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Time magazine partners with BlackPlanet.com

The magazine inks a deal with BlackPlanet.com to provide stories targeted at U.S. ethnic audiences throughout Black History Month.

    Time magazine has inked a deal with BlackPlanet.com to provide stories targeted at U.S. ethnic audiences throughout Black History Month.

    Under the deal, which will be announced Monday, BlackPlanet users will have the opportunity to view an archive of stories that have appeared during the more than half century of Time's existence. Most of the stories, which are being licensed by Time to BlackPlanet, will feature profiles written on African-American leaders, such as Marian Anderson and Henry Louis Gates Jr.

    The announcement comes shortly after AOL Time Warner's historic merger and its blizzard of marketing campaigns. The deal also represents Time's latest effort not only to expand its subscriber base to untapped markets, but also to broaden the magazine's multicultural initiatives.

    "Our online strategy is to partner with very selective targeted Web sites to help us establish a strong brand presence among African-Americans and (other ethnic) audiences," said Melvin Young, marketing director for Time magazine consumer marketing, multicultural markets.

    Young said that Time will also expand its content by creating a mini Web site that will be co-branded on BlackPlanet's site in June. The site will include features such as links to Time.com, historical coverage on African-Americans and minorities, as well as chats and polls.

    BlackPlanet will also work with Time to offer its members trial subscriptions to the news weekly. The company will also utilize its member points loyalty program, where members accumulate points for interacting on the site and participate in special promotions. Members are able to trade in points for various BlackPlanet branded merchandise, such as CDs and clothing.

    The initiative is the latest sign that Web sites are attempting to gain a wider audience. Media and entertainment company BET Holdings unveiled its Web portal last year in an effort to attract the expanding population of African Americans online.

    "The African-American like the Hispanic community is underrepresented," said Jarvis Mak, an analyst at Nielsen/NetRatings.

    Mak said that according to latest census numbers, the African-American community makes up 12.8 percent of the total population, whereas on the Internet the number fluctuates between 7 percent and 8.5 percent.

    The figures say "it leaves room for further expansion in this particular market," Mak said.