But the namesake's imprint on the new publication is
|'Everyday Food' downplays the Martha Stewart connection.
'Differentiated a lot'
"This is mass," said Ms. Stewart, chairman-CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. "This has to be differentiated a lot" from Martha Stewart Living.
Ms. Stewart has stated in Advertising Age and elsewhere that properties of her publicly traded company will gradually transition away from being so closely identified with her. It's a move analysts and others had pushed for even before allegations of insider trading involving her friend Sam Waksal's company, ImClone, tarnished her business halo and sent the company's stock plummeting. On mid-day Jan. 3, company stock traded at $10.22, far from its 52-week high of $20.93.
Those allegations have had an impact, the company has admitted. In its last Securities and Exchange Commission quarterly filing, the company attributed softening across a wide range of ventures to the ongoing controversy, from magazine circulation and ad revenues to direct-mail response rates to distribution of Martha-branded furniture. For the third quarter of '02, the company's net income fell 42%.
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One major marketer, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, will not advertise in Ms. Stewart's magazines this year, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. A Pfizer spokeswoman
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As a title literally emphasizing the everyday rather than the implicit affluence of her other titles, Everyday Food appears an easy place to separate the company from the person and persona. Its content is almost exclusively simple recipes with relatively quick preparation times.
"The product is all about the food," said Lauren Stanich, the company's president of publishing. "It's a very different kind of magazine" than the flagship.
The magazine, which is digest-sized, retails for $2.95. Three other test issues will follow this year, and the company plans to publish 10 times a year beginning September 2003. Ms. Stanich said that over 50% of the debut issue's 750,000 distribution would go to newsstands.
Its subject and size make it seem ready made for the grocery store check-out pockets, and therefore it seemingly will lean much more heavily on newsstand sales than its corporate siblings.
Page rate: $16,000
While Ms. Stanich said this could be the case, she quickly stressed "we don't know for sure." For her part, Ms. Stewart expressed the hope circulation could be "as equally large" as that of Martha Stewart Living. A one-time full-color Everyday Food ad page is $16,000; that comparable page in Martha Stewart Living with three times the circulation, is just shy of $130,000. Among the advertisers in the debut issue are Campbell's Soup and General Motors' Chevrolet, although Ms. Sobel said none of the advertisers in Everyday Food are new to the company.
The ad-to-editorial ratio is small compared to the flagship, but Ms. Sobel dismissed this concern, saying, "I see it as growing," and stressed its launch in tough times.
Those tough times have impacted Martha Stewart Living, which, according to Media Industry Newsletter, saw ad pages in January fall 28.5% to 50.7. Asked if advertisers remained hesitant to advertise owing to Ms. Stewart's well-publicized woes, Ms. Sobel, without citing specifics, conceded "some are taking a wait-and-see" approach.
The last attempt at a title like Everyday Food came with the Hearst Magazines-backed Mr. Food's Easy Cooking, which published 12 issues before ceasing publication in mid-2000.
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia took out a series of trademarks on variations of "Everyday Food By Martha Stewart" in October 2001 for a range of retail food and household products, indicating the prospect of adding to Ms. Stewart's products line should the magazine take off. The company also trademarked the "Everyday Food" name for future use without Ms. Stewart's name attached as well.
When asked about such potential plans, Ms. Stewart called them "a possibility," but said she was not "at liberty" to discuss specific plans.