Walt Disney Internet’s Family.com Lands Pillsbury Sponsorship Deal

Walt Disney Internet Group will bolster revenue coming into one of its lesser-known properties, Family.com, with an exclusive advertiser agreement with Pillsbury.

As part of Monday’s deal, the consumer packaged food giant will serve as the exclusive advertiser on the home page of Family.com’s recipe section. In addition, there will be links from Family.com’s recipe pages to Pillsbury’s mealtimeideas.com, as well as Pillsbury’s other branded pages and Web sites.

In return, Family.com’s URL will be placed on Pillsbury’s breakfast product packaging, as well as on Pillsbury’s national newspapers’ Sunday inserts.

Users will be able to find recipes, daily cooking tips, a message board and a bi-weekly e-mail newsletter from Pillsbury on Family.com. Users also will be able to pose questions and receive answers from Pillsbury’s test kitchen experts via Family.com.

“Our goal is to help busy families make the most of their free time. Giving Family.com visitors access to Pillsbury’s recipes and online content is a win-win for our consumers, as well as both companies,” said Family.com vice president and general manager Beth Collins.

The deal marks a tentative step into online marketing by one of the best-known consumer grocery companies. Minneapolis-based Pillsbury is the packaged food division of Diageo, one of the world’s leading consumer brand companies with international sales of $19 billion.

“Pillsbury is a natural fit with Family.com, the premier parenting site on the Internet,” said Pillsbury relationship marketing director Mary Ellen Griffin. “Their target audience mirrors our own, parents who want to have fun with their families, raise great kids, and make their lives as easy and healthy as possible.”

The deal also likely represents some needed cash — the companies didn’t disclose how much — in the coffers of Disney Internet Group.

Family.com is part of North Hollywood-based Walt Disney Internet Group’s Go.com network, which also includes ABC.com, ESPN.com, NBA.com, and other sites. Overall, the network ranks sixth, according to Jupiter Media Metrix rankings.

But like many content-heavy plays — WDIG also handles Disney’s direct marketing business — the company’s market cap is suffering because of skittish investors.

At $5.31, shares of DIG are trading just above its 52-week low of $4.06, shortly after posting a per-share loss of $1.61 in its most recent quarter (net loss of $249.4 million), on revenues of $82.4 million. The company also has about $4.52 million left in cash, according to regulatory filings submitted last month. However, this was before it sold InfoSeek Japan — which it purchased only a year ago — for $81 million.

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