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Rodale First Quarter Revenues Drop 23.3%

Picture 3.pngMen’s Health publisher Rodale announced its first quarter results today, revealing a 23.2% dip in revenues compared to the first quarter of last year.

Not surprisingly, Rodale’s president and CEO Steven Pleshette Murphy chalked the decrease up to an anemic ad market but pointed out that the company’s consumer products are still drawing readers.

“Most of our magazines are seeing year-over-year newsstand growth this quarter,” he said.

Even more good news: web sites for Men’s Health and Women’s Health set records for page views and unique visitors, respectively, during the first quarter of 2009.

Full release after the jump


RODALE REPORTS 2009 FIRST QUARTER RESULTS

–Revenues decreased 23.2%, largely due to advertising industry downturn–

–Rodale sees strong results across its robust e-commerce and books activities–

EMMAUS, PA and NEW YORK, NY, May 6, 2009- Rodale Inc. reported its first quarter 2009 results today. Revenues for the company decreased 23.2%, compared with the first quarter of 2008. Rodale Books sales, strong e- commerce activities, and overall consumer demand for health and wellness content continue to drive performance for Rodale.

Advertising revenues decreased in step with the overall industry downturn. However, Rodale has seen strong results in its high-margin e-commerce business, including a record number of books sold online in March, as well as robust sales of hit books such as Flat Belly Diet! and Eat This, Not That! Rodale’s success across its digital and books activities is consistent with the company’s long-term strategy, put in place three years ago, to diversify beyond traditional magazine print advertising.

“Rodale’s revenues have decreased largely because of the downturn in the advertising market,” said Rodale President and CEO Steven Pleshette Murphy. “However, consumer demand for our products continues to grow. Most of our magazines are seeing year-over-year newsstand growth this quarter. Rodale has sold more than 5 million books in the Flat Belly Diet! and Eat This, Not That! franchises, and in March the company’s e-commerce division sold more books than in any other month in Rodale’s history. Men’s Health and Women’s Health set all-time records for page views and unique visitors, respectively, in the first quarter. As we anticipated in our strategy, the areas where we are thriving, including our books and e-commerce businesses, offer higher margin opportunities than the traditional print magazine margins, so the growth in these areas allows us to create exciting opportunities outside of the magazine advertising space. We continue to move to where our customers are, and our success across these channels bodes well for Rodale for the rest of 2009.”

Magazines and Web Sites
Rodale print advertising revenues decreased 18.4% in the first quarter of 2009, compared with an industrywide decline of 20.6%, according to PIB. Advertising pages decreased by 25.6% in the first quarter of 2009, compared with an industrywide decline of 26.1%, also according to PIB. Online advertising revenues for Rodale’s magazines decreased 2.6%, compared with the first quarter of 2008. Page views across all magazine-branded Web sites increased 37% over the first quarter of 2008.

Brand highlights:

Men’s Health

. Eat This, Not That! Supermarket Survival Guide — the third book in the hit franchise by David Zinczenko, Men’s Health Editor-in-Chief, and Matt Goulding, Associate Editor – debuted as an instant bestseller. Rodale recently signed a development deal with Reveille Productions for an unscripted television show based on the bestselling book series.

. www.MensHealth.com page views and unique visitors increased 46% and 28%, respectively. The site set an all-time record for page views in January.

Women’s Health

. Advertising revenues for www.WomensHealthMag.com increased 33.7%, compared with the first quarter of 2008.

. Page views and unique visitors to www.WomensHealthMag.com grew by 141% and 125%, respectively. The Web site set an all-time record for uniques in March.

Prevention

. Flat Belly Diet! by Prevention Editor-in-Chief Liz Vaccariello with Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, has now sold more than 1.7 million copies and remains a New York Times bestseller.

. Prevention‘s Cook!, a new food-focused mini-brand that launched in January 2009 online and in the magazine, generated a 45% food and beverage advertising revenue boost in the magazine’s February 2009 issue.

Runner’s World, Bicycling

. Advertising revenues for www.RunnersWorld.com increased 9.3%, while page views and unique visitors increased 16% and 22%, respectively. Advertising revenues for www.Bicycling.com increased 4.9%, while page views and unique visitors increased 48% and 47%, respectively.

Organic Gardening

. Magazine advertising revenues and pages increased 37% and 19.7%, respectively, according to PIB.

Rodale Books
Rodale Books saw a 353.3% increase in revenues across trade channels, due in large part to robust sales of the Eat This, Not That! franchise, including Eat This, Not That! Supermarkets and Eat This, Not That! For Kids, which has sold more than 3.3 million copies to date. Books in the Flat Belly Diet! franchise, including Flat Belly Diet! and Flat Belly Diet! Cookbook, have sold more than 1.7 million copies across both trade and direct channels. On April 27, Rodale published The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite — already in its fourth printing — by Dr. David A. Kessler, former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration under presidents George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In the first quarter, Rodale Books announced that it would publish Our Choice, Vice President Al Gore‘s eagerly anticipated follow-up to his bestselling An Inconvenient Truth, in November 2009.

Direct Marketing and E-Commerce

Revenues for Rodale’s Direct Response Marketing group decreased 39.3%,
compared with the first quarter of 2008, which can be attributed to an
intentional reduction in the company’s lower-margin offline direct marketing business as well as the tremendous success of Flat Belly Diet! in the first quarter of 2008. Excluding Flat Belly Diet!, which launched in December of 2007, revenues from books sold online increased 9% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the first quarter of 2008. Rodale reported the highest ever unit sales and net revenues in March 2009 for books sold via e-commerce, with more than 100,000 books sold online. Subscriptions to Rodale magazines purchased online increased by 9% in the first quarter of 2009.

International
Rodale announced the launches of Women’s Health China and Women’s Health Philippines, which debuted last month, and Prevention Australia, which will hit newsstands in October of this year.

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