NEW YORK — Roughly 40 people — Time Inc. publishers, presidents, editors, and PR directors along with members of the press—gathered on the second floor of the Time and Life Building Wednesday for Time Inc.’s “Digital Showcase,” where Time Inc. EVP John Squires told the crowd that the division’s digital revenues were up $20 million year over year. That growth is led mostly by Sports Illustrated and CNNMoney, he said, with digital revenue contributing about 15 and 20 percent to their respective bottom lines.
Despite the digital revenue growth, Time Inc.’s overall first quarter revenues were relatively flat, falling slightly from $1.048 billion in first quarter 2007 to $1.045 billion this year.
Quick acceleration online is the way the company is moving, Squires said, echoing Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes’ comments during a quarterly conference call that digital growth rates for the company’s magazines could “overcome what may be the flatness in print over time.”
Time Inc. saw a “big upshot” from online video at the end of last year and early this year, Squires said, which contributed to overall digital growth.
To date, CNNMoney is seeing just under 19 million video streams a month, up from an average of 1 million last year, and is looking to compete with television networks like CNBC, maybe more so than its online counterparts. According to Nielsen VideoCensus from March, the title’s online video platform makes up 54 percent of its entire category which includes MSN Money, Forbes.com, TheStreet.com and Wall Street Journal Digital. Its competitive advantage, according to CNNMoney.com’s SVP Jonathan Shar, is its investment in a twelve-person team dedicated to video production, many of whom held high-level positions in television. The videos, in fact, are often streamed on CNN, contributing to the network’s money and finance coverage.
“As video distribution online grows, consumers expectations will rise and we have to be ready to play in that world,” said Squires.
‘Hair Tool’ Success
InStyle.com has seen monthly video streams rise from 70,000 in February to now more than 600,000 and is planning to launch a redesigned video channel in the second quarter 2008. Other plans for InStyle digital include an upcoming relaunch of InStyleWeddings.com and a new, sponsored mobile WAP application launching in July 2008. Its popular Hollywood Hair Tool—which allows users to virtually try on celebrity hair styles—will be joined by a similar tool for makeup in June. When the hair tool launched in August of last year, overall page views for the site increased within two months from 38 milion to 52 million.