Rogers closing 8 websites including SweetSpot and Branchez-Vous

Rogers Media has announced the closure of eight websites under three of its major online banners. Set to close are Branchez-Vous.com along with its affiliated sites Ciné-Horaire.com, LeCinema.ca, Matin.qc.ca and Showbizz.net, as well as CanadianParents.com, SweetSpot.ca and SweetSpotQC.ca. Jason Tafler, chief digital officer for Rogers Media, announced the closures in an e-mail to Rogers employees Wednesday […]

Rogers Media has announced the closure of eight websites under three of its major online banners.

Set to close are Branchez-Vous.com along with its affiliated sites Ciné-Horaire.com, LeCinema.ca, Matin.qc.ca and Showbizz.net, as well as CanadianParents.com, SweetSpot.ca and SweetSpotQC.ca.

Jason Tafler, chief digital officer for Rogers Media, announced the closures in an e-mail to Rogers employees Wednesday afternoon.

“Decisions like this are never easy,” Tafler wrote. “Leading companies in any industry must take calculated risks and learn from their experiences in the marketplace.

“We acquired these websites over the past several years, and despite solid user and advertiser engagement, we are making the strategic decision to focus our resources on multiplatform integration and growth opportunities for our premium brands.”

Tafler was not available for further comment at press time.

These brands had been perceived as tent pole properties in Rogers’ digital network. Branchez-Vous.com (a news and technology site for French-speaking Quebecers) and its entertainment offshoots were part of the $25-million acquisition of BV Media in 2010.

According to materials provided to advertisers, Branchez-Vous averaged 435,000 unique visitors and 3.6 million pageviews per month.

The SweetSpot sites, national female-focused trend and lifestyle properties in which Rogers initially invested in 2006, were recording 145,000 unique visitors and 1.2 million pageviews per month, according to Rogers.

Rogers has recently made known its intention to focus on four key audiences in the coming years – sports fans, news consumers, entertainment fans and women. While it still owns large-scale, female-focused properties such as Chatelaine.com, Flare.com and the recently acquired HealthAndLifestyle.ca, the SweetSpot closures raises questions about what Rogers’ women’s media mix will look like going forward.

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