Martha Stewart Living's Broadcasting Unit Swings to First-Quarter Profit

Martha Stewart
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"The studio is buzzing. My BlackBerry is buzzing. ... The Internet is buzzing, and it's all because of my daughter Alexis. She's at it again."

Revenue in the division fell sharply though without "The Martha Stewart Show," which ended its run last year.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia on Tuesday reported mixed first-quarter financials.

The company's first-quarter loss narrowed to $3.3 million from $3.6 million in the year-ago period, but  the latest period included a $2.7 million gain on the sale of a subscriber list. Restructuring charges of $523,000 were a drag on the latest figure.

MSLO's operating loss narrowed from $4.2 million to $3.0 million. Revenue fell from $49.8 million to $37.2 million.

"First-quarter results were a bit better than expected on the bottom line, but overall in line with our plans as we position MSLO for the future," said Dan Taitz, interim principal executive officer. "Overall we remain focused on taking the right steps to drive more profitable revenue from our strong brands and return the company to sustainable growth."

The company's broadcasting unit swung to a first-quarter operating profit of $1.0 million after a year-ago loss of $1.4 million. But revenue of $1.2 million was down from $5.4 million in the first quarter of 2012.  "The overall decline from the prior-year period results reflects the absence of live television programming, as the company concluded The Martha Stewart Show in mid-2012," the firm said.

The second season of Martha Stewart's Cooking School and the first season of Martha Bakes premiered on PBS stations nationwide in April.

MSLO's merchandising unit posted lower revenue and operating profit for the first quarter. Publishing revenue dropped, but the unit's loss narrowed.

On its earnings conference call, the company said it had no update on its search for a new CEO after the departure of Lisa Gersh. The company's board has had conversations with candidates and will provide an update at the appropriate time, the company said.


Twitter: @georgszalai