‘Every brand wants to diversify’: A Digiday+ Slack town hall with Time Inc. COO Jen Wong

Jen Wong, Time Inc.’s chief operating officer and president of digital, joined Digiday+ subscribers on Dec. 7 for a Slack town hall. Wong, who’s played an instrumental role in modernizing the back ends of Time Inc.’s brands, its advertising products and its consumer marketing operations, fielded questions about Meredith’s acquisition of Time Inc., her company’s pursuit of new revenue streams and its attempts to respond to the quickly changing demands of programmatic advertisers.

The full conversation is available to Digiday+ subscribers only, but lightly edited excerpts appear below. Click here to subscribe.

Two things we’ll see more of in 2018
[User experience] changes on Snap and fire sales.

Two things we’ll see less of in 2018
Display revenue and venture capitalists in media.

On building new revenue streams
I think every brand wants to diversify — the ad market is quite dynamic, as you know, so it makes sense. We hope they reimagine themselves as broadly as possible — and play wherever they can. They have a lot of permission.

We’ve done a lot to bring together consumer, edit and product engineering to grow these ideas. In fact, so many of the ideas are tested via editorial — to see what the consumer interest is in, say, Southern Living House Plans or Cooking Light Diet.

The new development group is spending a lot of time with the brands. Fortune, for example, is really thinking about [business-to-business] membership, and Sports Illustrated thought of SI OTT as an SVOD service.

On video monetization
It’s very early days for OTT, but we’re testing lots of different models. Expanding distribution for PeopleTV on Twitter gets more audience and inventory against content (ad scale); charging for the Sports Illustrated OTT product also is a new model for us. We’ve been pleased with the consumer interest for SI OTT.

On programmatic
The pace of change is definitely fast — and I am optimistic that tech partners can keep up with this. We’re proactive and open about our requirements to third parties and what we need to build internally. I’d like to see PG (programmatic guaranteed) infrastructure improve. I think there are places where joining forces could make sense, but consortiums are not easy.

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