Meredith to Acquire Shape Magazine from American Media

Fitness Magazine Will Be Folded Into Shape

By Published on .

Shape magazine.
Shape magazine.

Meredith, owner of Better Home and Gardens and AllRecipes, has agreed to acquire women's fitness magazine Shape from American Media and combine it with Fitness magazine, a title that Meredith already owns.

Beginning with the May issue, Meredith will stop printing Fitness and incorporate it into Shape, a Meredith spokesman said. Subscribers of Fitness will then start receiving Shape.

Meredith is also buying Fit Pregnancy and Natural Health magazines from American Media. It will stop printing those magazines starting in May, but continue to publish their websites.

The companies are not disclosing the sale price. A Meredith spokesman said staffing decisions across the titles are still being finalized.

Tom Witschi, president of the Meredith Women's Lifestyle Group, will oversee the new brands. Meredith also plans to work with Galvanized, the editorial-consulting firm started by former Men's Health Editor in Chief David Zinczenko, on the production of Shape. Mr. Zinczenko has been the acting editorial director for Shape at American Media.

Shape's circulation guarantee for advertisers -- a number known as its rate base -- will increase 60% to 2.5 million once it incorporates Fitness magazine.

Meredith has been active in both striking deals with other magazine publishers as well as closely managing its own titles. Last year, for instance, the company shifted the 151-year-old Ladies' Home Journal from a monthly title to a newsstand-only special interest publication. It also entered a 10-year agreement with Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia to print Martha Stewart Living magazine as well as handle its ad sales and marketing.

Meredith, a publicly traded company, reported its most recent quarterly earnings this morning. Revenue at Meredith's National Media Group, which publishes its magazines and websites, fell 3% to $242.3 million during the three-month period ending Dec. 31. The loss was driven by circulation declines. Advertising sales, the primary source of the group's revenue, climbed 2% to $116.7 million.

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