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Martha Serves Up DVDs

11 Oct, 2005 By: Anne Sherber

Martha Stewart and Warner execs celebrate the launch of her new line of how-to DVDs.

New York -- Unwilling to allow the unseasonably warm and humid New York weather to dictate the sort of clothing it's appropriate to wear in early October, Martha Stewart arrived at a cocktail reception Oct. 6 to celebrate the launch of her new line of DVDs wearing a heavy, shawl-collared grey sweater and wool skirt.

With scenes from the new programs playing on monitors to each side of her, in the course of 10 minutes the domestic diva transformed a table set for dinner into a piece of three-dimensional Thanksgiving art using an assortment of gourds, all the while bantering about her new series of theme-based DVDs, which, she noted, are culled from 12 years of television programming. While admonishing the audience never to put fingers on wine glasses, but to always hold them by the stems, Stewart noted the goal of the new series of DVDs and, indeed, the goal of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, is to be “the purveyor of as much good information as possible.”

These new programs are Stewart's first foray into home video. Warner Home Video (WHV) approached Stewart and her company last summer with the idea of breathing new life into the how-to category, said Jeff Brown, SVP and GM of non-theatrical franchise for WHV.

Rather than releasing unedited episodes of Stewart's television program, WHV and Stewart's company designed programs that revolve around specific topics. For example, the Thanksgiving program features Stewart presenting five different recipes for turkey, as well as an assortment of side dishes, desserts, decorating projects and kids' crafts. Brown noted that DVD and, particularly, the DVD-ROM function, allow for a level of interactivity that was impossible with VHS. The programs all include printable shopping lists and recipes, printable craft templates, meal planners, glossaries and more.

“These programs are unique to the how-to category,” Brown said.

The first titles in the series, Martha's Classic Thanksgiving, Martha's Homemade Holidays, Martha's Favorite Family Dinners and a three-disc gift set, Martha's Holidays 2005, debuted Oct. 11. The single discs retail at $19.98 each; the boxed set, which includes the bonus disc, Martha's New Year's Celebration, at $39.98. Brown said WHV plans to release between six and 10 titles each year; he said tentative topics for 2006 include weddings, Halloween and gardening.

A total of 64 programs are planned, Stewart said.

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