The Economics of Martha Stewart Living

BusinessWeek recently reported on the creative product-placement deals that daytime TV shows employ. The highlight of the article is Martha Stewart — the self-described “most trusted guide to stylish living” — discussing with pure candor her capitalizing ways: “I like to inform people about good things.”

Stewart’s syndicated NBC show, which airs daily at 4 PM, is currently lagging in the ratings and can only charge advertisers about $10,000 for a 30-second spot, as opposed to $18,000 for The View or a staggering $100,000 for Oprah. But if an advertiser spends at least $250,000 total on ads during a season, the money also buys a special “branded segment” on the show, along with mentions in Stewart’s magazine and radio broadcast.

It seems the idea is working: airtime for Martha Stewart Living is sold out through the 2007-08 season. Latecomers or advertisers who don’t want to invest the full $250,000 can also buy a “one-time in-show oral mention with product close-up,” as BusinessWeek calls it, for $100,000, while a two-minute segment that “works in an advertiser’s talking points” starts at $250,000.

It would be interesting to see what Stewart’s fans think of the system. Do they enjoy her product “suggestions” and appreciate her candor? Or might the product placements have something to do with her lag in the ratings?

Leave A Comment

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

 

COMMENTS: 14

View All Comments »
  1. wk633 says:

    I remember a David Letterman many years ago when they tried to get him to endorse a product as they went to commercial. Letterman did it, but with a great deal of obvious disdain. I think he even took to putting the product in the hands of a cardboard cutout of himself. They (I think it was still NBC) canned the idea pretty quickly. Too bad not everyone on TV has the integrity to separate the ads from the content.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  2. wk633 says:

    I remember a David Letterman many years ago when they tried to get him to endorse a product as they went to commercial. Letterman did it, but with a great deal of obvious disdain. I think he even took to putting the product in the hands of a cardboard cutout of himself. They (I think it was still NBC) canned the idea pretty quickly. Too bad not everyone on TV has the integrity to separate the ads from the content.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  3. Raymond says:

    Integrity is what you do when no one is looking; I see no lack of it in the above. She sells a lifestye, lifestyles come with supporting products; it’s no more than I would expect. Bear in mind that she has never disguised the nature of her activities.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  4. Raymond says:

    Integrity is what you do when no one is looking; I see no lack of it in the above. She sells a lifestye, lifestyles come with supporting products; it’s no more than I would expect. Bear in mind that she has never disguised the nature of her activities.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  5. lintman says:

    >”Bear in mind that she has never disguised the nature of her activities.”

    I disagree, unless all the “branded segments” and mentions are *plainly* apparent as paid advertising.

    I’m not a MS fan and have rarely seen her show, but if I randomly came across her show on TV, and watched for a while, during which she says how *wonderful* some product is for whatever she’s doing, my expectation would have been that she really did think highly of the product for that activity, rather than that she was paid to say that or that she chose that activity specifically to highlight that product. To me, that’s rather sleazy and misleading.

    But if, say, the “branded segments” actually were present as “brought to you by Product X”, and then she praises the product, that’s fine. It doesn’t need to be that explicit, but it should be apparent.

    Maybe I’m naive, but when an authority on something expresses information and and opinion on something within their domain on their own TV/radio show or magazine designed to provide just such type of information and opinion, I expect it to be honest and not up for the highest bidder. If I can’t trust the content to be honest and unbiased, I might as well watch infomercials.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  6. lintman says:

    >”Bear in mind that she has never disguised the nature of her activities.”

    I disagree, unless all the “branded segments” and mentions are *plainly* apparent as paid advertising.

    I’m not a MS fan and have rarely seen her show, but if I randomly came across her show on TV, and watched for a while, during which she says how *wonderful* some product is for whatever she’s doing, my expectation would have been that she really did think highly of the product for that activity, rather than that she was paid to say that or that she chose that activity specifically to highlight that product. To me, that’s rather sleazy and misleading.

    But if, say, the “branded segments” actually were present as “brought to you by Product X”, and then she praises the product, that’s fine. It doesn’t need to be that explicit, but it should be apparent.

    Maybe I’m naive, but when an authority on something expresses information and and opinion on something within their domain on their own TV/radio show or magazine designed to provide just such type of information and opinion, I expect it to be honest and not up for the highest bidder. If I can’t trust the content to be honest and unbiased, I might as well watch infomercials.

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  7. frankenduf says:

    lintman- Martha Stewart “sleazy and misleading”?- what’s next, u wanna throw her in jail?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0
  8. frankenduf says:

    lintman- Martha Stewart “sleazy and misleading”?- what’s next, u wanna throw her in jail?

    Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0