Martha Stewart Living Fourth-Quarter Earnings Decline

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Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) is in "active discussions" on a new deal with Hallmark Channel, according to the network.

The year-ago result had been boosted by the sale of a stake in WeddingWire, but broadcasting revenue in the latest period continued to drop.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia on Tuesday reported lower fourth-quarter earnings than in the year-ago quarter, which had benefited from a gain on the sale of the company's stake in WeddingWire.

The lifestyle media firm posted a profit of $1.1 million, down from $4.2 million in the year-ago period, which included a $4.7 million gain from the sale of the stake. But operating profit amounted to $1.4 million, compared with a year-ago loss of $40,000. The fourth quarter of 2012 included $3.5 million in charges related to the restructuring of the company's media business. 

Revenue declined from $61.7 million to $56.4 million as broadcasting revenue was cut in half and publishing revenue also dropped, partially offset by higher merchandising revenue.

The broadcasting revenue decline reflects the absence of live TV programming as the company concluded The Martha Stewart Show in mid-2012. Operating profit in the broadcasting unit came in at $3.0 million, though, in the fourth quarter, compared with an operating loss of $1.1 million in the year-ago period.

Dan Taitz, interim principal executive officer, mentioned "important actions taken to lower our cost structure and align our businesses for the future." But he added: "MSLO still has much work to do in 2013 as the company positions itself to return to sustained profitability."

During a brief earnings conference call, management said it was looking to develop video content for all platforms and would pursue opportunities to get license fees for programming. The company also said that pay-for subscription content online could grow over time, but would not be a significant contributor this year.


Twitter: @georgszalai