— Stephanie D. Smith
NOTABLY ABSENT: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia executives Susan Lyne, Wenda Harris Millard and Howard Hochhauser touted a great 2007 at the annual Jeffries Internet Conference Wednesday afternoon, but one area of business notably absent from their discussion was the new upscale women's magazine said to be in the works. The company is reportedly working on a prototype for a lifestyle magazine for women over 40, with the working title of M. A prototype was said to be finished by last spring, followed by a test issue in the fall. (As WWD reported in December, one source cited a roundtable billed on the table of contents page as: "Martha Stewart, three friends, a bottle of wine and a burning issue: sex after 50.") But sources close to the magazine have heard very little about the launch since late last year, when the company laid off a handful of staffers and shuttered its thirtysomething lifestyle title, Blueprint. On Wednesday, the Martha Stewart Living executives mentioned nothing about launching titles, nor about folded ones — the closure of Blueprint was mentioned only in passing as chief financial officer Hochhauser read through the company's financials.
Instead, executives said MSLO's areas for growth were in online and licensing, specifically within subject matters of wedding, whole living and food. The company recently took a 40 percent stake in online wedding vendor site WeddingWire.com, which complements its existing Martha Stewart Weddings franchise. MSLO also acknowledged its Body + Soul magazine is a jump-off for expansion into healthy living, while its recent purchase of the Emeril Lagasse brand was described by Hochhauser as an "asset-light, high-margin" business worth about $50 million. "This is a great time for our company," said chief executive officer Lyne. "We restored the revenue base, and in 2007, returned MSLO to profitability and positive cash flow."