Scripps Networks extends online reach with acquisition of Recipezaar

Mon, July 23, 2007 by Tim Stautberg

Knoxville, Tenn. (Embargoed for 7 a.m., July 19, 2007) -- Scripps Networks, whose Web properties are among the top-rated lifestyle content providers on the Internet, has acquired Recipezaar, a leading user-generated recipe and community site featuring more than 230,000 recipes. The acquisition is part of Scripps Networks' strategy to aggressively move its online business beyond extensions of its TV networks to become multi-branded, user-centric applications, creating communities of online consumers with shared passions.

A division of The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP), Scripps Networks develops some of the most relevant content available on television, the Internet and satellite radio, in books and magazines, and on today's emerging media platforms. Its leading brands - HGTV and Food Network - are among the most popular networks on television, while DIY Network, FINE LIVING TV Network and Great American Country all rank among the fastest growing emerging networks on cable. Online, HGTV.com and DIYnetwork.com rank No. 1 and No. 2 respectively among content providers on the Web in the Home & Garden category, while FoodNetwork.com is the top-rated content provider on the Web in the Food & Cooking category, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.

"We've been the dominant interactive player in the ‘home' and ‘food' categories for some time now. By focusing even more on the consumer and the online user experience - much in the way Recipezaar does - we believe we can broaden our reach and deepen our relationship with the consumer in these categories as well as other aspects of lifestyle," said John Lansing, president of Scripps Networks. "This is a great first step toward our plan to rapidly expand our revenue base from interactive media."

Founded in 1999 by former Microsoft employees Gay Gilmore and Troy Hakala, Recipezaar recorded 2.3 million unique visitors in June. The site is built on an internally developed, proprietary software enabling user submission and community functionality, parsing and tagging. As a result, Recipezaar provides food enthusiasts an intuitive browsing tool, powerful search capabilities, and personalized features including "My Cookbook," "My Grocery List," and recipe ratings and suggestions.

Scripps Networks' existing Web sites attract an average of 13.6 million unique visitors per month. These interactive properties are not only extensions of Scripps Networks' leading lifestyle brands, providing users programming information and additional instructional content, but also exciting destinations for original broadband programming and powerful interactive tools.

Recipezaar will operate as a stand-alone brand within Scripps Networks' online properties, functioning separate from, but as a complement to FoodNetwork.com, according to Deanna Brown, president of Scripps Networks Interactive Group. The combination of FoodNetwork.com and Recipezaar.com will increase unduplicated audience share to 19 percent, securing a dominant position in the food category over the long term, Brown added.

Scripps Networks has doubled its interactive ad sales revenue in each of the last two years and is on pace for another year of significant growth in 2007. In addition to the immediate boost to audience share, the value proposition of this acquisition includes incremental ad sales and increased programming and production quality to enhance the user experience on Recipezaar.com, Brown said. The existing Scripps Networks' sites are expected to benefit from cross promotion to Recipezaar's highly engaged consumer and proprietary technologies that can be applied across all of Scripps Networks' online properties.

Brown, who left Yahoo! Media Group's Lifestyles business unit earlier this year to join Scripps, said this is the first step toward engaging consumers, viewers and marketers in a multi-branded, multi-media online universe with compelling experiences arranged by topic and customer behavior.

"Our interactive properties will continue to reflect our powerhouse brands, but we no longer will function primarily as TV-branded web services," Brown explained. "Think of it as an online lifestyle network with a series of portals anchored by our own brands plus companion sites within the ‘home,' ‘food' and ‘lifestyle' categories, where we will connect audiences with content, community and commerce opportunities."

Recipezaar and its personnel will continue to operate out of Seattle, with Gilmore serving as vice president within the Scripps Networks Interactive Group and Hakala taking on the role of vice president, technology development.

"We started Recipezaar as a couple of geeks in Seattle who love to cook, and more importantly, love to eat. Because we are technologists, our goal was to make it a lot easier to search for and to share recipes, taking the hassle out of cooking," said Hakala. "It will be exciting to see how our technology platform can enhance the user experience not only for FoodNetwork.com, but for visitors to all of the online sites at Scripps Networks. Likewise, we know that the programming and content that will be available to Recipezaar users will be greatly enhanced."

Ron Feinbaum, executive vice president, new business development, said this is one of several acquisitions Scripps Networks has been exploring as part of its growth strategy.

"We are proactively seeking acquisitions and partnerships to help us reach our strategic goal of becoming the most dominant source in branded media and related consumer services in the food, shelter and lifestyle categories," Feinbaum said. "In particular, we are focusing on areas to expand our interactive business."

About Scripps Networks

In addition to its popular TV networks and Web sites, Scripps Networks has launched HGTV and Food Network in high definition and is aggressively developing its emerging media platforms for broadband and video on demand. Scripps Networks' brands collectively are available in more than 170 countries and territories on all seven continents. They also are distributed to more than 1,000 outlets on U.S. military bases and U.S. embassies around the world via the American Forces Radio and Television Service.   For more on Scripps Networks visit http://www.scrippsnetworks.com/.

Headquartered in Knoxville, Tenn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Nashville and San Francisco, Scripps Networks is owned by The E.W. Scripps Company (NYSE:SSP), a diverse media concern with interests in newspaper publishing, broadcast television, national television networks and interactive media. Scripps operates daily and community newspapers in 17 markets, 10 broadcast TV stations, Scripps Howard News Service, United Media, Shopzilla.com and USwitch. 

About Recipezaar

Recipezaar is an online community site where the everyday cook is the star. Boasting hundreds of thousands of recipes - and adding hundreds more each day - Recipezaar relies solely on user-contributed content mixed with advanced technology features to make cooking fun and easy for everyone. Recipezaar is a privately-held company that has been online since 1999. Visit Recipezaar online at: http://www.recipezaar.com.

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Contact:  Cindy McConkey, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications

at cmcconkey@scrippsnetworks.com or 865-560-3976

or Jerilyn Bliss, Vice President, Corporate Communications

at jbliss@scrippsnetworks.com or 865-560-4181

The Scripps Networks Online Media Room (http://press.scrippsnetworks.com /) also is available to the press for the latest  brand news, useful photos and graphics, detailed programming information, contacts and current research.  

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