Martha Stewart Mag Slashes Ad Rate Base

13 October 2003

In a further sign that the woes of US homemaking guru Martha Stewart are affecting her media empire, the magazine that bears her name is slashing its advertising rate base by 22%.

Monthly cooking and decorating title Martha Stewart Living will reduce its rate base – the circulation guaranteed to advertisers – from 2.3 million to 1.8m starting in January. At the same time, the cost of a one-page colour ad will fall to $107,640 (€90,987; £64,500) from $129,766.

Executive vp for advertising and marketing Suzanne Sobel called the cut "a conscious strategic decision" and the right choice "for the future of our magazine and the future of our company."

Sharon Patrick, ceo of the title's owner Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, observed that the publication had suffered at the hands of competitors and from "this time of uncertainty".

The "uncertainty" in question is whether or not Stewart will be convicted for an alleged fraud. She has pleaded not guilty to five criminal charges relating to the insider trading scandal at biotech firm ImClone and is due in court on January 12 [WAMN: 05-Jun-03].

Stewart's troubles have hit the performance of her media and merchandising properties, with ad pages in Martha Stewart Living estimated to have fallen 33% in the first ten months of this year. In contrast, rivals Real Simple and Better Homes and Gardens have seen rises in ad pages and suffered no circulation falls over the same period.

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff