Ant Farm’s media and advertising business Fork Media has announced a five year partnership with publisher Ziff Davis, wherein Fork will run publications AskMen (mens lifestyle site) and IGN (games, movies and entertainment site) in India. These publications were previously being run by Times Internet’s Times Global, and as per a deal which was inked three years ago. Samar Verma, CEO of Fork Media, told MediaNama that the brand names (and domain names for AskMen India and IGN India have always been owned by Ziff Davis. The model is similar to the deal that they had with Times Internet: Fork will continue to run the two domain names in India.
What this also tells us is that if Times Internet has similar deals with other publishers under Times Global, then others could come and wrest partners away as well.
Fork Media will run the publications and the business starting December 1st 2016, running IGN India and AskMen India. Avinash Bali, who had been appointed Editor of IGN India when Times Internet launched it, is now joining Fork Media as publisher of both IGN India and AskMen India. Zahra Khan will be AskMen India’s Editor-in-Chief.
Note that there has been a recent change at Times Global, with Puneet Singhvi leaving, and Rishi Jaitly joining. Times Internet still has one Ziff Davis publication, PC Mag, and also has its own mens lifestyle publication MensXP, which it acquired in 2012.
Fork Media will focus on native advertising content for IGN, AskMen
Fork Media began as a native advertising business, running both native advertising platforms, and doing native ad sales. Samar Verma, CEO of Fork Media told MediaNama that the company is looking to diversify its portfolio: “Over the last six months, we’ve focused on building out our own content in the niche content space. We either build, license or acquire. IGN and AskMen are being licensed. We see these as influencer platforms, extended distribution channels. It’s an extension of our native advertising platform. We announced thehauterfly.com, which is built by us, and is focused on marrying commerce with content. It’s a curated store, led by content, and we’ve had advertisers like L’Oreal and Pantene. We’re announcing two more content verticals, which will be incubated by us, and are looking at more licensing opportunities.”
In terms of monetization of the IGN and AskMen platforms, Fork Media is looking at “only native: content marketing for short-form and longform content. They’re market leaders in the space that they’re operating in. IGN is a leading platform when it comes to consumer tech, and consumer durable brands will be able to tie-up from a long term perspective. We won’t be aggressive with conventional display advertising, and with build channels with communities and conversations through content.”
The other area of focus for Fork is technology. Says Verma: “We’d announced the acquisition of Inuxu, which was a platform and technology acquisition, and we’re steering the ad-tech business in a direction which is publisher agnostic.”
Fork, which was launched by two Times Internet execs Upen Rai and Samar Verma, and backed by AntFarm, the incubation venture from former Times Internet CEO Rishi Khiani, is based out of Mumbai, with offices in Delhi and Bengaluru. It also has operations in Dubai, and says it will launch soon in Southeast Asia, with headquarters in Singapore.
Corrigendum: a previous version of this article incorrectly mentioned thehauterfly.com as hauterfly.com. Our apologies