MEDIA: Boots and Granada set for joint media venture

The Boots Company and Granada Media are to appoint a marketing director for their joint venture health and beauty internet and broadband company, announced last week.

The Boots Company and Granada Media are to appoint a marketing director for their joint venture health and beauty internet and broadband company, announced last week.

The venture, to launch next February, will initially consist of an interactive television channel and a web site, but access will also be extended to mobile and palm-top devices as the technology develops.

It aims to provide information and advice on health, beauty and well-being issues, as well as selling more than 10,000 products.

Owned 60:40 by Boots, the venture will operate under a new brand name that will be revealed closer to the launch. It will be run by joint managing directors Richard Holmes and Paula Carter.

Holmes, a former Boots marketing chief, said the company will name the marketing director, who will also be responsible for content, at a later date.

Boots and Granada will invest pounds 18m in the business in its first 12 months, with a view to break even by 2005.

Promotion will take place primarily through Boots' retail network and customer communications, including its Boots Health & Beauty magazine, which has a circulation of two million.

The magazine's content will be used for cross promotion - for example, if it runs a feature on childhood asthma, the web site may host an online debate. Granada's channels and its Box Clever stores will also be used to promote the business.

Steve Morrison, chief executive of Granada Media, said: 'Health, beauty and well being are fundamental human interests - there is nothing more important than health.'

Boots' current online presence, boots.co.uk, will be absorbed into the new service, transferring the range of products sold there to the new operation. Handbag.com, Boots' venture with Hollinger Telegraph New Media, will remain a separate entity, although Boots said the two businesses will work closely together.

Steve Russell, chief executive of Boots, said: 'This innovative company will be Boots' primary initiative in consumer e-commerce. It is a further example of how we can create value by capitalising on the enormous power of the Boots brand.'



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