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Meredith Buys AllRecipes, Web's Biggest Food Site

  |  January 24, 2012   |  Comments

Meredith buys AllRecipes to bolster audience reach.

For Meredith Corp, buying the web's top recipe site, AllRecipes.com, should boost ad revenue through lots more inventory and help cut search marketing spend. 

AllRecipes, with its consumer generated recipes, coupons, and professional food how-to videos, will cost Meredith $175 million - quite a hike from the $66 million Reader's Digest Association paid for it in 2006.

According to Meredith CEO Steve Lacy, the site's addition "nearly doubles the digital advertising revenue generated by Meredith's women's network." The site will add "meaningful digital scale and a brand that brings new audiences and great advertising relationships," Lacy said during this morning's quarterly earnings call.

AllRecipes attracted the most unique visitors among community food sites in December 2011 according to comScore - more than Food Network and About.com Food. The site grew from around 23 million unique visitors in December 2010 to more than 25 million last month. Meredith also owns Recipe.com, whose 2 million monthly unique visitors is dwarfed by its giant new sibling.

Top Community - Food Sites
December 2011
Food Site Total Unique Visitors
Total Internet : Total Audience (000) 220,439
Allrecipes 25,362
Food Network 19,711
About.com Food 12,396
Cooks.com 11,286
Food.com 10,099

Source: comScore Media Metrix

Along with adding significant reach to Meredith's food content for advertisers seeking large female audiences, the AllRecipes buy gives the firm more space to promote its own magazine subscription products. The women-centric publisher also aims to reduce its search marketing expenditures by incorporating the successful AllRecipes SEO approach across its digital platform.

And the acquisition should help Meredith achieve its digital video revenue goals. In August 2011 AllRecipes bought how-to food video provider Food Wishes, complementing its existing video content such as its What's Cooking web series.

Meredith plans to "aggressively expand our digital and video activities," said Lacy. The firm hopes to attract younger audiences to its video content online and via mobile and tablet devices.

Meanwhile, Gannett - another old school print publisher with a bold approach to increasing digital revenues - also made a big digital content move today, announcing the acquisition of independent sports content firm Fantasy Sports Ventures and Big Lead Sports. Big Lead Sports, a sports news, rumors, and commentary site, came in sixth in comScore's list of sports sites in December 2011, as measured by unique visitors. Compared to the 53 million unique visitors to top site, Yahoo Sports, Big Lead drew more than 19 million, and USA Today Sports Media Group attracted more than 15 million.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye was Managing Editor at ClickZ News until October 2012. As a daily reporter and editor for the original news source, she covered beats including digital political campaigns and government regulation of the online ad industry. Kate is the author of Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media, the only book focused on the paid digital media efforts of the 2008 presidential campaigns. Kate created ClickZ's Politics & Advocacy section, and is the primary contributor to the one-of-a-kind section. She began reporting on the interactive ad industry in 1999 and has spoken at several events and in interviews for television, radio, print, and digital media outlets. You can follow Kate on Twitter at @LowbrowKate.

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