New ownership, new magazine for PGA

Publishing Group of America (PGA), just purchased by Bain Capital Ventures and Shamrock Capital Growth Fund, will expand circulation and launch a new title in 2008.

The new title, Spry, will focus on healthy living and will be aimed primarily at female baby boomers. Slated for debut in September 2008, the first issue of Spry will go to 9 million households as an insert in local newspapers.

“Many asked us for a second magazine to follow Relish, which goes out at the beginning of every month, so we created an inventory and got some interest,” said Steve Minucci, director of business development for Publishing Group of America. “Health was a natural because baby boomers do read newspapers, and baby boomers are that crunch generation where they have to worry about their own health as well as that of their parents and their children.”

Minucci expects a core advertising base made up of healthy foods marketers, pharmaceuticals and over-the-counter medications, as well as travel and insurance.

“There’s a wide variety of brands looking to engage with that baby boomer demographic, and we think this is going to be an important lifestyle interest of theirs,” he added. “The biggest health magazine, to my knowledge, is Prevention, which sends out 3 million copies per month — we’re going to be three times that size.”

Relish, which upped its circulation to 9 million in 2007, will move to a circulation of 12 million in 2008. PGA flagship American Profile, seen mostly in small towns, will bump its circulation up to 9.8 million

The circulation hikes are partly a response to ad page growth. From January to November 2007, American Profile saw an 8.3% increase in ads. Relish posted a 54.3% increase for the same period, compared to 2006.

PGA executives expect the new owners to accelerate growth, including in the company’s direct marketing portfolio.

“We’ve historically done a lot of business with direct advertisers who used our magazines to sell their own products directly, so we figured out we could sell our own products the same way,” explained Minucci. “The other piece that might be of interest in terms of direct marketing is, for American Profile, we have 1400 local community newspapers. Most are not in the list rental business, but they might be interested in aggregating together through PGA and getting incremental revenue via list rental.”

PGA will retain its management team and its Franklin, TN headquarters. Aside from its three insert magazines, the company publishes cookbook series Hometown Recipes, runs a custom publishing business and operates a syndicated news service for print and Web, called Hometown Content.

Bain Capital Ventures specializes in software, wireless, healthcare, business services and consumers investments. The Boston-based company has previously invested in DoubleClick, Gartner Group and Staples.

Shamrock Capital Growth Fund is the investing entity for PGA. The firm focuses on investments in media, entertainment and communications, including Mudern Luxury LLC and NextWave Media Group.

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