Meredith may be the true domestic goddess of media. A home and family media firm, Meredith publishes magazines, special interest publications, and books. Its portfolio of 20 subscription magazines includes flagship title Better Homes and Gardens, as well as Family Circle, Ladies' Home Journal, Parents, Fitness, and More. The company is active in broadcasting with a dozen network-affiliated TV stations across the US. Meredith additionally operates about 30 websites and some 50 mobile apps, offers integrated marketing services, and has a large consumer database. Family members of the late E. T. Meredith III -- grandson of the firm's founder -- control more than 50% of the company's voting power.
Meredith operates through two main business segments. Its national media group (77% of sales) consists of magazine publishing, interactive media, integrated marketing, brand licensing, database-related activities, and other related operations. Its local media group consists of its TV and radio stations, related interactive media operations, and video-related operations.
The company's familiar red and white checkered Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book has been on the cuisine scene since 1930. It is a mainstay of the company's book catalog, which includes more than 200 titles in print that focus on topics such as cooking, gardening, remodeling, and decorating. Through a licensing agreement with John Wiley & Sons, Meredith publishes and distributes more books based on the Better Homes and Gardens imprint. Meredith creates book content while Wiley is responsible for publishing services such as layout and design, printing, sales and marketing, distribution, and inventory management.
Meredith also publishes some 120 special interest publications (American Patchwork & Quilting, Decorating) through its Special Interest Media (SIM) business. Meredith's SIM titles are largely sold at the newsstand and focused primarily on home improvement and do-it-yourself projects. Meanwhile, its Meredith Xcelerated Marketing provides clients with marketing services in core areas such as loyalty, analytics, mobile, campaign management, social, and digital.
The company has been active in broadcasting for more than 50 years, and its TV stations reach about 10 million households. Among its 12 stations are CBS affiliates WGCL (Atlanta), KPHO (Phoenix), and KCTV (Kansas City, Missouri).
The company's revenue decreased by 2% in 2012 in compared to 2011, while net income decreased by 18%. Total revenue was negatively affected by a drop in both print and online advertising sales, as well as a decline in marketing and brand licensing revenues. Prescription drug advertising was the biggest factor, accounting for half of the declines. Meredith also reported lower political advertising in 2012. Net income was hurt by the decrease in revenues coupled with an increase in expenses, including some $2.7 million in acquisition costs. Meredith additionally reported depreciation on leasehold improvements and fixed assets in a new leased property in New York.
A key aspect of its growth plans include a focus on digital content. As part of this strategy, in 2012 the company acquired AllRecipies.com from Reader's Digest in a transaction worth some $175 million. Meredith snapped up AllRecipes, which it called "the world's No. 1 digital food brand," in order gain its 25 million monthly unique visitors. (Reader's Digest had bought Allrecipes for around $66 million in 2006.) The 2012 deal follows a related acquisition, when Meredith broadened its food-related content with the 2011 acquisition of EatingWell Media Group.
The company completed other acquisitions to expand its content and audience. In 2012 Meredith acquired FamilyFun magazine from Disney Publishing Worldwide. It also purchased ShopNation, an e-commerce technology company based in Los Angeles. The previous year the company acquired EveryDay with Rachael Ray magazine and its related digital assets.
In other areas of the business, Meredith extended its brand licensing agreement with Wal-Mart hrough 2016 for the Better Homes and Gardens line of products. There are currently more than 3,000 SKUs (product codes) of Better Homes and Gardens branded products available at Wal-Mart stores across the US. The company also expanded its marketing assets in 2011 by making a strategic investment in London-based iris Worldwide, a major international marketing agency.