Meredith Buys AllRecipes, Web’s Biggest Food Site

For Meredith Corp, buying the web’s top recipe site,, 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 Food. The site grew from around 23 million unique visitors in December 2010 to more than 25 million last month. Meredith also owns, 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 Food 12,396 11,286 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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