Time Inc. Launching ‘Digital Desks’ and Streamlining Production
A leaked memo reveals new digital content strategy.
Time Inc. isn’t done retooling its organization quite yet. Ad Age obtained a copy of a “progress report” sent out to Time Inc. staffers on Monday from chief content officer, Alan Murray, outlining a new digital strategy.
The memo reveals plans to launch 10 new “digital desks” that will aggregate content according to topics.
Folio:'s sister publication min reached out to Time Inc. for details and for a copy of the memo but the company declined to provide either. Given that, it’s difficult to say what this means for the company’s brand-by-brand org chart, or if it will require staff reductions or additions.
Details released by Ad Age in the memo reveal that each desk will have current brand editors populating their respective sites along with ‘digital desk heads.’ “The job of each desk will be to cultivate and grow our digital audiences in its area. The desks will include reporters and editors from different brands who will continue to work for those brands, but the desk heads will coordinate their efforts to help Time Inc. innovate and grow.”
In the memo, Murray made an effort to put staffers’ minds at ease by ensuring them the company isn’t centralizing edit teams across brands but did emphasize the importance of change. “It is a reflection of the reality that the way we reach devoted digital audiences is very different from the way we reach magazine audiences, and it requires a different organization and approach.”
In addition to the digital desks, the company is also streamlining its production system. Production teams will now work across brands in “hubs” to produce what is still Time Inc.’s cash cow—print magazines. The company has made no secrets that it’s looking to trim the fat where it can and continue to reduce costs, which it has done aggressively over the past several quarters.
An undisclosed source, formerly with Time Inc., tells min that the changes are likely stirring up some fear and uncertainties given all the recent layoffs. What’s more, the source suggests this could be a precursor to more staff reductions. But, the source went on to say the decision seems smart in the long run because it could minimize opportunity loss and allow editors to focus more on brand-specific content, as opposed to fast-paced daily news and clickbait that lacks a brand’s voice.
This article first ran in Folio:'s sister publication min on 9/27.