Battle for the Crafters: Martha vs. Better Homes & Gardens

At UBS Media: Martha Stewart's Susan Lyne, Meredith's Stephen Lacy

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NEW YORK ( -- Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has set its sights on dominating the arts and crafts business, but there could be competition brewing from Meredith Corp. and its powerful Better Homes & Gardens brand.
Susan Lyne and Stephen Lacy
Susan Lyne and Stephen Lacy

A clash over scrapbooks, wrapping supplies and stationery may seem unlikely for a pair of major media companies that operate on TV, in magazines and online. But the better your media brand gets, the more tempting those licensing deals become -- especially when everything in the actual media business is so tough.

Easy opening
It's also precisely the unglamorous, even overlooked quality of the craft business that provides a relatively easy opening.

"This has been a very fragmented market with no national brand, but it's a $30 billion market, so there's clearly a big opportunity here," said Susan Lyne, CEO at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, during her presentation at the annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference this week.

Her company got a head start early this year by entering the market with its licensed Martha Stewart Crafts line, available at Michaels stores, independent retailers and It upped the ante over the summer by investing $10 million in a big crafts products company.

But Stephen M. Lacy, president-CEO of Meredith, didn't seem to see any limit for the Better Homes brand when he was asked about licensing during his own UBS presentation.

'Significant opportunity'
"It is a very significant opportunity from the programs that we have in place," he said. "But we also have a number of categories that we haven't yet had the opportunity to license at retail.

"And if you think of the areas of core content expertise that we speak to with Better Homes & Gardens -- building and remodeling, decorating, gardening and outdoor living, food and all sorts of entertaining, and all types of crafting activities -- there are a number of additional categories."

It's not a cage match over crepe paper yet. But stay tuned.
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