NBC Taps Victoria's Secret Exec To Lead iVillage

As NBC Universal seeks to integrate female-oriented Web acquisition iVillage into its operations, the media company has tapped an executive with considerable female-targeted marketing experience to head the iVillage family. Deborah Fine is the new president, iVillage Properties, where she'll oversee the flagship iVillage.com and other products in the areas of health, parenting and astrology, plus teen-targeted Gurl.com.

Fine joins the well-trafficked iVillage from Victoria's Secret Pink, where she served as CEO. Prior to that she launched and served as president of the Avon Future unit.

The news release announcing Fine's hire touted her use of Web strategies to build both the Victoria's Secret and Avon businesses.

At iVillage, she replaces Douglas W. McCormick, a former Lifetime executive who was Chairman and CEO. His departure was apparently a result of Beth Comstock, NBCU's President of Digital Media and Market Development, looking to install her own leadership team at the iVillage properties.



Since iVillage officially joined the NBCU family in May, the media powerhouse has moved aggressively to demonstrate its potential synergies within the company; at the core of the plan is to capitalize on, and create links between, the female audience on iVillage and the NBC shows with a large female viewership, ranging from "Today" to daytime talk shows to "The Biggest Loser" in prime time.

Fine said that her first priority was to identify how iVillage content and NBC programming could be combined. "Job One is to understand the assets available to NBCU and iVillage and to leverage those assets," she said.

She added that iVillage and NBC already had some natural overlaps that could be profitably meshed. "This is a situation where one plus one can equal six."

On the "Today" show, NBC and iVillage are partnering to offer 180-degree fashion/beauty makeovers on the broadcast. Simultaneously, iVillage offers a "Makeover Central" destination for beauty and fashion tips.

And this December, iVillage gets its own television show, "iVillage Live," airing on the NBC owned and operated local stations nationwide, and streamed live on iVillage.com. Filmed at NBCU's Universal Studios Orlando, the daily one-hour show will focus on advice and info that women seek in the areas of parenting, pregnancy, health, and beauty. The iVillage and NBC.com sites also link to each other.

Fine will report to Comstock, who spearheaded the $600 million iVillage purchase last spring in a high-profile bid by NBCU to make a splash in the digital space, perhaps in the vein of News Corp.'s successful purchase of MySpace. NBCU has said it expects the acquisition to propel revenue growth for its digital operations to some $200 million this year and spur a 20 percent growth rate in the years ahead.

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