One year in: 7 ways Time Inc. has gone digital post-spinoff
When Time Inc. spun off from parent company Time Warner a year ago, the outlook was grim. The magazine company’s earnings had shrunk to $370 million down from $1 billion in 2006, and it was saddled with $1.3 billion in debt. Not exactly an auspicious start for the newly public company.
A year in, things are still dicey. The company’s revenue fell 8.7 percent last quarter to $680 million, due in large part to sinking print advertising revenue, which still represents upwards of 80 percent its ad revenue.
“While there are some marketers who remain devoted to physical print publications — especially large ones with substantial absolute scale — most are using digital media to satisfy marketing goals that in prior decades would have relied upon national magazines,” said Brian Wieser, senior analyst at Pivotal, painting a bleak picture for Time Inc. and other print-centric companies.
As the outlook for print continues to dim, Time Inc. has necessarily invested in digital. Here’s what it’s done in its first year as a public company.
Its digital footprint is growing.
Print circulation may be shrinking, but Time’s digital audience continues to climb. Time’s sites, which include People, Fortune and InStyle, got 104 million U.S. uniques in May, nearly double their traffic from a year before, according to comScore.
It’s gone deep on video.
If print is Time Inc.’s past, the Web and digital video are its future. Time said at its Newfronts presentation this year that it plans to produce 10,000 videos in 2015 alone. That output has included new franchises, such as its upcoming series about astronaut Scott Kelly, as well as video extensions of its existing properties. The company also is increasing its distribution partners and announced new ways of buying video by topic and audience segments and new video ad formats.
It has relentlessly cut costs.
Being profitable also means cutting costs — and jobs. In January alone, Time Inc. laid off the editor and publisher at All You and a roughly 12 staffers at Sports Illustrated and InStyle. Staffers fear the layoffs aren’t over.
It has launched new digital-only properties.
Time Inc., a legacy brand, needs to win over the hearts and minds of today’s young people. To turn that around, in January, it launched The Snug, a DIY and home-decorating site that pulls content from other Time properties. It followed that up in March with beauty site Mimi and, last week, with The Drive, a vertical for car lovers.
“Moves to redefine themselves as a multiplatform, content-driven media company in sports, fashion, news, etc., are tangible signs of this progress,” said Kreisky Media Consultancy founder Peter Kreisky.
It has pushed paywalls.
An over-reliance on the whims of advertisers hasn’t served Time Inc. particularly well — so Time Inc. is trying to get more cash from readers themselves. In May, it rolled out a metered paywall for Entertainment Weekly, which asks readers to cough up $1.99 a month for digital access after they read 15 articles a month. The company plans to introduce paywalls to other properties this summer.
It has made acquisitions.
Time Inc’s mission to rebrand itself as a digitally integrated company has put it in buying mode. In June 2014, it acquired tech company Cozi, which creates tools to help families stay organized. In May, it spent roughly $12 million on sports site Fansided. More recently, it scooped up sports information companies SportsSignup and League Athletics; iScore, which operates scoring apps for youth sports leagues; and events company inVNT. The sports sites will be rolled up into new unit called Sports Illustrated Play.
It has invested in tech.
In this age of full-stack media companies, tech is destiny. Under CTO Colin Bodell, an eight-year Amazon vet, Time Inc. is centralizing its disparate technologies to better enable it to build new products for advertisers and readers. That means building a common CMS for all of its properties, accelerating its product development and even building a company-wide e-commerce platform.
How NBC’s News Group is shaping NBCUniversal’s commerce bets
The nearly 50-person group now oversees two shopping shows, commerce sub-brands across three NBC News properties and direct deal-making for a growing list of sister brands.
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: How publishers with teen audiences are making their Instagram presences more inclusive
In this week's Media Briefing, media reporter Sara Guaglione reports on what Bustle and Teen Vogue are doing to make sure their Instagram accounts don't contribute to the platform's reported negative impact on teen girls' wellbeing.
‘Levers being pulled that are unseen’: Measurement errors inside Amazon’s OSP program setting publishers on edge
A series of reporting errors has become emblematic of a program that has grown increasingly frustrating for its participants over the past year.
SponsoredHow publishers can future-proof their contextual advertising strategy
Sal Cacciato, managing director, North America, video intelligence The discourse on contextual targeting has moved from “if” to “how.” Publishers are well aware that they need to be packaging their audiences in ways that enable contextual targeting, but many are still asking themselves what is the best way to achieve that goal. In a telling […]
Axios has made $1M in revenue from its eight-month-old software licensing business
Less than a year in, Axios HQ is bringing in more revenue than expected, but the challenges of a tech company are different than those of a media company.
Why The Telegraph thinks retiring some newsletters will actually help grow subscriptions
After shuttering a half-dozen newsletters this year and consolidating others, The Telegraph produces over 40 editorial newsletters, eight of which are exclusive to paid subscribers.