Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE: MSO) completed a significant turnaround both in its online segment and in general during Q4. The company swung to a profit of $21.3 million from Q408′s $4.5 million loss. Online revenues were up 28 percent to $7.6 million, while the segment’s adjusted EBITDA almost doubled to $2.6 million. Even as a number of publishers began shaking off ’09′s online ad weakness, MSLO’s web ad dollars were comparatively robust, rising 30 percent as well. While MSLO can expect healthy online ad revenues into Q1, as the recession’s pressures continue to ease up a bit, the company is also turning increasingly to e-commerce and mobile, with this week’s release of its first iPhone app “Martha’s Everyday Food,” which MSLO is charging $0.99 per download. While online surged, the publishing side’s revenues slipped 4.5 percent, though the declines appear to be slowing.
Even during a recession, lifestyle media tends to hold up a little better as consumers tend to look for advice on doing well while spending less. That appears to be the case with MSLO’s online success in the quarter, though the all-important holiday season tends to be the stronger. Citing comScore (NSDQ: SCOR) figures, MSLO said pageviews were up 85 percent, while monthly uniques grew 73 percent year-over-year in Q4, reaching 5 million individual users in December.
Although digital remains a small piece of the revenue pie, that segment and broadcasting’s decent showing helped produce the turnaround. Even though publishing revenues dropped slightly, the dip was attributed to lower subscription revenues, which offset the segment’s first ad gains since Q208.