CHEVY CHASE, Md., April 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Building on its reputation as a trusted travel resource, Travel Channel has acquired a meaningful interest in Oyster.com, the Internet's top destination to research and book hotels. The investment represents Travel Channel's excursion into the expanding online travel transaction territory.
"This is a transformational event for the Travel Channel," said Laureen Ong, Travel Channel president. "Entering into a strategic relationship with Oyster.com greatly broadens our position as a trusted source for information and allows us to go beyond the inspiration and entertainment we offer on television. Simultaneously, this partnership provides an incredibly meaningful way to connect with and improve the experience of travelers and adventure seekers everywhere."
"We believe in engaging audiences through the power of a strong respected brand and reliable expertise," added Elie Seidman, co-founder and chief executive officer of Oyster.com. "That's what we're building at Oyster.com and we were always impressed with the trust and knowledge that Travel Channel represents, and the large and discriminating audiences it attracts."
Founded in 2008, Oyster.com combines exclusive content and commerce all in one online location. The website publishes objective, in-depth hotel reviews written by trained journalists who document their visits through thousands of photographs, and provide expert editorial opinions. Based on a strict set of criteria and ratings, Oyster's curated content is designed to give users the best way to plan, research, and book their hotels.
"The only way to really know about a place is to actually go there. Everything else is just a guess," Seidman said. "That's the basis of our business."
Under terms of the agreement, Travel Channel and TravelChannel.com will have access to exclusive Oyster.com content. Each brand will also collaborate on future programming and cross-platform promotional opportunities.
Travel Channel (www.travelchannel.com) is a network and Web site that connects viewers to the power and joy of human journeys that inspire, surprise, entertain and fulfill. Travel Channel is the world's leading travel media brand, and the network is available in nearly 96 million U.S. cable homes. Its Travel Channel HD™ simulcast is distributed to more than 35 million viewers. Travel Channel is headquartered in Chevy Chase, MD, and maintains offices in New York and Atlanta. Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI), which also owns and operates HGTV (www.hgtv.com), DIY Network (www.diynetwork.com), Food Network (www.foodnetwork.com), Cooking Channel (www.cookingchanneltv.com) and Great American Country (www.gactv.com), is the manager and general partner.
Oyster.com (www.oyster.com) is the web's hotel expert. Oyster's mission is to deliver the truth about hotels and make it easy to discover the perfect destination. Oyster sends trained "agents" to visit, comprehensively photograph, review and rate each hotel reviewed on Oyster. Featured on and in hundreds of media outlets including The Today Show, 20/20, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist and many more, Oyster's hotel investigators visit every property in person and take hundreds of honest photos so that travelers know what to really expect when they arrive. Expect to see reviews of New York hotels, Miami hotels and Los Angeles hotels to name a few, with plans to increase the destinations nearly ten-fold over the next year. Additionally, there are five (and counting) international Oyster sites, including Spain, Germany, Italy, Brazil and France. Management includes Microsoft alum Eytan Seidman, formerly of Microsoft's Bing.com; and two highly accomplished serial entrepreneurs, Ariel Charytan and Elie Seidman. Oyster is funded by Bain Capital Ventures and The Travel Channel.