Time Inc. Highlights Recent Digital Moves, Emphasizes Video For Revamped Sites

A few hours after announcing it was ceasing publication of its Life newspaper insert and having the brand serve as an online photo portal, several Time Inc. executives held a press briefing to highlight the company’s digital moves over the past several months.
And now that the dust has settled on the pink slips the company sent out a few months ago as it shifted more resources to digital (with the exception of the 42 losing jobs because Life is folding), the company has been busily crafting deals and revamping its sites. On the deals front, SI.com executives noted its spree of recent acquisitions and alliances: FanNation, a site through which fans and fantasy game players can blog, track players and comment on the news; a partnership with Takkle, a high school sports online network; and a content deal with NBCSports.com. Aside from purchases, Time Inc. is heavily pushing video and social network initiatives across magazine properties like Essence. The company is planning a significant use of video at People over the next few months.
For SI.com in general, the main idea is to position it as the ultimate sports aggregator, with video from the recent NBCSports.com deal to serving as a news hub with content from teams and competitors like ESPN. “We’re not worried about offering users content from other sites, such as ESPN,” said Jeff Price, president of SI Digital. The site also plans to offer more original video.
CNNMoney has similar plans. The site is now using AJAX to provide automatic refreshes to its revamped custom portfolio page. And so far, worries about diminished pageviews due to users reloading the page have not been significant.
“Pageviews are actually flat, so in light of AJAX, this is actually good news,” said Vivek Shah, president of digital publishing, Time Inc. Business and Finance Network. “We just weren’t proud of our portfolio product before. But the ability to give real-time quotes has changed all that. And advertisers clearly get it. Pageviews might even be obsolete as a metric soon and we’ve gotten enough feedback that tells us this is working.” Like SI.com. the network plans to incorporate a greater amount of original video over the next few months.
It’s a little early in the experiment to have produced huge revenues, said John Squires, Time Inc. EVP: “We hope in the next few months, as we’ve rolled out more features, we’ll have something very positive to report on that front.”
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