In yesterday’s New York Times, in an article on Martha and her company’s response to their own sluggish revenues, Martha helped unveil the redesigned Martha Stewart Living magazine. From the photograph that accompanied the article, and a quote attributed to the magazine’s editor in chief, Pilar Guzman, it would appear “the days of 1,000 word front-of-book stories are over.”
A photograph of the magazine’s cover (below) shows a heavy focus on cooking and recipes, which matches nicely the focus of Martha’s current television presence, now solely her “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School” on PBS, on which she demonstrates various cooking techniques.
Hard to tell the extent of the changes from just these photographs, but it sure looks very “how-to”, doesn’t it? This step-by-step approach to presenting recipes is reminiscent of the content once found in the company’s “Everyday Food Magazine”, shuttered in late 2012. An absence of editorial, and a shift to cooking-only content, would also explain the recent departure of long-time design guru and legend, Gael Towey. (We FOMs miss you, Gael!)
FOMs: What do you think of the changes? To you, does this make Martha Stewart Living a more attractive magazine? Does this change the way you feel about Martha Stewart, the brand?
From the New York Times article:
“We understand that people are coming for short, consumable bites of information,” said Joseph Lagani, the company’s chief revenue officer. “People are not spending an hour with you. They’re there to get something.”
The redesign represents a large shift for Ms. Stewart, who built her reputation and her company largely on the strength of her cut-no-corners approach to cooking and crafts.
“I don’t want to retire,” Ms. Stewart said as she sat in a conference room framed by views of the Hudson River. “We’re trying to help figure it out. I don’t think it’s anything to run away from. I’m not banging my head against a stone wall here.”
In part, the redesign is an attempt to hang on to the magazine’s readers and artisans ages 18 to 34 who have become loyal fans. And like many publishers, the company is betting that video can help solve the online advertising riddle.
“That approach of putting cooking techniques near our recipes in video form has done really well,” Mr. Lagani said, “and many of our advertisers want to be part of that.”