Saturday, August 16, 2008

Further to discussion about the new season of the TV show, it should come as unfortunate news that there have been a number of significant layoffs at MSLO in recent weeks. I was delaying posting about this, but it would be irresponsible not to, since it is Martha-Stewart related news.

The New York Post has reported that Sheraton Kalouria, President of Broadcasting, has been let go, as have several other key staffers.

In a conference call with analysts last Wednesday, new co-CEO Wenda Harris Millard said that the company no longer planned to fund staffing for broadcast development, and instead will focus on existing broadcasting offerings, including "The Martha Stewart Show," "Everyday Food" and Stewart's radio efforts on Sirius. (The company also recently announced the new "Whatever, Martha!" TV show to star Martha's daughter, Alexis.)

The company also shuffled the deck internally (which affected our good friend Dr. Brent Ridge) apparently in a bid to drive more group ad sales at its magazines. Jane Bruce, who joined the company when it purchased her Body+Soul magazine, now takes over the portal.

Sally Preston, who had been the publisher of Martha Stewart Living since 2005, now becomes a group publisher taking on the pocket-size Everyday Food, as well.

While both titles appeared to be performing reasonably well earlier in the year, they have slumped dramatically this summer.

The July/August issue of Everyday Food was down 20 percent in ad pages, and is off 16 percent year-to-date to 321 pages, according to Media Industry Newsletter.

The flagship magazine also tumbled 20 percent in pages with its August issue, and is now down 4.4 percent for the year to 804 ad pages, according to MIN. (The 2008 September issue is noticeably thinner, compared to last year's September issue.)

Preston will be taking over publishing responsibility on that title from Amy Wilkins, who will now be working on Martha Stewart Weddings.

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