NBC Universal grabbing at women, buys Oxygen Media for $925M

oxygen.jpgNBC Universal said it will pay $925 million to acquire Oxygen Media, the female-focused cable network co-founded by Oprah Winfrey, continuing NBC’s aggressive effort to own the female demographic.

NBC already owns iVillage, one of the largest women-oriented content and advertising sites online, which NBC bought last year for $600 million. The female online demographic online has become one of the more sexy lately, boasting high growth rates. As viewers move online, Oxygen should stand to benefit from the relationship with iVillage. Oxygen estimates its prime-time viewership has risen 19 percent among its target demographic and 7 percent among all households.

NBC is also a backer of Sugar, a female-oriented content site, which yesterday said it acquired a fashion blog network Coutortore.

NBC, in turn, is 80 percent owned by General Electric and 20 percent owned by Vivendi.

Oxygen, it should be remembered, originally launched as a website and failed. It successfully survived the downturn by focusing on TV/Cable — after burning through eye-popping $400 million in financing from America Online, Europ@web, LVMH Moet Hennessey Louis Vuitton and Vulcan Ventures.

IVillage, meanwhile, has been overtaken by fast-moving Glam Media for ownership on the women online, according to comScore Media Metrix. Glam is considered primarily an advertising network, but that Silicon Valley company is raising up to $200 million in cash in order to boost its offerings, including content.

NBC said it expects to realize revenue and cost savings of about $35 million next year from the acquisition.