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Canada's Bell Media Revamping Dated Sympatico.ca

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Canadian broadcast/satellite TV/Internet powerhouse Bell Media will rebrand and relaunch its circa 1995 Sympatico.ca portal as TheLoop.ca on December 13, 2012.

"After 17 years of digital innovation and marketplace success, Sympatico was ready for the next stage in its evolution -- the bringing together of Bell Media's content expertise with the incredible digital delivery opportunities of Sympatico," explained Catherine MacLeod, Bell Media's vice president of specialty channels.

The relaunch will load Bell Media's destination site with a stable of well-known Bell Media TV stars. They will include FashionTelevisionChannel's Jeanne Beker, E!'s Leah Miller, and The Marilyn Denis Show's Owen Reeves. TheLoop.ca will also move away from Sympatico.ca's Yahoo-style news format, instead offering a series of lifestyle channels such as Living, Style, and Showbiz.

"The Loop's inspiring channels will build on Sympatico's most successful content and deliver new, engaging, and informative lifestyle content that connects with the 25 to 54 demographic," said MacLeod, "The Loop will enhance the experience of our loyal Sympatico audiences with content so effortless and fun, visitors to the site will want to make it part of their daily routine."

A look at The Loop's new channels reveals how Bell Media hopes to make this happen. For example, the company news release that announced The Loop described its Living channel as "users' new BFF: approachable and realistic and not afraid to ask (or answer) the tough questions." According to Bell Media, such "tough questions" include "candid discussions about love and relationships of all kinds." "the hottest trends in food, drink and style," and taking "the mystery out of gardening for those who don't remember, or never knew how."

Meanwhile, The Loop's Showbiz channel will offer "Fun insider interpretation of the best entertainment news with ETALK's Danielle McGimsie," and E!'s Leah Miller cooking and conversing "with celebs that may or may not be skilled in the kitchen," said the news release.

The shift from a news and information portal to a personality-driven, lifestyle site illustrates Bell Media's desire to connect more personally with its users -- especially women ages 25 to 54. Given that Sympatico.ca's news format predates the millennium, smartphones, and social media, the rebrand and relaunch makes good sense. After all, the current 25 to 54 demo -- Bell Media's target audience -- was as young as 8-years-old when Sympatico.ca launched.


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