Meredith Corporation, publisher of household media brands “Better Homes and Gardens,” “Family Circle” and “Parents,” aims to boost its online ad revenue from about 3.5 percent of company revenue this year to 10 percent in 2010. It’s hoping online video can bring it closer to that goal. To help fulfill its mission, Meredith plans to launch the second component of its ad-supported broadband network, Parents.tv, next month, and has just acquired health search platform Healia, the fourth marketing-related purchase the company has made since April 2006.
Branching out its network into the parenting realm, Parents.tv is being designed to appeal to Gen-X and -Y parents, mainly women. These heavy Web users are “the daughters of the baby boom women that we’ve served so successfully throughout the years,” said Meredith President and COO Steve Lacy during yesterday’s NAA Mid-Year Media Review conference in New York. The site is set to launch in July.
The new parental Web unit and its recently-launched companion video site, Better.tv, will feature a variety of ad options, including video ads, sponsorships, product placement and custom content creations. Fifteen-second video spots will run between every three video clips, which will range from two to 30 minutes in length.
The publisher will also offer exclusive and non-exclusive sponsorships of video channels such as Better.tv’s lifestyle-focused “Better Today,” in addition to “appropriate” product placement in videos, according to Lacy. Legacy advertisers including Procter and Gamble, Purina, Kraft and The Florida Department of Citrus are already gravitating towards the new online ad offerings, noted Lacy.
Meredith is also developing custom content for clients, such as a DVD on lighting techniques it produced for GE. Original video content seen on the Parents.tv and Better.tv sites will also be distributed on other Meredith sites like the recently redesigned Better Homes and Gardens site, BHG.com, in addition to its broadcast group properties.
Parents.tv will cull content from Meredith’s “Parents,” “American Baby,” “Family Circle” and “Child” titles, focusing on subjects ranging from pregnancy to raising older teens. The site will feature community tools, branded content, resources and e-commerce, according to Lacy.
More than 1,000 videos are available on Better.tv, touching on topics like fitness, fashion, scrapbooking, and child health subjects. The company adds about 20 hours of new video each week to its library, said Lacy.
As part of its desire to broaden its Web presence and create more interactive monetization vehicles, Meredith on Monday announced its purchase of vertical health search engine Healia. The platform will be integrated with the publisher’s existing sites in future months. The engine allows users to restrict search results to certain sources, and base them on criteria such as age and race.
“We have existing advertiser relationships that can be leveraged and extended to generate incremental revenue as part of [the increased traffic from Helia],” said Lacy during his NAA presentation.
Meredith also bolstered its marketing services capabilities in the past year through three previous acquisitions. The company purchased Web site development and marketing firm O’Grady Meyers in April 2006. In January the family-friendly publisher bought digital marketing services firm Genex and buzz marketing outfit New Media Strategies.
All together, Lacy said, those recent acquisitions tack on about 200 new employees based around the country. “Select additional acquisitions” could be in the works for Meredith in the future, he added.
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