Rodale continues its strong performance trend for the first half of '03, it was announced today by Steve Murphy, President and CEO of Rodale Inc. The first half of '03 was up an additional 14 percent in terms of overall revenues compared to the same period in '02, which was also a solid year for the company. Rodale has been realizing positive revenue and profitability results and has been outperforming the book and magazine industries growth percentages consistently for the past two calendar years.

The performance improvement is attributable to an increase in ad revenues for several of the company's magazines, most notably Men's Health and Runner's World; solid retail and direct response book sales – particularly for the No. 1 bestseller The South Beach Diet; and overall savings through continued hard-cost management efforts.

“It is rewarding to see this company firing on all cylinders, particularly as overall economic conditions continue to be volatile,” said Murphy. “Three years ago, we made a renewed commitment to our customers to deliver the best book and magazine editorial products possible, and now we're experiencing the payoff. Our ad and marketing teams have also skillfully risen to the challenge. Without question, both areas remain our prime areas of concentration as we work to continue to maintain or surpass our current rate of growth.”

Advertising revenues for Rodale's magazine titles were up 22.3 percent, as compared to the industry average of 9.9 percent.* With a continuing trend of ad-page volume increases, the company also added more than 189 new advertisers** in the first six months of this year, up nearly 20 percent over the first half '02.

Revenues for Rodale's book-publishing operations – including both retail and direct sales – were up 23.7 percent over first half '02. In-store sales increased by 70 percent, while the industry reported a sales decline of more than 14 percent for the same period.*** Direct response book sales, working with approximately the same mail volume as last year, experienced 17.7 percent growth through the success of such titles as The South Beach Diet and Denise Austin's Shrink Your Female Fat Zones.

The following magazine revenue/ad page highlights are based on Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) statistics comparing January through June 2003 to the same period in 2002:

  • Men's Health beat its first half '02 ad revenues by 41 percent. While the men's category in general was up eight percent in overall ad pages, Men's Health increased its ad pages by 31 percent and its current 17.2 ad revenue market share represents a 22 percent improvement.
  • Runner's World is up 23.5 percent in ad revenues and 11.6 percent in ad pages. According to the Spring MRI (Mediamark Research Inc.) findings, Runner's World attracts the youngest, most affluent readership in America and is eighth among all monthly magazines in the country in terms of affluent readership.
  • Organic Style continues its positive momentum, with an overall revenue improvement of 34.6 percent and an increase in ad pages of more than 13 percent over the same period '02. As of June, the magazine brought in more than 50 new advertisers, with notable gains in the travel, home, health and food categories. In March/April, the magazine increased its rate base to 600,000, and recently announced a March 2004 frequency increase of 10 times per year (up from six times per year) and a rate base increase to 750,000. Organic Gardening upped both revenues and ad pages by just over nine percent.
  • Bicycling is up 68 percent in ad revenues and pages are up 42 percent. Backpacker's ad revenues were up 10 percent, while pages were up 6.7 percent, both over the same period '02. Mountain Bike and Scuba Diving are not tracked by PIB.