Female-focused publisher and marketing services company Meredith Corporation has extended its marketing services offering through the acquisition of Hyperfactory, a mobile agency and technology provider.
Meredith took around a 20 percent stake in Hyperfactory in July 2009, and has worked as the publisher's exclusive mobile partner since. Speaking with ClickZ, Meredith's president of integrated marketing, Martin Reidy, said the publisher made a strategic decision to invest in the mobile space but filtered a list of possible targets before arriving at Hyperfactory. "We made the initial investment to help figure out how well we worked together, and ultimately formed a very strong partnership," he said. "Mobile is becoming more important, and it's hard not to have it in your portfolio of offerings," he added.
Commenting on the pair's work over the past twelve months, Meredith National Media Group President Jack Griffin said in a company statement, "Our clients and consumers have responded well to these initiatives, and we look forward to increasing our presence in the mobile space.... The Hyperfactory's capabilities fall directly in line with our strategic goals and present significant opportunities for our business-to-business engagements."
The acquisition represents a growing trend of publishers branching out into digital marketing services, perhaps to help offset declining revenues from other sides of their business such as print publications. Last week Tribune Co. announced the launch of its own digital marketing services unit, and Hearst acquired search-focused digital agency iCrossing last month to form the basis of its new Hearst Marketing Services unit. iCrossing itself boasts mobile marketing and site development capabilities.
Meanwhile, Hearst rival Gannett is also building out its mobile offerings and capabilities, and today announced the appointment of Craig Etheridge as VP of Mobile Advertising Sales. Gannett says the former Weather Channel VP will be responsible for expanding the company's mobile advertising portfolio, and developing its long-term mobile ad sales strategy.
The Hyperfactory currently operates offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Hong Kong, Sydney, and Hyderabad, India, and counts major global brands including Coca-Cola, BlackBerry, Disney, and Kraft among its client base. Reidy said the acquisition of offices in new territories such as India and New Zealand could also aid the global expansion of Meredith's wider offerings.
Reidy also placed emphasis on the burgeoning tablet marketplace, currently being driven by the release of Apple's iPad device earlier this year. "Tablet technology is very similar to mobile, and that will create a whole new area of business for us. It creates a whole new way for us to help clients," he said. Meredith created an iPad application for Kraft that was released yesterday, dubbed Big Fork Little Fork.
The Hyperfactory will continue to operate as an independent brand under Meredith's Integrated Marketing unit, which itself is due to be re-branded later this year. In the U.S., the publisher's consumer-facing brands currently include Better Homes and Gardens, Parents, Ladies' Home Journal, Family Circle, American Baby, and Fitness. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
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Jack Marshall was a staff writer and stats editor for ClickZ News from 2007 until August 2011.