Bad things: Martha Stewart Living announces layoffs, fewer magazines

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (s MSLO) is laying off 70 employees, making its monthly recipe magazine Everyday Food a primarily digital publication and selling off wellness magazine Whole Living, the company announced Thursday afternoon ahead of its third-quarter earnings call on Friday.

Facing declining advertising pages and the need to emphasize “digital, mobile and video platforms” over print, the company said that it will stop selling Everyday Food as a standalone monthly publication. Rather, subscribers to the monthly Martha Stewart Living will receive an Everyday Food “supplement” five times a year, and more of its content will be available online starting next year. MSLO will try to sell Whole Living, but if it can’t find a buyer its content will be folded into Martha Stewart Living.

The New York Times‘ Media Decoder blog reported that 70 MSLO employees, out of about 600, are being laid off: “Employees at Martha Stewart Living have not been able to return to work this week because Hurricane Sandy flooded the basement of their downtown offices. As a result, many of them learned of layoffs by phone and e-mail.”

MSLO expects the combined changes to save $33 to $35 million annually. The company also announced a handful of digital initiatives: a new PBS show, “several exciting new digital video series made for the web” and more apps.

“As a whole, MSLO’s total digital audience has grown an average of 20 to 25 percent year over year every month since January 2012,” president and CEO Lisa Gersh said. “Following a careful evaluation of our media portfolio, we are responding to clear trends we are seeing across the industry to give our consumers what they are telling us they want: more video, more of the inspiration, solutions and expert advice and how-to content our brands offer in digital formats, across more platforms and on a more frequent basis.”