Scripps' Secret Recipe: A 'Hyper-Vertical' Ad Network
In addition, Scripps is just weeks away from announcing the launch of a vertical ad network in which it will offer a "one-stop" ad solution for "hyper-vertical" buying across complementary partner sites in lifestyle categories, said Jeff Meyer, senior vice president of interactive sales for Scripps.
"For advertisers it's difficult to work with so many multiple sites," Meyer said. "But the demand is there."
The new Scripps network will allow advertisers to buy into "hyper-vertical" online categories such as green building and home materials, he said.
Meanwhile, Recipezaar's community-enabling technology will be extended to the other Scripps Web properties. Several more lifestyle site acquisitions and partnerships should be completed by the end of the year, Meyer said.
"Our interactive properties will continue to reflect our powerhouse brands, but we no longer will function primarily as TV-branded Web services," said Scripps Network Interactive Group President Deanna Brown, who left Yahoo Media Group's Lifestyles business in March.
"Think of it as an online lifestyle network," she said, "with a series of portals anchored by our own brands plus companion sites within the 'home,' 'food' and 'lifestyle' categories, where we will connect audiences with content, community and commerce opportunities."
Recipezaar, which recorded 2.3 million unique visitors in June, will remain an independent brand. Founded in 1999 by former Microsoft employees Gay Gilmore and Troy Hakala, the site has a distinctive voice and features more than 230,000 recipes. Some published reports speculated on a purchase price of $25 million, but neither party would comment on that number.
The deal makes Scripps more competitive with recipe-centric sites such as Martha Stewart Living, BHG.com and Readers Digest's Allrecipes.com. In addition, there will be lots of cross-promotion between the active and engaged Recipezaar audience with Scripps online properties, Meyer said.
Scripps Network has doubled its interactive ad sales revenue in each of the last two years and is running at a growth rate double the industry average this year, Meyer said, with demand from consumer packaged goods advertisers especially high. Among its leading advertisers are Kraft, Unilever and General Motors.