About Meredith Corporation
Meredith is a publisher and broadcaster with some of the best-known brands in its portfolio of periodicals. Its 25 magazines include flagship publication Better Homes and Gardens, as well as People, InStyle, and Southern Living. It has a readership of more than 120 million and paid circulation of more than 40 million. Its 17 network-affiliated TV stations across reach 11% of US households. Meredith also operates about 70 websites and some 45 mobile apps. Its national media brands are distributed in nearly 80 countries. Meredith acquired Time in 2018 for $3.2 billion.
Meredith titles cover entertainment, food, lifestyle, and parenting, as well as beauty, fashion, and luxury advertising categories, through well-known brands such as Allrecipes, Real Simple, Shape, and Martha Stewart Living. Advertising accounts for 50% of revenues, while magazine circulation represents 22%.
Meredith currently operates through two main business segments. Its national media group (69% of revenue) consists of magazine publishing, interactive media, integrated marketing, brand licensing, database-related activities, and other related operation. Licensing activities include more than 3,000 SKUs of branded products at Walmart stores across the US and at Walmart.com. The national media segment includes affinity marketer Synapse, and The Foundry, the company's production studio.
Its local media group (31% of revenue) consists of its TV and radio stations, related interactive media operations, and video-related operations.
The Des Moines, Iowa-based Meredith has a global reach, primarily through international licensing agreements. Its brands are distributed in nearly 80 countries, including a localized presence in countries such as China, India, and Mexico.
It has editorial and sales offices, technology centers, and warehouses throughout the US and in Canada, China, India, Japan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Singapore, and Switzerland.
Sales and Marketing
The majority of the company's advertising expenses relate to direct-mail costs for magazine subscription acquisition efforts. Total advertising expenses were $122.8 million in fiscal 2018, $63.9 million in fiscal 2017, and $72.6 million in fiscal 2016.
In 2018, Meredith unveiled a new sales and marketing structure for national media. The new structure put in place strategic account teams comprised of brand, corporate, and digital sellers and marketers, with a principal point of contact for each key account.
Revenues grew over 30% in 2018 to more than $2.2 billion. National media revenues increased 44% compared to the prior year primarily due to the addition of Time revenues partially offset by declines in the revenues of its magazine operations. Local media revenues increased 10% as compared to the prior year primarily due to increased retransmission revenues and the addition of Time revenues.
Net earnings dropped 47% to $99.4 million, from $188.9 million in 2017. National media operating profit decreased 33% primarily due to an increase in severance and related benefit costs of $46.7 million and an increase in the impairment of trademarks of $17.4 million. Local media operating profit declined 12% primarily due to declines in higher-margin political advertising revenues, as expected in a non-political year.
In fiscal 2018, Meredith had cash and cash equivalents of $437.6 million. The company generated $151.4 million in operating cash flows and invested $2.6 billion in acquisitions. Cash provided by financing totaled $2.9 billion.
The company's efforts are centered around maintaining editorial leadership in the entertainment, food, and lifestyle magazine categories. Like all publishers, Meredith is working to limit the damage of declining print revenue, an industry headache that shows little, if any, signs of easing. It is doing so by focusing on digital properties and other operations, such as marketing and licensing. With its local broadcast stations, Meredith is capitalizing on the opportunity to cross-brand People's celebrity coverage on TV. It launched "People Now Weekend" to derive more revenue from the magazine's investment in content. Meredith is also expanding e-commerce efforts on People.com. The company has stated it anticipates consumer related sources of revenue will account for a growing portion of revenues.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Meredith completed its acquisition of Time Inc. in January 2018 in a $2.8 billion deal that expanded its portfolio and allowed it to grow its high-margin consumer revenue activities, including increasing revenues from the company's national brands, brand licensing, and e-commerce activities. Meredith is integrating the Time Inc. products to maximize the value of its combined portfolio moving forward. Following the acquisition, Meredith immediately put legacy titles Time magazine, Fortune, and Sports Illustrated up for sale because they did not fit with the company's lifestyle-focused publications, such as People magazine. It sold Time and Fortune in 2018, while the sale of Sports Illustrated dragged into 2019.
Around the turn of the century, Edwin Thomas (E. T.) Meredith's grandfather eschewed traditional gifts and gave his grandson a unique wedding present -- a handful of $20 gold pieces, enough to buy the grandfather's controlling interest in the Farmer's Tribune, and a note instructing his grandson to "Sink or Swim" with the financially troubled publication. Meredith proceeded to revive the Farmer's Tribune, and after he sold it in 1902, he used the profits to found Meredith Corporation and launch Successful Farming magazine.
Following a stint as Secretary of Agriculture under President Woodrow Wilson, E. T. Meredith extended the company's publishing reach, introducing Fruit, Garden and Home in 1922. Two years later the publication became Better Homes and Gardens. E.T. Meredith died in 1928, but his company forged ahead, moving into book publishing in 1930 with the first issue of Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book.
After going public in 1946, Meredith entered the fledgling TV market. It bought its first TV station (Syracuse, New York's WHEN-TV) in 1948, followed by KPHO (Phoenix) in 1952 and Kansas City's KCTV in 1953. Accelerated expansion was the essence of Meredith's story in the decades that followed. The company acquired Ladies' Home Journal in 1986.
Executive committee chairman E. T. Meredith III -- grandson of the company's founder -- died in early 2003.
1716 LOCUST ST
Des Moines, IA 50309-3023
Phone: 1 (515) 284-3000
Employer Type: Publicly Owned
Stock Symbol: MDP
Stock Exchange: , NYSE
Vice Chairman: D. Mell Meredith Frazier
President and COO: Thomas H. Harty
Chairman and CEO: Stephen M. Lacy
Employees (This Location): 268
Employees (All Locations): 7,915
Des Moines, IA
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