IQ News: A Good Web Thing – Martha Stewart to Launch Web Site

The domestic doyenne and queen of all media, Martha Stewart, is rounding out her portfolio with the launch of a Web site next Monday. The site is timed to launch with a new daily airing of Stewart’s syndicated TV show, Martha Stewart Living. Her radio show, Ask Martha, also begins syndication through Westwood One Networks next week.
The site will initially serve as an information resource to accompany the shows, in the way her monthly magazine, Martha Stewart Living, carries details on products and services mentioned on television. The site will also feature a commerce section devoted to MSL merchandise. Ultimately, the site will evolve into a larger, full-fledged Internet service, to be called-what else?- askMartha.
Omnimedia, Stewart’s media company, has tabbed US Interactive, Malvern, Penn., to create and maintain the site, which already has a sponsorship commitment from Microsoft. As a part of the deal, US Interactive used Microsoft software to develop the site. Omnimedia executives weren’t available to comment, but additional sponsorships have been signed, according to an Omnimedia spokesman.
Sources said sales reps for the magazine and TV show have been offering online opportunities to advertisers. No major online media buyers have been approached directly by Omnimedia reps, according to interactive buyers and reps from likely Web rivals such as CondeNet, Hearst HomeArts and Women’s Wire.
The Omnimedia site should stir up the pot for Web ad spending directed at women. “We’re the veteran,” declared Gina Garrubbo, executive vice president of Women’s Wire publisher Wire Networks. Women’s Wire launched in the fall of 1995. “Hopefully, she’ll bring more women online,” said Garrubbo, who added that the most popular areas on Wire’s Prevention magazine site deal with cooking and weight loss.
Martha Stewart Living online also will compete with HomeArts and CondeNet’s Epicurious. According to Moira McGarvey Black, ad manager at CondeNet, the company may soon enter the home decorating arena with a site tied into Conde Nast’s shelter titles House & Garden and Architectural Digest.