Meredith Corp. has purchased multichannel brand EatingWell Media Group. As part of the acquisition, Meredith takes over 350,000 bi-monthly EatingWell Magazine (with plans to bump circulation to 500,000 next year);; a content licensing and custom marketing group serving more than 75 clients including consumer portals, healthcare, food and supermarket retail partners; a Health-in-a-Hurry mobile recipe app; and a series of food and nutrition related cookbooks.

More than 60 percent of EatingWell’s overall revenue comes from digital sources, licensing and custom content. Meredith says it plans to substantially enhance the EatingWell website with the Meredith Women’s Network, which reaches 25 million unique monthly visitors.

EatingWell CEO Thomas Witschi joins Meredith National Media Group as EVP and president.

Meanwhile, Meredith is also launching, which includes a site with more than 20,000 recipes and in-store and manufacturer coupons, videos and an online shopping list and recipe box that lets users see local store savings on specific recipes.

The brand also includes a quarterly magazine with initial distribution of 350,000 and cover price of $5.99; a mobile web feature offering recipe and meal-planning content; branded television segments on Meredith’s daily syndicated program "Better;" and quarterly onsert promotions featuring custom content and coupons polybagged with Meredith’s monthly magazines. Marketing content partners at launch include Betty Crocker, Campbell’s and Pepperidge Farm.

Focusing on Core Strengths?

The acquisition of EatingWell and the launch of will enhance Meredith’s top advertising category, according to Meredith chairman and CEO Steve Lacy.

While Meredith National Media Group endured the recession fairly well, it has shown some softness recently, with advertising revenue falling 11 percent and ad pages dropping 13 percent in the third fiscal quarter. Revenue fell 4 percent and pages dropped 8 percent (average net per page grew in the mid-single digits on a percentage basis) in the first nine months of the fiscal year, while circulation revenue fell 7 percent in the first nine months of fiscal 2011.

Earlier this month, Meredith folded ReadyMade Magazine, eliminating approximately 75 positions worldwide. According to MagazineRadar, Meredith posted the largest drop in ad pages among six major publishers in the first three months of 2011.