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Winfrey, Hearst to Test a Home Design Magazine

O at Home will be bundled with O for October and may lead to a regular publication.

August 06, 2003|From Times Wire Services

Martha, move over. Here comes Oprah.

She has advised millions of loyal fans on what to read, how to manage relationships and how to lose weight. Next, Oprah Winfrey will be serving up advice on furniture and bedspreads.

Hearst Corp., which publishes O, the Oprah Magazine, will distribute a 44-page home design supplement called O at Home, bundling it with the October issue.

Hearst, which also publishes Cosmopolitan and Esquire, said it was making the move after having seen the popularity of an earlier supplement to O devoted to home decorating. That supplement, distributed last December, sold a hefty 850,000 copies on newsstands.

All 1.6 million subscribers to O will receive the O at Home supplement, Hearst spokeswoman Jessica Kleiman said. The closely held company will publish two more test issues next year and may turn it into a regular publication, she said.

Hearst's testing of an offshoot of O comes as circulation of the monthly women's magazine slipped during 2002. Average newsstand and subscription sales fell 11% to 2.26 million for the six months ended in December from 2.53 million a year earlier, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations.

Hearst is testing the idea as sales of lifestyle magazine Martha Stewart Living have slipped. Subscriptions and newsstand sales of the magazine fell 3.3% to 2.36 million last year. Martha Stewart, founder of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc., resigned as chief executive in June after pleading not guilty to criminal charges related to a stock sale.

Bloomberg News and Associated Press were used in compiling this report.

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