Digital Talk: Katie May sells Kidspot to Murdoch
In a move that's bound to set a precedent, and an incentive, for independent digital media properties across Australia, Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation is in the process of acquiring web entrepreneur Katie May's online parenting portal Kidspot for a reported $45 million.
"This deal makes us the leading player in the highly valuable online parenting market and, by combining Kidspot with the most dominant food vertical, Taste.com.au, and the most aspirational fashion vertical, Vogue.com.au, we now have an unrivalled presence in the online market for Australian women," said News Limited chairman and chief executive John Hartigan.
The purchase of the six-year-old digital business and its affiliated sites and entities follows the $315m buy-out of Arianna Huffington's The Huffington Post by AOL earlier this year, the merger of Tina Brown's The Daily Beast with Newsweek and Fairfax Media's purchase of FindABabySitter.com.au in 2009. To that end, the buy-out represents a coming-of-age for the formerly specialist company, which will be able to achieve more with New Corp's backing.
"We were a specialist company, but continued to live our lives and enjoyed our success under the radar," May told Smart Company. "But over the last 12 to 18 months, we grew and built partnerships with some of the better brands in Australia and we've caught the attention of competitors. It's a much tougher race now – far more aggressive against us – and from a board perspective we thought having muscle behind us would be a good thing."
Priding itself on its highly engaged female communities, May's Kidspot portfolio includes Kidspot.com.au, birth.com.au, kidspot.co.nz, The Spot, SheSpot, Research Studies, Mums Say, Baby Market and Kids Market. SheSpot, which currently reaches 2.5 million Australian women each month, represents EasyWeddings.com.au, Mamamia.com.au and WeightWatchers.com.au.
Kidspot accounts for 10% of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) advertising in Australia, while the site's Facebook page has 31,000 fans. "Combining journalistic engagement with an award winning directory, community and unique social experiences proved the right combination and sealed Kidspot’s longstanding leadership position," said Hartigan. "By delivering exactly what advertisers want – an engaged, loyal and targeted audience - the Kidspot team have built a profitable, rapidly growing, digital business."
May, who before founding Kidspot in 2005 was marketing director of seek.com.au, will now report to News Magazines chief executive Sandra Hook who is also responsible for the Taste, Vogue, Body+Soul and Donna Hay brands.
Are we underestimating the significance of women in Australian media? It seems so.
Source: News Limited
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