Video Gets Star Billing As Time Inc. Shows Off Digital Assets

Video will play a starring role in Time Inc.'s digital future, and the company sees itself in an ideal position to compete directly with networks by creating compelling original stories that arise from the voices of its strong publishing brands.

Executive Vice President John Squires repeatedly touted the video promise during a 90-minute Digital Outlook briefing for the media at Time Inc. headquarters Monday.

"I am very bullish on Time Inc. TV," he said in describing the new Time Inc. Studios formed last November to develop video content. "We can now compete with television for ad dollars, and [the video] is built into our existing Web infrastructure."

Squires opened the briefing with a nod to the passing once again of Life, the print magazine--but promised the brand will endure in a more compelling way as a Web property making a digitized version of its 12 million photographs that can be used and manipulated by consumers. He said two other partners are involved in the project, which will be ready for full disclosure in about four months.



Squires hinted at how Life may be reborn as he described future products enabling consumers to create personal pages encapsulating significant moments in their personal histories.

Squires said the Web should contribute 18% to the total 2007 profit of the Sports Illustrated brand, and 17% to the CNN/Money franchise. He said if Web-based revenues can grow to 25% of each print title within a few years, "we won't have any trouble growing our business."

Citing syndicated data from comScore Media Metrix, Squires said Time Inc. brands ranked 14th in February engagement, averaging 20.4 minutes per visitor to its sites. He celebrated for becoming "the stickiest site in entertainment journalism" in just four months.

Among the "next generation" success stories in the new Time Inc. online arsenal are elements such as the Entertainment Weekly "What to Watch" widget pushing television listings onto Google. Redesigns of both and all rely heavily on aggregating outside content and pushing information out to consumers rather than requiring repeated page loads.

And yes, there is video everywhere.

Chris Peacock, editor of, said for the first time the site created video to accompany its "Best Places to Live" feature. A Business 2.0 series on the "101 Dumbest Business Moves" engaged the services of a comedian to crack wise about such items as Radio Shack firing its employees by email.

The redesign of moved the featured video from the bottom of the page to a prime above-the-fold position. The switch resulted in a 25% increase in video streams, said Managing Editor Paul Fichtenbaum.

Paul Speaker, president of the new Time Inc. Studios, described his first project--bringing to life through video a promotion already set for Essence magazine filming six men using hidden cameras as they proposed to their fiancés on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

The "Will You Marry Me?" videos then played on the Essence Web site. Traffic quadrupled and 10 million votes were cast for the couple to win a honeymoon in South Africa. (All six were eventually awarded a prize.)

The event, conceived by Essence's editor, was sponsored by Tiffany and generated $250,000 in revenue for the magazine. Two more projects are in the works for the title, including a "30 Dates in 30 Days" reality dating series in which readers will tell the daters where to go and what to do.

The strategy, Squires said, will be to continue to use the huge print audiences to promote and steer readers to such new online content as the personalized My SI and CNN/ cookie-based portfolio mashup streaming real-time quotes and news on the 10 stocks you most recently checked.

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