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 Nestlé, 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

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. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am now head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.