Ad network acquires NileGuide in content and media play

UPDATE: Travora’s acquisition of Nile Media was an all-stock deal and in addition Travora raised $2.25 million from Nile Media investors, Travora confirms.

That brings Travora’s funding to date at more than $33 million.

The original story follows:

Travora, formerly known as Travel Ad Network, acquired travel planning site NileGuide and its sister sites as part of a wider business-to-consumer and business-to-business travel-media strategy.

Terms of the acquisition of The Nile Project (Nile Media), including NileGuide, 10Best and Localyte, were not disclosed.

NileGuide, as the company is more commonly known, was founded in 2006 and had raised some $13 million in funding from investors Draper Richards, KPG Ventures, Austin Ventures and Tenaya Capital.

Although details of the dollars or stock changing hands were not provided, officials provided some hints about the transaction, noting that NileGuide’s investors will provide ongoing support of the combined businesses as investors and strategic advisors.

So why would an ad network want to buy a travel content company?

Nan Forte, who was brought in as Travora CEO from WebMd Health Corp. in September to redirect the travel advertising network’s strategy, says successful media companies these days “are rooted in a combination of exclusive representation, packaged reach to extension partners, owned and operated properties and flagship brands with differentiated characteristics.”

Forte adds: “In order to offer this to the marketplace with authenticity, we cannot be solely reliant on publishers that have their own product pipelines and timelines. We need to be able to demonstrate best practices and to make them available to our publishers while moving audience segments towards the types of content experiences that match their preferences.”

Thus Travora brands NileGuide, TravelMuse [acquired in 2010] and will all play a role in providing differentiated travel content to consumers and segmented audiences to Travora’s advertising base.

Travora claims Nile Media adds more than 1 million unique visitors to the “26 million proven travel consumers” in Travora’s audience.

“Between TravelMuse and toptrips, we have several hundred thousand visitors and email subscribers as well as a treasure trove of content that we will modernize,” Forte says. “Both the content and the audience will be a part of the Travora consumer experience online and in our mobile apps.”

With the acquisition, NileGuide CEO Josh Steinitz becomes Travora’s chief revenue officer and executive vice president, business development.

Steinitz says visitors to the Nile Media sites, which emphasize travel recommendations from local experts, won’t notice any immediate changes.

“But we plan to take advantage of our large investment in original content and community to provide access to this content to Travora and the Travora collection of publishers,” Steinitz says.

Steinitz articulates Travora’s B2C and B2B strategy in his own words.

“Travora is committed to building the reach and scale necessary to succeed in today’s digital media landscape (with sophisticated targeting and audience data elements), along with a focused strategy to build a high-quality brand in its own right, independent from, but naturally aligned with the publishers it represents,” Steinitz says.

And, Forte seeks to create Travora as a consumer brand in its own right, as well, with a new slated to launch in September 2012.

“It is a showcase brand and touchstone portal for connected travel information seekers to access best-of-breed aggregated, curated, timely and relevant content for all things travel. Our brand strategy is to showcase the best brands in a new lights, as well as to create a differentiated content experience that is complementary to our Travora publisher’s circle.”

That’s the plan, anyway.

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Dennis Schaal

About the Writer :: Dennis Schaal

Dennis Schaal was North American editor for Tnooz.



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  2. Durant Imboden

    I’ve been a publisher with Travel Ad Network (now Travora Media) almost from the beginning, and I don’t see this as a big deal–either for good or bad. Travora’s media acquisitions haven’t been major players, so it is’t as if Travora were acquiring TripAdvisor and redirecting all available ad inventory to the new subsidiary. Just as important, the bigger Travora’s aggregated audience becomes, the more appeal it has for advertisers.

  3. Dennis Schaal

    Dennis Schaal

    Alex: Fyi, Travora previously acquired TravelMuse and apparently, as well.

  4. Alex Khajavi

    I agree with Gary, Travora can’t assume to sneak it’s way into content publishing without expecting a revolt from it’s clients. The move might be a smart one on their part but it will be interesting to see how they navigate that transition. A good bet that this is just the first acquisition by Travora and we’ll see more in the near future. If not, I don’t see the logic of this deal.

  5. Stuart McD

    Can someone far smarter than me translate Forte’s two leading quotes into something that makes sense as it just reads like corporate BS about turning an independent platform into a shill station


    & congrats to NileGuide.

    • tunnsey

      You are a breath of fresh air, Stuart, as I was scratching my head on those quotes as I read them too.

    • Kevin May

      Kevin May

      @stuart – yeah, filled up my corp lingo bingo card quite quickly on this one.

  6. Pete Meyers

    Woah – nice job NileGuide team, that sounds like a favorable exit. I think the content-focused transition Travora is making is a good one, consistent with the approach that made WebMD a pile of money.

  7. Gary Arndt

    If I was a content site running ads by Travora, I’d be very concerned about this. Your supplier is now your competition and you have to believe the content side of things will influence decisions made by the advertising team.


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