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Boosting brands key to ad sales reorganizations at Time Inc. business titles and ‘Wall Street Journal’

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The recent restructurings of advertising sales operations at Time Inc.’s business titles and The Wall Street Journal have a similar goal: boosting well-entrenched media brands in a tough media environment.

Last week, Time Inc. announced a new sales organization that includes an as-yet-unfilled executive position with responsibility for print and digital advertising revenue for all the company’s business and finance titles. As part of the revamp, that portfolio—which includes Fortune, Fortune Small Business, Money and CNNMoney.com—changed its name to the Fortune|Money Group, from the Time Inc. Business and Finance Network.

A week earlier, The Wall Street Journal announced a major reorganization of its advertising sales operation giving regional sales managers responsibility for growing integrated ad sales.

Time Inc. announced the sales restructuring shortly after disclosing it was shuttering Business 2.0, which was part of the Business and Finance Network. As part of the changes, Hugh Wiley, formerly group associate publisher of the network, and Brett Wilson, previously associate publisher/North America for Time, have been named publisher of Fortune and Money, respectively.

Those posts had been eliminated in April 2006 when Time Inc. merged the ad sales teams of Business 2.0, Fortune, Fortune Small Business and Money. Despite that earlier restructuring, ad pages in the first half of the year fell 17.5% at Fortune, 18.2% at FSB, 25.7% at Money and 34.1% at Business 2.0, according to Publishers Information Bureau.

Previously, the publishing roles at Fortune and Money were handled on a regional basis by Mike Dukmejian and Mike Federle. Dukmejian is leaving Time Inc., while Federle has agreed to stay on through the end of the year as a senior adviser to Vivek Shah, president of the Fortune|Money Group. Lisa Bentley, an associate group publisher on the West Coast who handled sales duties for Business 2.0, is leaving Time Inc.

“This is not a signal that we don’t believe in cross-selling, but that cross-selling isn’t the only sell,” said Shah, who in July was promoted to president of the Business and Finance Network, succeeding Chris Poleway. Shah, who prior to his promotion was president of digital publishing for the network, added: “The brands need an executive who can steward each brand into the marketplace and communicate what the brand represents.”

Shah, who announced the changes, stressed that under the new sales structure, “We can sell vertically and horizontally.”

The ad sales integration at Dow Jones combines the print Journal, Wall Street Journal Digital Network (including Barron’s Online, MarketWatch.com and WSJ.com) and the international sales and marketing staffs into a single operation.

“We’ve broken down the silos and opened up the doors for people who want to market across platforms,” said Michael Rooney, who in June was named to the newly created position of chief revenue officer of Dow Jones & Co., which publishes the Journal.

“Advertisers can still buy in a traditional way, but we want clients to understand the cross-platform values in all our properties, and that’s where the business is moving.”

Rooney added that when advertisers buy across the Journal franchise they spend an average of 20% more in its print and online products. “Previously it was hard to make [integrated ad sales] happen; now it’s seamless at the management level,” he said.

The Journal has recently struggled adwise. Ad revenue fell 7.2% in July on a 20.9% decrease in advertising volume. Second-quarter advertising revenue declined 6.8% on an 11.4% decline in volume. Rooney expects the Journal’s overall ad revenue for 2007 to be generally flat compared with 2006.

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