Southern Progress Corporation: From Humble Beginnings to Publishing Powerhouse

Southern Progress Corporation has emerged as a formidable force in the publishing industry, tracing its roots to the Progressive Farmer Company. Its flagship publication, Southern Living, has resonated with audiences, capturing the essence of Southern culture.

Following its integration into the Meredith Corporation in 2018, Southern Progress Corporation has expanded its repertoire to encompass a diverse range of influential publications. With strategic acquisitions and an astute response to market shifts, exemplified by the successful launch of Cooking Light, the company has cemented its status as a publishing powerhouse.

This article delves into the evolution of Southern Progress Corporation, chronicling its journey from modest beginnings to its current standing as a dominant force in the publishing landscape.

Key Takeaways

  • Southern Living started as a weekly newsletter and grew to become an influential magazine, overcoming negative perceptions of the South and focusing on regional attractions, homes, gardens, and food.
  • The influence of John Floyd and Company was instrumental in the establishment of Oxmoor House Books, diversifying the company's offerings and capturing a wider audience through book publishing.
  • The Time Inc. acquisition consolidated resources and expertise, increasing market presence and distribution channels, and facilitating expansion and diversification into new market opportunities.
  • Through acquisitions and the establishment of independent magazines like Cooking Light, Southern Progress Corporation reached a wider audience, diversified its market presence, and solidified its position as a publishing powerhouse.

Progressive Farmer's Evolution

The evolution of Progressive Farmer from a weekly newsletter to an influential magazine marked a pivotal shift in agricultural publishing. Progressive Farmer's impact was significant, as it became the official publication of the National Farmers Alliance and reached a peak circulation of 1.4 million in 1962.

This growth and influence laid the groundwork for the success of Southern Living, another publication under the Southern Progress Corporation. Southern Living's growth was remarkable, overcoming negative perceptions of the South and achieving a readership of 250,000 within two years of its launch in 1966.

The expansion of John Floyd and Company, which joined Southern Living in 1977, further fueled the company's growth, leading to the establishment of Oxmoor House Books and the incorporation of market trends such as the addition of a monthly Cooking Light column.

Southern Living's Success

Following the evolution of Progressive Farmer and the expansion of John Floyd and Company, the success of Southern Living magazine marked a significant achievement for Southern Progress Corporation.

  • Southern Living's Impact
  • Focused on regional attractions, homes, gardens, and food
  • Overcame negative perceptions of the South
  • Became a driving force in the company's expansion
  • Helped establish Oxmoor House Books

Southern Living's readership growth has been remarkable, with the magazine boasting a readership of 250,000 within two years of its launch. The magazine's impact on the publishing industry and its ability to redefine perceptions of the South have been pivotal in Southern Progress Corporation's journey to becoming a publishing powerhouse.

The successful trajectory of Southern Living has not only contributed to the company's growth but has also solidified its position as a leading publisher in the industry.

John Floyd and Company Influence

Expanding upon Southern Living's impact, John Floyd and Company played a pivotal role in the growth and diversification of Southern Progress Corporation. John Floyd's impact was instrumental in the establishment of Oxmoor House Books, which significantly contributed to the expansion of the company's publishing portfolio.

This move diversified the corporation's offerings and enhanced its standing in the publishing industry. By venturing into book publishing, Southern Progress Corporation broadened its reach beyond magazines and captured a wider audience. The addition of Oxmoor House Books not only showcased the company's adaptability but also its commitment to meeting the evolving needs of its readers.

John Floyd and Company's influence in this strategic expansion marked a significant turning point in the trajectory of Southern Progress Corporation's success.

Time Inc. Acquisition

Upon its acquisition by Time Inc. in 1985, Southern Progress Corporation entered a new phase of expansion and diversification in the publishing industry. The impact of Time Inc. on Southern Progress Corporation's expansion was significant, leading to strategic developments and increased market presence.

This acquisition facilitated the integration of Southern Progress Corporation into a larger network, providing access to additional resources, expertise, and distribution channels. Time Inc.'s influence also enabled Southern Progress Corporation to explore new market opportunities and broaden its portfolio of publications.

  • Consolidation of resources and expertise
  • Increased market presence and distribution channels
  • Exploration of new market opportunities
  • Broadened portfolio of publications

Expansion and Diversification

After establishing itself as a prominent publishing company, Southern Progress Corporation embarked on a phase of expansion and diversification, seeking to broaden its influence in the industry. The company employed various expansion strategies, including acquisitions and launching new publications, to reach a wider audience and diversify its market presence.

Acquisitions such as Southern Accents, Sunset magazine, Coastal Living, and Health magazine bolstered the company's portfolio and extended its reach into different segments of the publishing industry. Additionally, the establishment of Cooking Light as an independent magazine and the incorporation of Oxmoor House Books demonstrated Southern Progress Corporation's commitment to market diversification.

These strategic moves not only expanded the company's offerings but also solidified its position as a publishing powerhouse, catering to diverse interests within its target market.

Meredith Corporation Subsidiary

Subsequent to its acquisition by the Meredith Corporation in 2018, Southern Progress Corporation solidified its position as a key subsidiary in the conglomerate's publishing portfolio. This partnership marks a significant milestone in Southern Progress Corporation's history, further strengthening its foothold in the publishing industry.

Key points regarding this development include:

  • Enhanced resources and support from Meredith Corporation
  • Access to a wider audience through Meredith's established network
  • Opportunities for cross-promotion and collaboration with other Meredith subsidiaries
  • Potential for synergistic growth and expansion within the Meredith Corporation family

This strategic move reflects the continued evolution of Southern Progress Corporation and its commitment to delivering quality content to its readership while leveraging the advantages of a larger corporate structure.

Continuing Growth and Influence

Solidifying its position as a publishing powerhouse, Southern Progress Corporation continues to experience substantial growth and influence in the ever-evolving media landscape.

The company's continued expansion is evident through strategic acquisitions and the launch of new publications, further solidifying its impact on regional publishing.

Through its array of magazines such as Southern Living, Coastal Living, and Cooking Light, Southern Progress Corporation maintains a significant presence in the market, reaching an estimated 16 million readers annually.

This sustained growth not only showcases the company's ability to adapt to changing consumer preferences but also underscores its enduring influence in shaping the content and direction of regional publishing.

As it moves forward, Southern Progress Corporation remains a dominant force in the industry, setting trends and maintaining its position as a leading publisher.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Were Some of the Challenges Faced by Progressive Farmer as It Evolved From a Weekly Newsletter to a Magazine?

As Progressive Farmer evolved from a weekly newsletter to a magazine, challenges included adapting content, attracting readers, and navigating industry changes. These obstacles were overcome, contributing to the company's evolution into a publishing powerhouse.

How Did Southern Living Overcome Negative Perceptions of the South in Its Early Years?

In its early years, Southern Living overcame negative perceptions of the South by focusing on regional attractions, homes, gardens, and food. This approach not only challenged stereotypes but also resonated with its audience, fostering a sense of pride and appreciation for the region.

What Specific Contributions Did John Floyd and Company Make to the Expansion of Southern Progress Corporation?

John Floyd and Company played a crucial role in Southern Progress Corporation's expansion, demonstrating strong leadership and strategic vision. They facilitated the establishment of Oxmoor House Books and responded to market challenges by adding Cooking Light. This diversification contributed significantly to the company's growth and success.

What Were Some of the Key Factors That Led to Time Inc.'S Decision to Acquire Southern Progress Corporation in 1985?

The decision by Time Inc. to acquire Southern Progress Corporation in 1985 was influenced by the company's strategic expansion, bolstered by successful publications such as Southern Living and Cooking Light, and its growing readership.

How Did the Acquisition of Sunset Magazine in 1990 Contribute to the Diversification of Southern Progress Corporation's Publications?

The acquisition of Sunset magazine in 1990 significantly contributed to the diversification impact of Southern Progress Corporation, further solidifying its position as a publishing powerhouse. This strategic move broadened its portfolio and expanded its reach.


In conclusion, Southern Progress Corporation has evolved from its origins as the Progressive Farmer Company to become a prominent force in the publishing industry.

With a diverse portfolio of influential publications and strategic acquisitions, the company has solidified its position as a publishing powerhouse.

One notable statistic is that Southern Living reaches an annual readership of millions, showcasing the company's enduring influence in capturing the essence of Southern culture and lifestyle.

Our Reader’s Queries

What company owns Southern Living?

Southern Living is a magazine for people living in the Southern United States. It includes recipes, house plans, garden plans, and info about Southern culture and travel. The magazine is published by Southern Progress Corporation in Birmingham, Alabama, which is a part of IAC’s Dotdash Meredith.

What is the history of Southern Living magazine?

Founded in 1966 by Birmingham, Alabama-based publisher Oxmoor House, Southern Living Magazine was established to honor the distinctive culture and lifestyle of the South. It swiftly gained popularity among readers, becoming a cherished publication.

How do you pitch Southern Living?

Choose the appropriate section for your story in Southern Living. Select a topic that aligns with the magazine’s style. Clearly state what you can offer in your story. Get in touch with the magazine and connect with the editors. Reach out to current contributors for further guidance.

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