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Revs start cooking

Ads back in Martha's mags; losses widen

NEW YORK — Martha Stewart’s media conglom saw losses nearly double in the previous quarter — due largely to charges associated with her new syndicated TV show — while revenue grew for the first time in almost three years as once-skittish advertisers returned to the pages of the domestic diva’s mags.

Boost in revs reflected the strides the company has made since Stewart was released from prison last spring.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia reported a loss of $33.5 million in the second quarter, compared with red ink of $17.8 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Company said results included several “unusual charges,” the largest of which was a non-cash charge of $16.8 million for the vesting of certain warrants granted in connection with Stewart’s new syndicated TV show.

There also were certain other employee-related charges of $3.2 million.

Stewart’s daytime show, set to bow Sept. 12, is being exec produced by Omnimedia and Mark Burnett Prods. The two also are exec producing an “Apprentice” spinoff starring Stewart that’s set to air on NBC.

Omnimedia saw revenue rise 4.3% to $46 million from $44.1 million based on the strength of the publishing division, whose revs jumped 34% to $31.7 million on improved ad sales at Martha Stewart Living and Everyday Food.

President-CEO Susan Lyne, former prexy of entertainment at ABC, said all divisions of the company would benefit from syndie show “Martha” and NBC primetime’s “The Apprentice: Martha Stewart.”

Earlier this week, Omnimedia announced it has sold reruns of “Martha” to TLC. As part of the deal, Omnimedia will develop a 13-part home-improvement series to run on TLC or one of its sister networks under the Discovery Communications Umbrella sometime next year. Also, Omnimedia will make available to Discovery’s nets “selections” from its vast library of lifestyle-centric programs.

During the earnings conference call Wednesday, Omnimedia execs said merchandising revenue fell to $10.2 million from $10.9 million on sluggish sales for Martha Stewart’s Kmart line.

Looking ahead, the company projected a third-quarter loss of $25 million-$26 million and a fourth-quarter loss of $1 million-$2 million. Both quarters will again include non-cash charges of about $13 million relating to the vesting of warrants for “Martha.”

Omnimedia shares fell 36¢ to close at $27.65 in trading Wednesday.

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