Meredith Corp. is looking to poach some competitive titles as Hearst is in talks to buy Hachette titles such as Elle and Premiere, Meredith CEO Steve Lacy told CNBC.com. While the CNBC article says Meredith is looking at Rodale titles such as Men’s Health and Women’s Health, Meredith denies it’s looking at those magazine specifically.
Lacy says that scale is "more important than ever to attract the largest advertisers and to keep costs under control," and that the company will be looking to build its titles over the next 12 to 18 months.
Earlier this week Meredith filed an 8K report with the SEC outlining a six step growth plan through 2013 that included exploiting the economic recovery; optimizing the core business; expanding the digital business, enhancing and extending key brands, growing Meredith Integrated marketing and building shareholder value over time.
According to the 8K, Meredith expects total advertising revenue (including print, digital and broadcast) to be up "low double digits" in the fourth quarter of 2010 while total National Media Group ad revenue (magazine publishing) will be up low to mid single digits (the company reported advertising growth of 8 percent in the first quarter and 7 percent in the second and third quarters).
Meredith also claims it boosted national market share for magazine advertising to 12.3 percent, up from 9.5 percent in 2008. Meredith says the magazines are seeing "modest" advertising gains while achieving high rates per advertising page, and that online advertising is up "strongly." Revenue for Meredith’s National Media Group-which includes magazine publishing–grew 3 percent to $1.11 billion in fiscal 2010, ended June 30, with advertising accounting for $530 million (down 1 percent from fiscal 2009).
The company will launch e-tablet versions for titles such as Better Homes & Gardens, Parents and Fitness by spring 2011. Meredith says it sees 2.2 million circ. Parents and 2 million circ American Baby as its next "megabrand" with extensions ranging from age and stage-based magazines to Hispanic magazines, custom media, CRM and data products, consumer research, events and digital.
Revenue ratios for Meredith Integrated Marketing have changed from custom publishing driving 100 percent in fiscal 2005 to custom publishing accounting for 49 percent and CRM/digital contributing 51 percent in fiscal 2010.