Time Inc. Launches “People Perks” Paid Membership Program
At $5.99/month, the program represents the company's latest push to decrease its dependence on advertising.
In a bid to drum up more direct-from-the-consumer revenue, Time Inc. announced Wednesday the launch of People Perks, a new membership program tied to its People brand.
Memberships cost $5.99 per month or $60 annually, and include deals and discounts at a range of national retailers like Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Staples, and Walmart, as well as the opportunity to win exclusive “celebrity and red carpet experiences,” like behind-the-scenes access at the Oscars and Tony Awards and passes to the Entertainment Weekly/People Upfront presentations.
“The People Perks membership program provides access to a very wide variety of savings,” said People editor-in-chief Jess Cagle in a statement. “It also enables our retail partners an opportunity to connect and engage with the People audience in new ways.”
The magazine’s food-focused October 9th issue, which arrives on newsstands today, features several restaurants offering deals to People Perks members, including Applebees, The Cheesecake Factory, and The Olive Garden, among several others.
The second such membership program launched by Time Inc. in as many months, People Perks arrives as the company looks to make up for slumping advertising revenues that evidently failed to meet expectations on both sides of the print and digital divide in Q3.
“The company has experienced softness in both print & other advertising revenues and digital advertising revenues relative to the expectations communicated on its second quarter earnings call,” reads an SEC filing dated September 22.
In the filing, Time Inc. outlined some potential new revenue sources that it says could help make up for those advertising shortcomings, in addition to the over $400 million in cost-savings it plans to pursue through initiatives like sharing more content across verticals and reducing circulation costs.
In addition to branded content and video, new revenue opportunities, the filing says, could include more bookazines, deeper consumer targeting through audience analytics, and “optimizing” print rate bases, publishing frequencies, and magazine cover prices.
An additional cash infusion could come from the company selling off titles, particularly: Coastal Living, Sunset, Golf, and its majority stake in Essence.
At press time, shares in Time Inc. are up about 3.5 percent to $13.35 since the People Perks program was announced.