Martha Stewart Shares Thoughts on Publishing, Digital Media and Parole
Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia’s five magazines will gradually have to shift their emphasis from print to online, while keeping in mind that, to some people, print is still important, the company’s founder said at an American Society of Magazine Editors-sponsored luncheon with 150 media executives at the Princeton Club in New York.
In between jokes about the terms of her parole, which is set to end March 3, and being from serving as an officer of the company she founded, Martha Stewart offered her thoughts Wednesday on digital media, branding and importance of having quality employees during an "interview" with Joanne Lipman, editor of Conde Nast’s soon-to-launch Portfolio magazine.
Stewart said her magazines, which include Martha Stewart Living, Body & Soul, and Blueprint, and posted increased earnings in the first nine months of last year, pen 140 original recipes per month, rarely run a correction and give consumers value in every issue. "In publishing, people have to be aware of what’s going on with the Internet," she said. "But, to many people, magazines are valuable, essential and inspirational. And you have to be all those things if you want to survive."
Here are some of her other thoughts.
On digital media: "The youth of America and the youth of the world really are looking for that one device to communicate with, to read with, to do research with," she said. "That said, there are still people who want a print product to hold, to carry, to read and hopefully those people will be around a little longer. But I think the longer we go, the more our audience is going to gravitate toward that (online) medium."
On branding and the importance of television as a medium: "We do 180 hours of television in a season," she said. "It’s exhausting, but it’s terribly important to the rest of the business because that makes people aware of what we’re doing at Martha Stewart Living."
On competition and hiring quality employees: "We don’t look at competition in the way other people do," she said. "We look at it as prodding us to continue to evolve and to continue to be creative. We really have a team of geniuses that work at Martha Stewart Living. It’s all about quality control and the quality of who you hire."
On the Security and Exchange Commission ruling barring her from serving as an officer of her own company: "I think it’s pretty mean," she quipped. "It’s not frustrating because I have so much more to do and I know the company is in capably hands and I can be informed and I can give advice. I can still talk creatively. I just can’t talk figures."
On the terms of her parole: "I think the whole system’s screwed up," she said. "Oh, if anyone in here is a felon or on parole, don’t talk to me. Seriously, because then I have to report it."