Scripps Networks Looks Up Recipezaar

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Scripps Networks, with Web properties among the top-rated lifestyle-content providers on the Internet, acquired Recipezaar, a user-generated recipe and community site featuring more than 230,000 recipes.

Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

The acquisition is part of Scripps Networks' strategy to aggressively move its online business beyond extensions of its TV networks to become multibranded, user-centric applications, creating communities of online consumers with shared passions.

A division of E.W. Scripps, Scripps Networks has a portfolio that includes Home & Garden Television, Food Network, DIY Network, Fine Living and Great American Country.

Online, HGTV.com and DIYnetwork.com rank Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, among content providers on the Web in the home-and-garden category, while FoodNetwork.com is the top-rated content provider on the Web in the food-and-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,” Scripps Networks president John Lansing said in a prepared statement. "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.

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%, securing a dominant position in the food category over the long term, Brown added.

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 the company’s 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 multibranded, multimedia online universe with compelling experiences arranged by topic and customer behavior.

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 VP, technology development.

Ron Feinbaum, executive VP of 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,” he said in a prepared statement. "In particular, we are focusing on areas to expand our interactive business.”

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