Redmond, Washington -- Software monopolist Microsoft's MSN, which has unleashed a series of very successful sites with major magazine publishers over the last two years, is now joining hands with health and fitness publisher Rodale to launch a new interactive, multimedia online channel, Fitbie, devoted to fitness, nutrition and weight loss.
Fitbie, the newest addition to MSN's Lifestyle assortment of Web sites, features a series of articles and videos on working out, healthy eating, and weight loss; and according to partners MSN and Rodale, the interactive multimedia Website will empower people to look, feel, and live better by helping users make better diet and fitness programs that users can sign up for.
Here is the front page of the new site:
Click to enlarge...
The new vertical content site includes original reporting and also draws on content from Rodale publications, including Men's Health, Women's Health, Prevention, Runner's World and Bicycling, among others. With subpages on how to get fit, lose weight and eat right, as well as personalized plan and goal setting, Fitbie is clearly trying to be to personal health what Mint.com is to personal finance.
Steve Madden, the VP of digital product development at Rodale, explained in a statement that Fitbie will stand out because it covers topics such as “what you eat” and “what you burn.” He compared that with competitors like Weight Watchers and Everyday Health-owned Jillian Michaels, which mainly focus on one of the two.
Weight loss is one of the principal areas of Fitbie, with homepage features on “Amazing Weight Loss Success Stories” and “The Smartest Weight Loss Tricks Ever,” in addition to content wells titled “Get Fit” and “Lose Weight” and “Choose a Plan.” Although the site appears to primarily target women, there is a fair amount of content drawn from Men's Health on muscle-building and toning.
Major content is accumulated from numerous Rodale publications, including Women's Health, Prevention, Runner's World, Bicycling, and Men's Health. A selection of articles on launch day covers such topics as the best marathons for beginners, nine reasons to get off the treadmill, 30-second weight loss tricks, and a handful of weight loss success stories. Besides, some of the content will be “reformatted” from Rodale's other brands but about half will be produced specifically for the site by a small editorial team. The company will now provide all of the editorial content on Fitbie.
"Working with MSN to launch Fitbie is a perfect fit for Rodale," says Madden, in Microsoft's news release. “Our mission is to improve personal health, and teaming up with a digital pioneer as respected as MSN to introduce this new property puts us squarely at the forefront of the digital health revolution.”
The partners touted ad opportunities, including prominent ad placements alongside engaging multimedia content experiences. MSN will primarily handle ad sales, although it is worth noting that the site is also heavy with promotions for Rodale's many products, including its books, magazines, and online fitness programs. Links to Fitbie will appear on the MSN homepage, as well as across the MSN portfolio of editorial sites.
Fitbie joins several other lifestyle channels created by MSN using content from major magazine publishers. Last year, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. joined hands with MSN and BermanBraun to launch Glo.msn.com, a new multifaceted lifestyle site targeting women ages 25-49 drawing on the programming and content expertise of Hachette publications Elle, Elle Decor and Woman's Day.
Besides, what areas MSN will double-down on through alliance next, Scott Moore, the partner regional executive producer at MSN, would disclose. In 2008, MSN launched food site Delish.com with Hearst; other lifestyle content sites include celebrity news and gossip site Wonderwall and video game channel Game On. The newly associated Fitbie also features free two-week meal and fitness trial programs, including physical assessment and advice from diet and fitness experts.
The launch comes as MSN has recognized “lifestyle” as one of five major verticals it is emphasizing as part of the relaunch of its homepage, which it rolled out in March.