Martha Stewart Thinks Wikis Are a Good Thing

At Goldman Sachs Communacopia: Omnimedia to Include Emerging Media

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NEW YORK ( -- Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia is developing a community-oriented website powered by wikis, President-CEO Susan Lyne said yesterday, addressing the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York.
Susan Lyne
Susan Lyne Credit: Sebastian Mlynarski
The company already receives enormous traffic to and is a powerhouse in the lifestyle space, but it has apparently decided to see what else it might do.

"We are at work right now on a second site that will be much more community-based and will have wikis," Ms. Lyne said, "We have only begun to scratch the surface of what is possible."

"We have a pretty good sense of how big TV, magazines and merchandise can get," she said at another point. "The big wild-card opportunity for us really is that internet world. We don't know how far the upside goes."

Branding unclear
Last week a company spokeswoman told Advertising Age's Adages blog that Ms. Stewart's Facebook page was a "placeholder" for a bigger social-media initiative later in the fall, but she was not as explicit as Ms. Lyne was today. It still isn't clear how the new site will be focused or branded, particularly because Ms. Lyne also told the Goldman conference that the company is considering expanding its portfolio of brands.

"We are also looking at diversifying into other brands besides our core brand, Martha Stewart," Ms. Lyne said. The model for this effort, which would primarily involve merchandising but could touch media properties as well, is the Estee Lauder Cos. -- another big company with a famous founder. Estee Lauder has set an example by diversifying beyond its own famous founder's name and into brands such as MAC, Origins, Bobbi Brown and Aveda, according to Ms. Lyne.

Magazines remain central
Although merchandising and the web have become big components of the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia revenue, magazine publishing remains core. Ms. Lyne said the company's magazines -- which include Martha Stewart Living, Everyday Food and Blueprint -- haven't felt any headwinds from the economy or the challenges facing print media. "We have seen quite the opposite," she said. "Our publishing teams have been outperforming our expectations."

The company is also intent on building and selling advertising packages across its print, TV, radio and digital properties, Ms. Lyne said. "Martha was very smart in looking at this company not as a magazine company, not as a TV company, but as an omnimedia company," she said.
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