second quarter of 2014 brought no respite for magazine publishers, as print advertising revenues continued to decline, judging by the results from women’s lifestyle and homemaking magazine
publisher Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.
MSLO said total revenues fell 11% from $42.2 million in the second quarter of 2013 to $37.6 million in the second quarter of 2014, due to
declines across all three of its main divisions -- publishing, merchandising and broadcasting.
Publishing revenues were down 8.3% from $24.2 million to $22.2 million -- reflecting
lower print ad revenues, which more than offset growth in digital revenues, which increased 9% to $5.9 million. Merchandising revenues fell 8.7% from $16.1 million to $14.7 million, and broadcast
revenues shrank from $1.9 million to under $1 million.
MSLO’s overall financial performance improved despite the revenue drops, with income rising from a small loss in the
second quarter of 2013 to a gain of $2.2 million in the second quarter of 2014. This was largely due to stringent cost-cutting measures. Previously the company laid off around 100 employees, equal to
a quarter of its total staff, in December 2013.
“For the past several months," stated MSLO CEO Dan Dienst, "we have been focused on managing our costs and expenses without in
any way sacrificing our high quality content and designs… With the business stabilized, our business unit realignments behind us, and efficiencies and productivity measures being rigorously
monitored, we are now keenly focused on the many growth opportunities ahead of us across all verticals and all geographies.”
Dienst was alluding to MSLO’s rough transition
out of a high-profile merchandising deal with JCPenney after it ran into legal trouble. In October of last year, amid a high-profile lawsuit brought by Macy’s, JCPenney announced that it would
terminate its troubled merchandising partnership with MSLO in 2017 -- four years earlier than previously agreed. JCPenney also returned 11 million shares in MSLO that it purchased as part of the deal,
equal to around 17% of the company.
MSLO has also moved away from broadcasting, cutting back its live TV programming production.