NEW YORK — Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia decided to end the publication of two print titles and exit live television programming following lower revenues in publishing and broadcasting, which caused total revenues to decrease 13.5% to $42.2 million in the second quarter ended June 30, from $47.9 million in the same quarter last year.
The company’s lower revenues in publishing and broadcasting negatively impacted its merchandising revenues, which actually grew 11% to $16.1 million for the quarter, compared to $14.5 million in the prior year's second quarter. Results benefited from the commencement of royalty revenue recognition from J.C. Penney.
"MSLO generated a narrower net loss in the quarter due primarily to growth in merchandising and the positive impact on our bottom line of strategic actions taken over the last 18 months,” said Dan Taitz, interim principal executive officer. “Our publishing business produced higher print advertising revenue compared with last year's second quarter, after excluding last year's contribution from titles that we no longer publish, and digital advertising revenue grew strongly. While much remains to be done to drive sustainable performance improvement, we are encouraged with the results this quarter and the steps we have taken across our media and merchandising operations to position the company to drive greater engagement with consumers."
Additional highlights for the quarter include comScore data showing that MSLO's websites averaged 5.4 million monthly unique visitors in the quarter, an 8% increase over the prior year. In June, the company launched a redesigned marthastewart.com, which included enhancements such as responsive Web design and practical, short-form video.
MSLO also launched MarthaCelebrations, MarthaPantry, MarthaWindow, MarthaRugs, MarthaLighting and MarthaMirrors at 550 J.C. Penney stores in the quarter. Martha Stewart’s partnership with J.C. Penney, announced at the end of 2011, made headlines when Macy’s claimed it had exclusive rights to sell Martha Stewart Living products in certain categories and sued J.C. Penney and Martha Stewart Living. They went to trial earlier this year and in April, the presiding judge gave a partial ruling, allowing the sale of some Martha Stewart merchandise at J.C. Penney stores.
In May, MSLO announced a new partnership with Nutraceuticals and nutritional supplement developer Inergetics to develop Martha Stewart Essentials, the first branded line of women's supplements in the market. The product line will be sold at retailers and drugstores in the fall.
On April 6, PBS began airing the second season of Martha Stewart's Cooking School and also debuted Martha Bakes, sponsored by J.C. Penney and Kitchen Aid along with charitable partner March of Dimes.