Meredith Rides Ad Recovery Wave, As It Relies More On Integrated Marketing

Women’s magazine publisher Meredith Corp. (NYSE: MDP) posted strong results last quarter, signaling that the magazines and local broadcast were continuing to reap the benefits of the wider advertising recovery. But the company, like most major publishers these days, isn’t just relying on straight advertising anymore, especially since the peaks from a few years ago are looking farther than ever. In a statement, Meredith Chairman and CEO Stephen Lacy directly pointed to the company’s integrated marketing and licensing business, two areas that the company had been betting on before print ad sales began to sour three years ago.

Specifically, Meredith Integrated Marketing revenue growth of 14 percent, which the company attributed to an expansion of digital and customer relationship management services for national marketers. Secondly, Brand Licensing revenue growth of more than 35 percent, driven by continued expansion of Better Homes and Gardens branded products at Walmart stores.

“Increasing non-advertising revenues is a strategic priority,” Lacy said. “Given current program expansion commitments, along with a robust pipeline of RFPs for new business, we expect revenue growth at Meredith Integrated Marketing to continue in early calendar 2011.”

Within the national Media Group. advertising revenue growth of 5 percent to $123 million, including more than 30 percent growth in online revenues across Meredith’s national websites. That was helped along by monthly uniques across Meredith’s National Media websites that were nearly 20 million and monthly pageviews averaged 300 million. Meredith completed its acquisition of Real Girls Media, which it said would add more than 4 million monthly unique visitors to the Meredith Women’s Network in this current quarter.

On the print side, Meredith credited higher net advertising revenue per magazine page.

During the call, executives said that they sold 10,000 downloads of the Better Homes and Gardens’ Celebrate the Holidays iPad app for $3.99

The company is preparing full mag apps for Better Homes, Parents and Fitness as well.