Until now, all the digital video featuring the DIY maven had been
culled from highlights of long-form episodes, but MSLO is filming a
short-form series starring Ms. Stewart.
The shift seemed logical to Ms. Stewart, 71, who has adopted
mobile technology for both her personal and professional life. "I'm
constantly using my three handheld devices/smartphones to talk,
look up information and tweet," she said via email. "I love social
media because I can get great, instant feedback and stay in touch
with a broad audience."
The question, however, is whether Ms. Stewart can compete
against the plethora of professional and amateur how-to online
videos and whether her image will translate onto digital media.
Though she's dominated the lifestyle category with TV shows to
coffee-table tomes to consumer products, her company has struggled,
reporting losses in eight of the nine past years. And Ms. Gersh
said during the most recent earnings call that a return to the
black might take longer than expected.
"The internet thrives on imperfection and improvisation," said
marketing expert Adam Hanft.
With Martha, "every petal of every rose needs to sit perfectly.
Julia Child would have been better on the internet ... The classic
moment when she drops the chicken on the floor fits perfectly with
the internet's idea of approachability."
But Ms. Stewart says her brand is growing among younger viewers,
citing ComScore data that show her 18-to-34 digital audience up 40%
over last year.
"There's lots of so-called how-to information out there, but
much of it does not demonstrate the level of expertise, trusted
content or the good production values offered by Martha Stewart
Living," Ms. Stewart said.
Though Ms. Stewart is abandoning ad-supported TV, she can still
be found on PBS this fall in a new series, "Cooking School." The
show will be filmed sans a live audience but with an eye for
broadcasts on the living-room screen as well as clips for the web
and other digital platforms, Ms. Gersh said.
"We are in constant conversations about other TV possibilities,"
Ms. Gersh said.
"What we are trying to emphasize is that it should no longer be
called TV or broadcast but video that can play anywhere."