Meredith takes parenting brands to India, Greece

Meredith Corporation has signed licensing agreements with publishers in India and Greece to distribute parenting magazines in those countries.

Media Transasia India Ltd., which signed a licensing agreement for Meredith’s Better Homes and Gardens in 2007, will begin monthly production of Child India in summer 2008. Also in summer 2008, Daily Press Magazine SA will launch Parents Greece. The two new titles will extend Meredith’s international holdings to 20 titles in nine countries.

“As economies in the developing world continue to grow and, in some cases, grow very swiftly, more citizens are growing into the middle class and are going into homeownership,” said Mike Lovell, director of investor relations for Meredith. “That opens up great potential for Meredith’s sweet spot.”

Parents and Child are both aimed at women with young children, who rank their families and their homes as top priorities. Distribution of the magazines in Greece and India will be newsstand-driven, meaning the publishers will rely on large-scale marketing programs to drive single-copy sales and to build brand-awareness.

“Meredith’s advertisers are increasingly operating overseas and in these markets, so we can offer a partner in these local markets,” Lovell added. “And the magazines have proven flexibility to be localizable but also stay true to the brand. Parenthood is the same across cultures and transcends cultures very well.”

Common techniques for this type of launch include mixes of television, online, experiential and location-based advertising, but no plans have been finalized. Because these magazines depend on newsstand sales, covermounts — CDs or DVDs with value-added content attached to the magazine covers — are also a probable marketing strategy.

Meredith, which runs successful database and direct marketing campaigns for its titles in the US, will share consumer marketing strategies and materials with its licensees. Because US titles focus on generating subscriptions rather than newsstand sales, Lovell was unsure how the direct marketing materials would translate into use abroad.

He did note, however, that, “Meredith keeps a very large consumer database, so, to a broader extent, we know a lot about the typical reader for Parents. We can share profiles and help develop local marketing strategies.”

Child India will be printed in English. Both new titles will capitalize on parenting and home care content from all four of Meredith’s parenting titles: American Baby, Parents, Child and Family Circle. However, publishers are encouraged to tweak content to make it more appealing to local audiences.

Parents is already published by licensees in China and Indonesia. Meredith executives plan to aggressively expand the company’s international footprint through print licensing, online branding and other efforts. The Better Homes and Gardens brand, for example, has been extended into a real estate service under the aegis of international company Realogy. Better Homes also inked a home product deal with Wal-Mart in 2007.

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