As part of Zondervan's continuing push into the digital frontier, the Grand Rapids, Mich., publisher has acquired The City, an online community-building software program created by Seattle-based Mars Hill Church. Terms of the agreement—announced earlier this week—were not disclosed.
Mars Hill launched The City earlier this year to create an interactive online community for its more than 7,000 members. Within two months of the launch, more than 85% of the church's members had signed up and more than 75% visit the site daily, Mars officials said.
Zondervan plans to build out the current features of The City and offer scalable and customizable modules to churches nationwide that want to create interactive community for its members.
"The City is much more than a social network as it helps churches to solve their greatest challenges—whether it's church planting, fundraising, developing small groups, building the global church, bolstering a sense of community or improving communication among members," said Moe Girkins, president and CEO of Zondervan. "We are excited to take this incredibly valuable resource … and bring it to other churches throughout the U.S. and around the world."
The acquisition of The City is another proof of Zondervan's digital emphasis. Zondervan acquired BibleGateway.com—the most popular Web site for reading and researching the Bible—last month.
Zondervan also recently announced that it will serve as the exclusive distributor of the Reader Digital Book by Sony to the Christian retail channel. Additionally, more than 400 Christian stores have signed up for Zondervan's new Symtio initiative, touted as "a turnkey, multi-channel solution for digital media," which debuted in October.
A virtual tour of The City's features can be found at here.