Meredith Profits Surge 15%
The Meredith Corp.'s earnings per share rose 15% in the first quarter of 2007, compared to the same period last year. In particular, publishing operating profit rose about 5% to $64 million. The jump in earnings came on top of a 4% increase in total revenue, to about $410 million. This included a 7% rise in publishing ad revenues.
Stephen M. Lacy, Meredith's president and CEO, credits the quarter's highlights as the "very strong advertising performance of our Publishing Group properties and the outstanding growth in online revenues across the company."
While other print media are seeing print revenues collapse--especially newspapers--Meredith's core print properties are turning in strong performances. Better Homes and Gardens enjoyed a 6.3% jump in ad pages in the first three months of 2007 compared to last year, topping 400 total, and Family Circle continued its stellar progress with 30.3% increase--topping 362 in the first quarter, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Overall, ad pages at Meredith's women's service titles grew 11% in the quarter, compared to 5% for its category competitors.
Meredith's online properties are also booming, with Web ad revenue up 50% from first-quarter 2006.
Unique views and page views grew more than 10% each, and the company reports substantial increases in the number of online subscription orders received. Meredith recently launched a broadband TV network, Better.tv, with over 20 channels of Meredith video content, covering an array of home, design, and lifestyle issues.
The company has also rolled out a number of custom-marketing operations over the last year, including two new acquisitions announced January 10: The first company, Genex, is an interactive-marketing firm that "specializes in online customer-relationship marketing" for clients including Honda, Toyota and Citigroup. The second, New Media Strategies, specializes in interactive, viral and word-of-mouth marketing for clients like Coca-Cola, AT&T, Ford and Sony.
Meredith already has a substantial integrated-marketing operation in place, in part because of its acquisition of interactive-marketing firm O'Grady Meyers in April 2006. It also produced a bimonthly custom magazine, Figure, for Charming Shoppes, the owner of Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherine's retail stores.