Iowa Journalists Delve Into Marketing Services Business

The Wall Street Journal (paid sub. req.) looks at one prominent media company’s scramble to become a player in marketing services.

Meredith Corp., whose magazine titles include Better Homes and Gardens, Family Circle and Ladies’ Home Journal, is spending an undisclosed sum to acquire Los Angeles-based digital-ad agency Genex and Arlington, Va., word-of-mouth-marketing firm New Media Strategies.
The acquisitions follow Meredith’s purchase of Los Angeles-based interactive-marketing agency O’Grady Meyers, whose clients include NestlĂ©, last April. The latest deals are the strongest signal to date that Meredith — confronting slowing growth in its core publishing and television businesses — is broadening its focus to include marketing services, one of the fastest-growing parts of the advertising industry. Even after these purchases, the Des Moines, Iowa, company is still on the prowl for other acquisitions to round out its marketing-services offerings, says Stephen Lacy, Meredith’s president and chief executive.
“We believe the marketing services area will have a faster growth rate than either of the two traditional-media businesses,” Mr. Lacy says. Meredith owns 26 magazines and 14 TV stations; publishing accounted for about 80% of the company’s $1.6 billion in revenue for fiscal 2006, which ended June 30.

Once upon a time there was a divide between editorial and advertising. No more.

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.