Nancy Davis Kho Graceful living maven leads way in pay-to-play
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By Nancy Davis Kho

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Making good on a new business model she began promoting earlier this spring, Martha Stewart's company Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (NYSE:MSO) has rolled out its first foray into pay-to-download video on www.marthastewart.com. The section of the site dubbed Martha University (http://digbig.com/4yxyw) provides interested readers with how-to videos on topics like recipes, entertaining, home decor and weddings. Each video is priced between US$5.95 on up to $12.95, and comes with options for giving the videos as gifts. iAmplify (http://www.iamplify.com) is providing the video muscle behind the new distribution method. In an interview with PaidContent.org last month (http://digbig.com/4yyad), Stewart said that the move was meant to enhance rather than compete with the site's traditional online ad revenue stream, and is 'meant to get a sense of what its consumerís appetite is for pay-to-download video'. Much of the content available at Martha Stewart is 'Martha Stewart Classics', snippets of archival footage from her television broadcasts. For now the move may look a little schizophrenic, considering that there is free how-to video on other parts of the web site. But it's a shrewd move from the home living queen to try some innovative ways of monetizing content and leveraging social media, one that other publishing companies need to heed. If it works, MSO has gained a new revenue channel and a savvy way of distributing valuable archival content. If it doesn't, MSO can cross 'monetize videos' off the list and try something else. The pressure on publishing companies to figure out smart ways to capture visitors to a free site and convert them to fee-paying consumers, through a magic combination of sought-after content and user friendly delivery, can't be understated. MSO's Martha University moves to the head of the class for giving it a try.

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