The new Meredith Corporation made its inaugural appearance at the 2018 Digital Content NewFronts earlier this month. Founded in 1902 by Edwin T. Meredith, the media and marketing company is often thought of as the publisher of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. But Meredith’s 2018 NewFronts presentation at the Hudson Theater marked the first time the entire portfolio of 42 iconic brands was showcased since Meredith acquired Time Inc. earlier this year.
Combined, Meredith’s brands now reach over 175 million unduplicated American consumers, including 80% of U.S. adult millennial women. This excludes TIME, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and Money. (The company announced in March that it is exploring the sale of these brands.) And Meredith is now a Top 10 digital media company with approximately 140 million monthly unique visitors in the U.S. and over 9 billion annual video views, up 137% year-over-year.
And video is playing a key role in Meredith’s transformative journey. I’m even tempted to describe the path that the new Meredith is a variation of “hero’s journey.” Maybe it could be called the “heroine’s journey.” Why? Well, keep reading.
New Meredith: 9 Billion Annual Video Views
In his NewFront presentation, Jon Werther, President of Meredith’s National Media Group, said, “We’re excited to be here with you and to introduce you to the new Meredith. As you know, earlier this year we brought two media giants and an unprecedented suite of marketing solutions together under one roof. The new Meredith is unlike any other media company. We now have 42 trusted and iconic brands, at-scale reach against highly coveted audiences like millennials and Latinas, unique and actionable insights and immersive cross-channel experiences that drive impactful results and make a difference for consumers, for advertisers, and for the world. We are not just the industry leaders in food, home, entertainment, and lifestyle. We stand for food with a purpose, rebuilding communities, iconic moments that matter, and improving lives. We are not just powerful storytellers. We sit at the intersection of content and utility from shoppable video, to Alexa Skills, to connected cars. We are not just an app scale media company. We engage deeply with audiences that matter. Those that represent nearly $2 of every $3 spent in the marketplace. And finally, we don’t just drive improved return on ad spend, we guarantee it. In these challenging times in an increasingly cluttered media landscape, these capabilities in brand-safe environments matter more than ever. At the new Meredith, our powerful video solutions offer just that.”
Werther added, “First, we leverage our storytelling heritage across a now even broader range of content categories with programming that is tailored to an even wider range of formats from short-form and social to live in long-form in a way that can be seamlessly integrated across channels. Second, with more than nine billion annual video views, we offer high-quality content in brand-safe environments at even greater scale. Third, with first-party data from more than 175 million direct consumer relationships across multiple platforms, and a centralized data science and analytics team, we’re creating insights-driven video content that’s more relevant and advertising that’s more effective than ever before. We’re enriching these capabilities by expanding our already deep taxonomy across our portfolio and by integrating more real-time news, social, and engagement data. The result is unparalleled insight into consumers need states, interest, and intent. And our ability to authentically weave your brands into our daily conversations with these same consumers. Finally, at Meredith, we’ve always been committed to results and accountability. And today, I’m proud to announce that working in partnership with Nielsen Catalina Solutions we are extending our sales guarantee from print and digital to video, demonstrating our continued commitment to delivering for our marketing partners in ways that no other media company can.”
Werther concluded, “This morning, you would hear about a host of new ad products, innovative partnerships, and insight-driven programming that enables Meredith to stand alone among our industry peers. As our company continues to evolve, we remain committed to be your most impactful partner.”
New Online Video Programming Slate
Meredith then unveiled a new programming slate at its NewFronts presentation that spotlight both the extraordinary and everyday moments that matter to Meredith’s consumers, who include 80% of all millennial women and three quarters of multicultural women. The new slate of shows include:
Badass Women: InStyle’s “Badass Women” spotlights women who not only have a voice in the media – they defy the irrelevant preconceptions of gender to change the world we live in. This video series accompanies InStyle’s monthly print and digital feature spotlighting inspiring women who are breaking barriers, speaking their minds, and doing unparalleled work in their fields. For example, PeopleTV host Lola Ogunnaike of “Couch Surfing” interviewed guests Shyla Raghav, a lead scientist on climate change, and Mary Lou Robinson, who developed technology that uses microwaves to fight cyber attacks, to provide media buyers with an idea of “Badass Women” who will be featured on the show.
Beyond the Storm: This emotional documentary series by Southern Living takes viewers on a journey, seeing cities like Houston, Texas, exactly one year after thousands of homes, neighborhoods, daycares, and schools were devastated by natural disasters. “Beyond the Storm” tells the stories of the heroes who step up in the wake of disaster to assist the rebuilding effort in their home towns, like Houston Texans’ defensive end JJ Watt, who has raised over $37 million for Harvey relief.
Search History (PeopleTV): The new Meredith understands that our phones know us more intimately than any of our family and friends, housing all of our random Internet searches, awkward dating app/text conversations, questionable selfies, and so much more. So, what do they do with this strategic insight? “Search History” stars seasoned host and stand-up comedian Michelle Collins, who will dig deep and peruse through the phones of unsuspecting, shocked bystanders. “Search History” will premiere Tuesday, June 5 on PeopleTV.com and on the PeopleTV app.
Food with Purpose: “Food with Purpose” is an uplifting food series from Better Homes and Gardens, Food & Wine, and Eating Well that goes beyond recipes and follows the journey of change makers in the food industry. These individuals are redeveloping the way we grow, distribute, and educate and Meredith is following along on their progress and the impact they have in the communities surrounding them.
Chatter (PeopleTV): Live from PeopleTV’s Hollywood studio, “Chatter” is built exclusively for the Twitter platform and its hyper-engaged audience. The show brings viewers the latest trending topics related to all things entertainment and pop culture. Emmy award-winning television host Rocsi Diaz breaks down the biggest moments of the day, with interactive viewer tweets driving the conversation and in-studio celebrity guests providing their own, original points of view. “Chatter” airs weeknights at 8PM ET/5PM PT on Twitter (live.twitter.com/chatter) and on the PeopleTV app.
Reimagining Home: Inspired by “Idea House,” a successful, multi-platform franchise from the editors of Coastal Living, Real Simple, Southern Living, and Traditional Home, Meredith’s new series “Reimagining Home” features houses designed and built to balance the comforts viewers expect, with the latest technology that addresses needs they may not have considered.
Inside Out Beauty: There are so many factors that play into a dewy glow and lustrous hair and Meredith is here to help viewers find out what works for their skin. The experts at Shape dig deep to into the problem at hand, and offer a safe and easy solution for the best results! The series, guided by fun animation and voiceover, explores answers to viewer questions about how to achieve the perfect natural look without the grease.
The new Meredith also announced a new video ad product called Meredith Stories. Meredith Stories provides advertisers the ability to seamlessly integrate into or contextually align with premium editorial in mobile-first, highly-engaging and fully-vertical environments. These story experiences live across Meredith’s own websites, as well as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.
Marla Newman, Meredith’s Senior VP of Digital Ad Sales, said, “At a time when digital video viewership continues to fragment and advertisers continue to search for premium brand safe environments, we are excited to offer solutions like Meredith Stories and our video sales guarantee that reflect our commitment to both innovation and impact.”
Finally, Andrew Snyder, Meredith’s Senior VP/Head of Video, said, “Meredith’s continued commitment to video is clear – we have significant resources with state-of-the-art studios in five cities and creative teams in each location comprised of award-winning producers and editors.” He added, “Our beloved and vast collection of brands inspires video content that truly resonates with consumers while driving performance for our ad partners across all platforms including OTT, web, and social.”
So, video – from short-form social videos to long-form, Emmy-award-winning programming – is playing a key role in Meredith’s transformative journey. And the path that the new Meredith is a variation of “hero’s journey” that could be called the “heroine’s journey.”