Hearst, MSN Venture to Challenge Epicurious

The field of food Websites — blogs, review sites, forums — is already a densely crowded ecosystem. This fall, we’ll all have to make room for another behemoth: Delish.com, a joint venture between Hearst Digital and Microsoft. Look for all the food content from the Hearst Empire — including Good Housekeeping, Esquire, O, the Oprah Magazine, and Redbook — to be distributed by Microsoft via MSN. Hearst is late to the online food game, as rival Condé Nast launched its food site, Epicurious, back in the Internet Stone Age of 1995. Will Epicurious's long history and deep database reign on, or will Delish's wider distribution network and bigger content pool draw more readers? Like you, little ole Grub Street will be watching.

Read the entire release below.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

HEARST MAGAZINES AND MSN PARTNER TO LAUNCH NEW FOOD SITE IN FALL 2008

-- Anticipated traffic on Delish.com would immediately rank the site as one of the top 10 food destinations online --

New York and Redmond, WA – July 8, 2008 – Hearst Magazines and MSN today have partnered to develop and launch a new food-related Web destination named Delish.com, also available at delish.msn.com. The new site, which will launch in fall 2008 and will exist as its own brand, will be owned, built and edited by Hearst Magazines Digital Media and distributed by MSN. The terms of the deal puts Hearst Magazines Digital Media in charge of the design, development and editorial vision of the site, while MSN will be responsible for advertising sales and primary distribution of the site’s content through the MSN network. MSN and Hearst anticipate that Delish.com’s traffic numbers will immediately place the site into the top 10 food-related destinations online.

Delish.com will be accessible through the MSN home page and in editorial programming across its network, including on the MSN Lifestyle Channel and other relevant channels. In addition, all of the advertising inventory for Delish.com will be sold by the MSN sales team, which will also sell targeted inventory in the food category on Countryliving.com, Goodhousekeeping.com, Quickandsimple.com and Redbookmag.com.

“Our Digital Media unit has been working with MSN for several years and both teams see this as an opportunity to add further depth to what has proven to be a very successful relationship,” said John Loughlin, executive vice president and general manager, Hearst Magazines. “This is an exciting announcement for Hearst and MSN as it will provide original online content that leverages our magazine brands’ strength in food and entertaining, and it significantly expands our online presence. Our content, coupled with the enormous reach of MSN’s audience, is a very powerful combination.”

“It is estimated that there are currently 60 million unique visitors to food-related Web sites,” said Jeff Dossett, executive producer and general manager, MSN. “With a dedicated sales staff on the MSN side and Hearst’s notable expertise in both Web site and content development, we are confident that Delish.msn.com will be a leader in this growing category.”

Chuck Cordray, vice president and general manager of Hearst Magazines Digital Media, added, “We are excited about Delish.com and its ability to offer consumers a new take on the food category. It is a great opportunity to showcase daily, original features and our magazines’ winning content on food and entertaining, all presented within a sophisticated online platform and disseminated using the ubiquitous presence of MSN.”

Delish.com is about more than just recipes. In addition to thousands of recipes, site visitors will experience the lifestyle elements associated with food through articles, photo galleries, video and interactive tools. The site will also combine recipes and how-to’s with engaging content that focuses on entertainment and pop culture as it relates to food.

About Hearst Magazines Digital Media
Launched in March 2006, Hearst Magazines Digital Media, a unit of Hearst Magazines, is dedicated to creating and implementing the digital online and mobile strategy for Hearst’s magazine brands and other sites, which serve the company’s consumer audience. The unit has launched, re-launched or acquired 23 Web sites and nine mobile sites for brands such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire and Seventeen, as well as non-magazine brand sites such as TheDailyGreen.com and MisQuinceMag.com. During this time, Hearst Digital has acquired the eCrush Network, Kaboodle.com, RealAge.com and Answerology.com to round out its growing portfolio of interests for teens and women. Hearst’s Teen Network of sites ranks in the top 10 trafficked entertainment sites on the Web, according to Comscore.

About MSN and Windows Live
Overall, MSN, Windows Live and Microsoft.com attract more than 550 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 42 markets and 21 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering web services to consumers and online advertising opportunities to businesses worldwide. Most recently, MSN partnered with Control Room to stream Live Earth, the largest online entertainment event in history, with over 62 million streams worldwide.

Windows Live, a comprehensive set of personal Internet services and software, is designed to bring together in one place all the relationships, information and interests people care about most, with enhanced safety and security features across their PC, devices and the web. MSN and Windows Live will be offered alongside each other as complementary services. Windows Live services and future beta updates can be found at http://ideas.live.com. Windows Live is available at http://www.live.com. MSN is located on the web at http://www.msn.com.

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