Glam Media snaps up BBS Media

The online vertical publisher is expanding its Canadian operations by establishing Glam Media Canada, with a new in the works.

Glam Media, the 800-pound gorilla of the female-focused online ad market, is stomping into the Canadian market by buying Toronto shop BBS Media.

The acquisition will create Glam Media Canada, a dedicated website (not yet live) and bring Glam Media’s ad-serving platform GlamAdapt into Canada.

Terms of the game-changing deal were not disclosed, but Glam is expected to pump big dollars into its new Glam Canada operation to create premium Canadian online content and brand ad sales across targeted content verticals like fashion, beauty, entertainment and health and wellness.

‘The combination will be very powerful,’ Christine McNicholas, SVP of Glam Media and its Canada country manager, told MiC.

Glam Media has managed to exploit the internet’s audience fragmentation by combining country-focused websites, including the planned property, with its own global network of around 2,000 lifestyle websites and blogs and syndicated content from leading media publishers.

Currently, Glam Canada’s web presence is Canadian in advertising only. The website features international editorial content.

To create, Glam Canada will hire local writers, editors and publishers to create Canadian content ahead of a planned summer 2011 launch. Glam Media will also contribute over one million articles, posts and videos from its existing library that Canadian writers and editors will be able to use.

Expanding its operations in Canada makes sense, McNicholas says, because of this country’s high online engagement.

‘We’re adding value to the online female consumer market in Canada because female consumers are online more than in other countries,’ she says of Canada’s highly wired market.

Glam Media has partnered for four years with BBS Media, which was created in 2002 as a print advertising rep firm before merging with the digital advertising rep firm B-Scene Media in 2007.

BBS Media employees are remaining on to run sales and publisher operations in Canada for the new US parent, with company co-founders Mark Boxer and Brian Fields staying on as vice presidents.

McNicholas said her company has taken its time to enter the Canadian market properly, ‘with proper respect for the specific needs of the female in Canada, and the advertisers that target them.’

Brian Fields argues the takeover will bring Glam Canada more local and global ad dollars by securing a greater share of brand budgets.

‘Combining our intimate approach to building the next generation of brand advertising online with Glam Media’s focus on premium content from journalists, authors and publishers, along with Glam’s considerable resources and technology, will usher in the next generation of brand engagement digital advertising solutions in Canada,’ he said.

Glam is looking to exploit a Canadian online display advertising market that stood at around $650 million in total revenue in 2010, and which continues to grow year-on-year, according to IAB Canada.

BBS Canada already represents a range of publishers in the Canadian market, including Harper’s Bazaar, YummyMummyClub, Washington Post Digital, Forbes,, Big Lead Sports and HavenHome Media, enabling the brands to reach targeted audiences.

Glam Canada will now use the GlamAdapt ad-serving platform, which already enables around 2,000 publishers worldwide to deliver ads at scale to online audiences globally, now including Canada.

‘Glam Canada’s model of providing a platform for brands to directly engage with highly social audiences is exactly what advertising brands need,’ Jeff Thibodeau, vice president and director of digital for MediaCom Interaction, insisted.

Glam Media’s McNicholas added Canadian publishers will be able to leverage global brands her company already has relationships with, including L’Oreal, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Gap.

Additionally, Canadian brands will be able to use Glam Media’s global network to reach consumers outside of Canada, including in the US, French, German, Japanese and British markets.