Martha Stewart downsizes magazines and cutting jobs
NEW YORK — Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. is downsizing its magazines and will cut publishing jobs as it increasingly focuses on online video and other digital content.
The lifestyle, media and merchandising company said Thursday that the move could save it $33 to $35 million per year. It did not say how many employees are being eliminated, and a message was not immediately returned.
Martha Stewart will stop publishing its monthly Everyday Food magazine as a standalone publication, instead periodically wrapping it into the company’s flagship Martha Stewart Living magazine. It will make Everyday Food content available on the company’s website, a YouTube channel and through a daily video newsletter.
The company will also seek to sell its Whole Living health and lifestyle magazine. If the magazine cannot be sold, its content may also be incorporated into other company products.
Print magazines are the company’s largest business division, accounting for 64 percent of total sales in 2011. The cutbacks announced Thursday will leave the company with its flagship magazine and the quarterly publication, Martha Stewart Weddings.
Company executives previously highlighted the weakness of the company’s publishing segment. Revenue from print publications fell 16 percent to $28.8 million in the company’s last quarter.
The New York company plans to focus more on online video, with partnerships with AOL, Hulu and Apple Inc.’s iTunes store.
Lifestyle and home guru Martha Stewart, the company’s founder and its non-executive chairman, said an increasing focus on digital media would help Martha Stewart Living connect with audiences.
The cuts announced Thursday, combined with previously announced restructuring efforts in its broadcast TV division, are expected to remove $45 to $47 million in annual costs from the company’s operating costs.
U.S. magazine sales fell nearly 10 percent in the first half of 2012 as consumers cut back on discretionary spending, according to a report earlier this year by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The industry group said that single-copy sales at newsstands and other retailers totaled 26.4 million in the first six months of 2012. That was down from 29.1 million in the same period last year.
Earlier this month Newsweek became the latest magazine brand to drop its print publication for a Web-only presence. US News & World Report dropped its weekly print edition years ago and now focuses on the Web and special print editions, such as a guide to the best graduate schools. SmartMoney announced in June that it was going all-digital.
Martha Stewart shares rose 6 cents to close at $2.95.
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