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Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Records $8 Million Net Loss For Year - Broadcasting & Cable

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Records $8 Million Net Loss For Year

Broadcasting unit revenue up 17% in 2008, but falls in the fourth quarter
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Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) reported broadcast segment revenue fell slightly in the fourth quarter to $11.1 million down from $12.1 million, because of falling ad revenue, though full year revenue was $47 million up 17.5% slightly from $40 million in 2007. Operating income at the broadcast unit was $2.8 million compared with a loss of $7.5 million in the year ago period.

The company recorded a net loss of $8 million in 2008, down from $33 million. MSLO took a $9 million charge on the falling value of one of its magazines, Body & Soul. Fourth quarter revenue overall was $72.9 million and $284 million for the year.

Wenda Harris Millard, co-chief executive and president media said, “I’m not going to sugar coat it, the advertising market is one of the most challenging any of us have ever seen.” Millard added that digital operations were seeing good traction. Ad revenue at the digital operations grew 23% for the year and 11% for the fourth quarter.

Internet operations recorded $5.9 million in revenue in 2008, operating income was $900,000. The Internet segment recorded revenue of $15.5 million for the year.

MSLO interim principal financial officer, Allison Jacques, declined guidance for 2009 but did provide an outlook for first quarter. She said: “Broadcasting performance is expected to be on par with prior year. Internet advertising revenue is expected to be flat compared to the prior year.”

According to the results the company has reduced its headcount by 12% and is implementing cost-cutting initiatives such as streamlining its creative and production operations.

The company also reported that NBC Universal Domestic Television Syndication renewed The Martha Stewart Show for a fifth season in national syndication, while Discovery’s Planet Green renewed Emeril Green, for a second season which starts in April 2009. The company acquired the Emeril Lagasse franchise in early 2008. A results statement said the company also expected to renew Whatever Martha for a second season with Scripps’ Fine Living.

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