date.
eSPIN® is a profile-based site that offers the old junior-high game with a modern twist. Designed with safety in mind (all youth submissions are screened to remove any personally identifiable information and inappropriate content before they can be posted), this is the premier way for gen-Y to connect, flirt and make new friends online. Launched in 2001, eSPIN-the-Bottle™ has over 1,000,000 currently active users and is growing rapidly.
HighSchoolStyleBoard is a photo-rating site with a few new twists. Users can post photos in numerous categories, such as "Best Hair" and "Preppiest." Multiple votes per page and an extensive "Top 500" list in each category keeps users returning to this site.
In announcing the purchase, Chuck Cordray, vice president and general manager of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, said, “As social networking and interactivity online become an integral part of teenagers’ lives, we want to be everywhere they turn. The addition of the eCRUSH Network enables Hearst to broaden our presence in the online arena for teens and become a true destination for everything from fashion and beauty to advice and community."
“We are thrilled to become a part of Hearst’s incredible network of teen brands and believe that it’s the perfect fit for the eCRUSH audience, as well as for our advertisers,” said Amy Gibby, president, eCRUSH.com.
“Hearst recognizes the enormous growth potential of the eCRUSH Network and we are looking forward to working with them to move our business to the next level,” said Clark Benson, eCRUSH.com founder.
In a further effort to reach the teen market online, later this month Hearst will debut MyPromShopper.com, a comprehensive prom-planning destination that combines the editorial expertise of CosmoGIRL!, Seventeen and Teen with original tools and features that allow girls to search 1,500 dresses in a gown finder, as well as create prom notebooks and polls, which they can publish on third-party social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.
In February, Hearst will unveil new Web sites for its three teen magazines –CosmoGIRL.com, Seventeen.com, and Teenmag.com – which will feature interactive content, photos, video, podcasts, and an overall design unique to each magazine property. These will be among the first magazine Web sites Hearst will launch this year, followed by others in the coming months as the company rolls out its digital strategy.
Hearst’s expansion in the teen Internet space will enable marketers to advertise on any of the Hearst-owned teen sites and the opportunity to buy packages across the network, getting their message to millions of young adults.
Since its launch in 1999, eCRUSH has pioneered ways of reaching and connecting with teens, from viral marketing to peer-to-peer socializing, and always in an advertiser-friendly, PG-13 environment. eCRUSH has also forged innovative methods of engaging teens with brands. Since 2004, revenues have nearly tripled while continuing to maintain strong profit margins, with 2006 EBITDA of $1.4 Million. More than one million unique visitors hit the eCRUSH Network sites each month and 90% are 13-19 years old.
Hearst Magazines Digital Media is the online unit of Hearst Magazines, one of the world’s largest publishers of monthly magazines, with a total of 19 U.S. titles and nearly 200 international editions. Hearst Magazines, a unit of The Hearst Corporation (www.hearst.com) reaches more adults in the U.S. than any other publisher of monthly magazines (73.4 million according to MRI, fall 2006). The company also publishes 19 magazines in the United Kingdom through its wholly owned subsidiary, The National Magazine Company Limited.