Time Inc looks to new web model

11 March 2009

NEW YORK: Time Inc, the US magazine giant, is considering replacing free web content with subscription services as it looks to lessen its reliance on ad revenues, and is also set to expand its operations in emerging markets like China, India and Turkey.

As previously argued by TV Guide's ceo Scott Crystal, "media driven by consumer advertising have imploded," with magazines one of the mediums at the forefront of this trend.

While Time Inc publishes 125 magazines with a global readership of around 250 million, and takes around 20% of all US magazine adspend, it was included in a broader $10 billion (€7.8bn; £7.2bn) writedown of Time Warner's assets last year.

Its ceo, Ann S Moore, says the company's wide geographical spread exposes it to the "pain" felt by advertisers from US and Asian auto marques to marketers that previously "never knew trouble", such as Starbucks, Target and Toyota.

As a result, she argues that the company needs to "figure out a way to have paid content" on the web in the future, and also suggests the magazine industry should have challenged the idea "that all information should be free" online a long time ago.

Some of Time Inc's most prominent web properties, including Time.com and People.com, could thus soon move to subscription-based models, a strategy which could be further influenced by the fact that online adspend growth is set to slow this year.

The company also plans to launch brand extensions of Fortune magazine in Korea, Turkey China and India, and to expand in other emerging markets.

Data sourced from Telegraph.co.uk; additonal content by WARC staff