Time Inc tests new ad model

22 November 2012

NEW YORK: Time Inc, the publishing group, is trying to tap the trends towards big data and targeted advertising to drive up revenues both in print and on the internet.

The firm, which owns titles including Time, People, Fortune and Sports Illustrated, has announced the launch of several tools seeking to optimise the placement of ads across its portfolio.

In achieving this goal, it will analyse data from its 130m readers, alongside statistics provided by brands and third parties. The new scheme is operating under the banner "Time Engage".

Time is currently running a test programme with Toyota, the automaker, attempting to attract "active baby boomers", aged roughly 65 years old and above, to the Venza sports utility vehicle.

While Toyota previously purchased ads in specific magazines or certain web properties, now these messages will appear next to stories or digital content likely to be read by this demographic.

"Subtle changes can make all the difference in the world," said Paul Caine, executive vice-president and chief revenue officer at Time, told the Financial Times.

During the trial, scheduled to end in late January 2013, ads promoting the Venza have featured alongside hints and tips in Cooking Light magazine, and entertainment news on People.com.

"What this brings is the ability to marry insights with the potential for placement or alignment near editorial or stories that will be really relevant in a more fluid way," said Dionne Colvin, Toyota's national marketing media manager.

One source of impetus behind this move for Time Inc is declining ad revenues across many titles. Time, its flagship offering, has seen advertising sales fall by 30%, to $176m, in the last five years.

The Publishers Information Bureau also reported that US magazine adspend for the first half of the year came in at $10bn, a 21% slide over the same period.

Data sourced from Financial Times; additional content by Warc staff