Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Martha Stewart moves to Online Digital

As her deal with the Hallmark Channel expires, Martha Stewart has decided to move from Cable Channels to online distribution for both new and archival video.  The move comes as the industry is finding that DIY content is better suited to an on-demand distribution system.  As Cameron Yuill of AdGent Digital indicated, "How-to content lives better digitally ... because you want to access it when you need it."
  Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSLO) has already inked non-exclusive deals with Hulu and AOL to distribute MSLO video programs.  Hulu indicated that they will launch at least three channels using MSLO content - Martha's Kitchen, Emeril's Table, and DIY Crafts.  For now, short form videos will be culled from the current long-form TV episodes, but MSLO plans to start creating new short-form content featuring Ms. Stewart.
The shift seemed logical to Ms. Stewart, 71, who has adopted mobile technology for both her personal and professional life. "I'm constantly using my three handheld devices/smartphones to talk, look up information and tweet," she said via email. "I love social media because I can get great, instant feedback and stay in touch with a broad audience."
  The move could be risky for MSLO, as it will be competing in a larger and much more competitive online marketplace, in a format (short-form video) that it has little experience with.  Some question whether Martha Stewart's penchant for perfection will translate well online. 
"The internet thrives on imperfection and improvisation," said marketing expert Adam Hanft.  With Martha, he continued,  "every petal of every rose needs to sit perfectly. Julia Child would have been better on the internet... The classic moment when she drops the chicken on the floor fits perfectly with the internet's idea of approachability."
  Still, MSLO points to reports that Martha's 18-34 digital audience is up 40% in the last year, and suggests there is a place for the expert, trusted, and high production quality content that is MSLO's strength. 

  Those are likely competitive advantages, but its unclear how important those attributes are in the online marketplace, or how quickly online advertising will grow to the levels earned on cable.  Too much of a delay in replacing current cable-based revenues could pose real fiscal problems for a firm that's reported losses in 8 of the last 9 years.
  Still, it's a mark of maturity (and critical mass) when strong brands make the move to online video.

Source - Hallmark Deal Over, Martha Stewart Shifts to Digital Video, AdAge

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