Michelle Obama is about to add “guest editor” to her list of many accomplishments. Starting August 20, Obama will be iVillage’s first ever guest editor. As part of the deal, she will contribute some and oversee all iVillage content around a theme titled “Rev Up Your Back-to-School Routine.” The First Lady will also take part in a video interview series with iVillage’s chief correspondent, Kelly Wallace.
“We are honored that Mrs. Obama chose to be our first guest editor as we launch our exciting, new program,” said Jodi Kahn, president of iVillage. “This role provides a fresh avenue to talk with American women who, like her, are juggling a multitude of responsibilities.”
This will be interesting to watch, even if Obama simply puts out a bunch of fluff pieces. We bet when Barack heard she was doing this, he thought of calling up Sports Illustrated to grab a similar role. We’d support that, too.
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James Kreckler has been named vice president of advertising sales for iVillage, effective immediately. He reports both to Scott Schiller, executive vice president of NBCUniversal’s digital advertising sales, and Jodi Kahn, president, iVillage.
Most recently, Kreckler was vice president of digital ad sales at Rodale, where he handled strategic business development and overall management of advertising sales for digital brands for the past five years.
At iVillage, Kreckler will be charged with driving revenue for the business, creating effective marketing solutions for advertising partners across platforms, including web, mobile and social media.
“As one of the largest digital communities for women, iVillage has created an unmatched listening platform that keeps us connected to what women are talking about 24/7,” said Kahn. “James brings to iVillage an incredible track record of success, and will seamlessly connect brands with this highly engaged audience.”
TIME Inc. veteran Jodi Kahn has been promoted to the newly created position of President of iVillage, the New York-based NBC Universal site devoted to women. In the new position, Kahn will continue to oversee iVillage UK, Astrology.com, GardenWeb, Lifegoesstrong.com, Petside.com and DinnerTool.com.
“Jodi has done an outstanding job relaunching iVillage and steering the network to dramatic year-over-year growth,” said Nicholas Lehman, President of Digital for NBCU Entertainment & Digital Networks.
Kahn joined iVillage in the fall of 2008 from Readers Digest Association (RDA), Inc. where she was President of Global Digital Media. Prior to that, Kahn spent 16 years at TIME Inc., where she ran Time for Kids and was a vice president at Time Interactive.
Video: Chef, restaurateur and iVillage Food contributor Donatella Arpaia prepares her quick Sunday ragu at the launch party for iVillage.com/food
Last night at the Culinary Loft in SoHo, iVillage celebrated the launch of its newly revamped food destination, iVillage.com/food, with basil-limoncello cocktails, Web site demos, and a veritable Italian feast prepared by New York restaurant fixture and iVillage contributor Donatella Arpaia.
On the heels of September’s entertainment site relaunch, which Lauren Zalaznick, president of NBC Universal‘s Women and Lifestyle Entertainment Networks, says spurred a spike in page views, membership, and message board activity, iVillage hopes to recreate that success with its latest makeover in the Food category.
“Almost three-fourths of all women who are on the Web rely on the Internet for meal planning and healthy eating,” said Zalaznick. “If we fill that gap… that’s how iVillage is going to win.”
Christina Bender, director of product development for iVillage, acknowledged, “We know competition’s stiff,” citing FoodNetwork.com, Delish.com, and MarthaStewartLiving.com as rivals. Bender said the new site’s secret weapon will be to “uncover what women are already saying” in the vibrant iVillage community of 20 million unique monthly visitors, bolstered by their unique access to NBC Universal’s “premier content,” which includes Bravo‘s explosively popular “Top Chef” brand.
“This is a community-centric site, not a user-generated site,” Zalaznick said. It’s “a big, rollicking portal that behaves like a series of niches.”
“You have to be able to adapt and keep up with the way women use media,” said chief content officer Angela Matusik, who says the revamp is meant to “modernize the message board” with new tools and ways to contribute to the conversation. Next up to go under the knife? The Astrology channel, followed by Health, Beauty and Family. And stay tuned, Matusik added, for a new iVillage social media community platform set to launch sometime in 2010.
Read on for a breakdown of the site’s features and fabulous food photos: