In Tyra Banks' ongoing quest to turn herself into Oprah, the supermodel has just confirmed a partnership between her New York company Bankable Productions and L.A.-based Demand Media. The two companies have teamed up to create a slew of web-based fashion and beauty ventures including designing an Internet site, producing online
video segments and developing a series of apps for smartphones. As a self-proclaimed guru of all things beautiful, Banks stated she's looking to create, "an engine that would provide my audience with inspirational and instructional content to help them look and feel their best." How generous.
Banks' media empire already includes the cult followed 'America's Next Top Model' series (of which I am admittedly obsessed), various books published, and a talk show that was doing well enough—before Banks gave it the ax to start up this new project. So will this web-driven media brand be as successful? Some people are skeptical. She should "stick to beauty and fashion because that's what she knows," just
said Michael Stone, CEO of the Beanstalk Group, a New York branding
consultant. "And by the way — that's not where Oprah is, and that's
not where Martha is."
Stone mentioned the other two most influential female branding moguls since Banks seems to be constantly trying to keep up with their Joneses. And though Banks will reportedly receive shares of Demand Media through the terms of the deal, industry insiders are saying Banks still has quite a long way to go before she can start comparing herself to either Stewart or Oprah. "This is spit in the ocean compared to what Oprah has in the works,"
which includes a cable TV network slated to launch next year, said Jarrod Moses, CEO of United Entertainment Group, a New York marketing
firm. Sorry Tyra, if you're gonna try and rival some of the most powerful women in the world, you may just have to keep playing catch up.
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