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Time Inc. is Really, Really Excited About Tablets

Ann Moore: ‘It’s a business model that is just really very delicious.’


Jason Fell By Jason Fell
05/27/2010 -21:37 PM






Magazine publishers are jumping on the Apple iPad app bandwagon in droves and arguably for good reason. It’s a sleek, nifty device that not only has captured the attention and imagination (and dollars) of consumers but also is a vibrant new platform for distributing content.

At Time Inc.—which already has launched apps for Time and Entertainment Weekly—the vibe among upper management is of sheer enthusiasm. By upper management, I’m referring specifically to CEO Ann Moore.

During parent company Time Warner’s “Investor Day” Thursday, Moore updated attendees on the division’s recent performance (it reported an operating income of $50 million during the first quarter 2010, versus a loss of $32 million during the same period last year) and gushed about providing paid content through mobile and portable devices.

In addition to the Time and Entertainment Weekly apps, Moore said the company is readying several more from its other magazine brands, including a People app and food, beauty and cleaning apps for Real Simple.

Here’s a sampling of soundbites from Moore’s presentation and the Q+A session that followed, in no particular order:

At my lunch table today, I was shocked that not one of you had an iPad.

We see the next flood of new portable color touchscreens headed to market in the next 18 months as a game changer. It will be the opportunity that content producers like Time Inc have been waiting for to reestablish value for quality digital content. It’s argued that it will be impossible to get consumers to pay for digital content since they’ve grown up getting everything for free. We disagree.


It’s become increasingly clear that customers will pay for trusted quality content that’s easy to access and fairly priced.

The tablet restores something we lost when we went to the Web. Our readers can once again literally touch our content while still having that familiar “lean back” experience of a magazine. In real time, they can link in instead of linking out to the rest of the story on Time.com.

We’ve spent decades perfecting the craft of making magazines. Now we can apply all that experience to the new virtual magazine, letting consumers feast on incredible images … as well as the stories behind them with just a little flick.

The advertising can be so good it can become content itself. It can help you evaluate products. And when you’ve made your decision it can help to find you a place to buy them.

As more and more hardware manufacturers come in with these e-readers there is just huge demand for our product, for our video product, for my print product—it’ll all be combined. We think very healthy business models will be coming out of it. We’ll be making more money in those businesses than we’ve been making with our traditional dot-coms.

We have a great deal of work to do over next 12 to 18 months, to develop business models, evolve products and talk to consumers and advertisers.

People are paying. We know people will pay for it … it’s a business model that is just really very delicious.

Oh, and one other thing that came up during Time Warner’s Investor Day: the possibility of a Time Inc. sell-off. Company chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes said (again) that it won’t happen, indicating that it is in an “attractive” position in relation to the competition and in a good growth mode for 2010. “It’s a good business, and we’re good at it,” he said.

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