NEW YORK: Meredith, the media business, is unpicking the ad sales structure at Time Inc, the publisher whose acquisition it completed in January this year.

The past week has seen a flurry of activity around the Time Inc titles, with Meredith announcing its intention to put several major brands up for sale, including Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune and Money, and cutting jobs.

Now it is reorganizing the ad sales structure that Time Inc put in place in 2016 which emphasized category sales rather than title sales.

At the time executives claimed this was what the market wanted but it also meant that a seller at the category level was responsible for every brand and every brand product when pitching to a client and Meredith’s chairman has identified this as a major factor in a precipitous ad revenue decline.

“It’s important for the brands to have an evangelist in the marketplace and internally,” said Jon Werther, president of Meredith’s national media group, in remarks reported by the Wall Street Journal.

“We’re extending our existing sales structure to the Time Inc. brands because that approach has been successful in terms of driving revenue and share-of-market,” he added.

The new focus will be on individual titles, each of which will have their own publisher, but Meredith is not going to the opposite extreme and will offer a hybrid solution to advertisers.

So if a brand wants to advertise specifically in, say, Food & Wine, Meredith will work directly with it; if it wants to go beyond that title then other food brand sales people will get involved, or the company’s digital team.

“It used to be that agencies and marketers had to go to the category team, and not Food & Wine,” said Werther. “That’s what has shifted.”

The aim is to not only lift the visibility of specific magazines but also strengthen ties with ad agencies and marketers, the Journal noted.

Sourced from Wall Street Journal, Reuters; additional content by WARC staff