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Meredith Broadens Focus On Food Content With EatingWell Acquisition

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Meredith (NYSE: MDP) Corp.’s acquisition of EatingWell Media Group and its launch of tips and coupons food site this morning is part of a larger move to expand the company from a publisher of women’s lifestyle magazines to fuller marketing and content company.

The push into food comes barely a week after Meredith made the decision to close down struggling home shelter title ReadyMade, which the company acquired five years ago as it sought to build up content in the home improvement category.

Home improvement has proved challenging amid the weak economy, as fewer people are buying houses and therefore, there’s a lot less “fixing up” then there used to be. Food, however, has shown a great degree of immunity to the uncertain economic conditions, as shown by the success of Food Network as a cable network and a magazine for Hearst.

Part of the reason Meredith moved to shutter ReadyMade was its desire to shift more resources to digital. Today’s announcements reflect that wider plan.

For instance, more than 60 percent of EatingWell’s current revenues come from digital sources, licensing and custom marketing. As part of the deal, EatingWell CEO Thomas Witschi, 50, is joining the Meredith National Media Group as EVP and President, Women’s Lifestyle, with responsibility for Meredith’s More, Fitness, EatingWell and Diabetic Living brands.

The site and related app also ties together Meredith’s own broadcast properties. As part of the initial promotion, will be featured in a weekly segment on Meredith’s Better program. Release