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Meredith Corp. Makes Big Digital Hire

Follows acquisition of Allrecipes.com
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Meredith Corp. has made a big bet on digital, and now it’s hired an industry vet to take advantage of it. Carolyn Bekkedahl was named senior vp of digital sales, a new position for Allrecipes.com, the giant food site that Meredith bought from Reader’s Digest Association earlier in the year; and the rest of the Meredith Women’s Network.

Like other print-based publishers, Meredith has posted strong digital growth as its traditional business struggles. In the quarter ended June 30, ad revenues in its magazine group would have declined 3 percent if not for effects of recent acquisitions, while digital ad revenues doubled. 

The move represents a sort of about-face for Bekkedahl, who spent years in the magazine world before going the online route. Her publishing career includes stints as publisher of Shape and president of corporate sales at Shape’s parent American Media Inc. More recently, she was president of Mochila, a digital content syndication company; and until March, chief revenue officer for Gilt City, the local arm of flash sale site Gilt Groupe. “What’s exciting about Meredith is all the transformation that they’ve undergone,” she said. “Obviously, digital advertising is a major part of Meredith’s revenue. It’s putting the emphasis where the money is flowing.”

She’ll report to Dick Porter, president of media sales for Meredith’s National Media Group, which includes magazine brands like Ladies’ Home Journal and Parents.