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In June 2011, Meredith acquired EatingWell Media, which included bi-monthly healthy food magazine EatingWell. The title will increase its ratebase, the publisher announced Monday, going from 600,000 to 750,000 effective with the July/August 2013 issue—an expansion that represents a 115 percent increase for the title since Meredith acquired the brand last summer.
In January 2012, Meredith raised the ratebase of the title from 350,000 to 500,000, and effective with the September/October 2012 issue, EatingWell will raise its ratebase from 500,000 to 600,000, an increase of 71 percent from the same time last year.
“Healthy eating has been going mainstream,” says Tony Catalano, publisher of EatingWell. “Our relevance and influence has increased accordingly. We also have assets and investments now that have allowed the size to quickly catch up to the stature. We’ve always been a recognized and respected body of work, but prior to the acquisition we didn’t have the resources or capabilities to get after it.”
Through increased direct mail efforts, which wasn’t readily available prior to the deal with Meredith, house banner ads and licensing agreements with content syndication partners, EatingWell has been able to grow not only through print, but digitally a well—unique visitors have increased to 3.6 million per month as of June 2012.
“Our website has had a parallel growth pattern,” says Catalano. “That has attributed to a lot of the crossover and expanded the consumer’s experience into the magazine as well. Newsstand sales are up 45 percent so far this year and we attribute this to a combination of things across the board, as well as a ripe marketplace.”
The 45 percent growth at retail has pushed the bi-monthly magazine to sell 72,311 for the period ending June 30, 2012 when compared to the title’s 49,909 for the period ending June 30, 2011.
“We do a lot of content licensing,” says Catalano. “It’s been an important part of our business model and we distribute content to four key sectors: the healthcare marketplace, retailers, manufactures and media. We’ve proved ourselves to be a go-to brand. That business is going at a significant pace and we continue to put more resources behind it. Since the acquisition last year, the success we’ve had in that space has motivated Meredith as a company to take a look at their entire portfolio a little differently—it’s something that, when they acquired us, they knew there was a nice business there and something they could harness. It’s been a driver not just for the magazine, but for the influence and footprint of the brand at large.”
Some content partnership examples include teaming up with Pfizer to develop a recipe app and licensing content with Yahoo! and the Huffington Post, among others. With the increases both in print and digitally, the publisher says the brand continues to catch up to its competition when it comes to securing advertising.
“We certainly think we’ve caught the eye, the ear and hopefully the pocketbook of a number of clients that we might not have had the attention of in the past because we didn’t have the scale,” he says. “With the scale you also get a more diverse group of advertisers because we’ve got more size to talk to them about.”
While the publication is produced at a bi-monthly frequency, there is potential to increase its number of issues as the magazine increases its scale.
“The answer is not right now,” says Catalano. “It’s something that we will continue to entertain as interest in the brand continues to flourish and expand. It’s a legitimate question and we’re taking a look at that and all of the other options that come along with it.”
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