Meredith takes over editorial and operational duties at Martha Stewart branded magazines
Wits Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia now gone, the responsibilities for editorial would have shifted to Sequential Brands Group, the new owner of the brand. But, of course, Sequential Brands has no interest in magazines, so a new 10-year deal has been reached with Meredith Corporation for them to take over all control of the magazine.
Meredith had previously had a deal with Martha Stewart to represent, print and deliver the title, but this essentially hands over total control of the title to Meredith, though it is not an outright sale.
Meredith remains in the middle of a merger with Media General, following that company’s flirtation with Nexstar. Media General shareholder groups still prefer the deal with Nexstar because of its lack of print baggage, but so far no deal has been reached, so the Meredith-Media General deal may still be alive.
Here is the announcement for the new deal with Sequential Brands for Meredith to handle editorial duties for Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings:
NEW YORK and DES MOINES, Iowa – December 22, 2015 – the leading media and marketing company serving 100 million unduplicated American women monthly and more than 60 percent of U.S. Millennial women – and Sequential Brands Group, Inc. – which owns, promotes, markets, and licenses a portfolio of consumer brands in the fashion, home, active, and lifestyle categories – announced today a restructuring of Meredith’s licensing agreement with the Martha Stewart media properties.
Under a new 10-year contract – which replaces a prior agreement reached with the former Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia announced on October 15, 2014 – Meredith’s National Media Group will assume the editorial and operational teams for all print, digital and video functions for the Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings media brands, including www.marthastewart.com and www.marthastewartweddings.com. Additionally, Meredith will continue to lead sales and marketing, circulation, production, and related functions. The agreement continues to apply to the United States and Canada, with opportunities for further overseas expansion.
“The change will be invisible to the consumer, and will help to further strengthen the Martha Stewart brand in the advertising marketplace,” said Meredith National Media Group President Tom Harty.
Martha Stewart, Founder and Chief Creative Officer, said, “This new agreement is a natural evolution of our partnership with Meredith Corporation and will allow our magazines to realize their full potential. I’m extremely proud of our editorial team and the work they do to deliver inspiring content to readers everywhere. I’m confident that the Martha Stewart editorial team, along with Meredith’s leadership, will be a powerful combination that will evolve the opportunities for our invaluable content and grow the reach of our magazines for years to come.”
Martha Stewart Living is published 10 times annually with a ratebase of 2.1 million. Its readership is more than 10 million, including 1.75 million Millennial women, according to Mediamark Research Institute. Martha Stewart Weddings, a quarterly publication, is the #1-selling bridal magazine on newsstands. The Meredith Weddings Group, a collaboration between Martha Stewart Weddings and mywedding.com, reaches a combined audience of 6.4 million and ranks #1 in page views per online visitor in its competitive set. Additionally, Martha Stewart’s digital properties average 8 million monthly unique visitors and 60 million views, according to comScore.
“This is a groundbreaking partnership for the Martha Stewart media properties as they will now be fully integrated with one of the leading media companies in the world and well positioned to grow their audience,” said William Sweedler, Chairman of Sequential. “This transaction allows our team to focus on our core strength which is activating new growth channels in the merchandising vertical.”
The Martha Stewart brand reaches approximately 100 million consumers across all media and merchandising platforms each month. Martha Stewart branded products can be found in over 70 million households and has a growing retail presence in thousands of locations. Throughout the years, the Martha Stewart media and merchandising properties have been recognized by the industry for its award-winning content including multiple national magazine awards, multiple ASME awards for excellence in design and photography, 19 Emmys, 3 James Beard Awards, several Webby Awards and more.
The agreement will not have a material effect on Meredith’s fiscal 2016 second quarter financial performance. Meredith will provide more details on its fiscal 2016 second quarter earnings call on January 27, 2016.