Ann S. Moore: Transforming Time Inc. for the Digital Future

Ad Age Video: Chairman-CEO On Why Time Inc. Needs to Shrink Before It Can Grow

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Despite nearly 500 layoffs in the last year, shutting down Teen People's print edition and most recently deciding to put 18 titles up for sale, Time Inc. remains the country's biggest magazine publisher and a subject of scrutiny by competitors, investors and its parent, Time Warner. As chairman-CEO since July 2002, Ann S. Moore has been responsible for modernizing and streamlining Time Inc. amid an unpredictable media business. In advance of her conference speech, titled "Trust and Transformation," at last week's Association of National Advertisers meeting, Advertising Age's Nat Ives asked Ms. Moore via e-mail to size up her company's position on both fronts.

Advertising Age: Time Inc. is certainly undergoing transformation, from thinning employee ranks to selling 18 titles. How do such dramatic changes affect Time Inc. employees' trust that their hard work, their publications and their loyalty are still valued -- or even can be valued, given Wall Street's demands for never-ending growth?

Ann S. Moore: Time Inc. is not the only company in America today facing daunting change. Today's leaders have to figure out how to engage everyone in their organizations while navigating through this change. It's essential to place an experienced, trusted team at the top. They have to engage in dialogue; the days of monologues are over. You cannot communicate enough on what the exact strategy is and what today's priorities are. Smart leaders count on tools like "trust" to help them succeed. When people trust each other and their leaders, they are able to work through problems, take smarter risks and accomplish more than anyone has the right to ask.

Through this transformation, our commitment to our core values of great news and service journalism hasn't changed one bit.

Advertising Age: The company is striving to develop its digital platforms, but print editions continue to generate most of its ad revenue and all of its circulation revenue. How far can and should Time Inc. delve into in new media?

Ms. Moore: The assumption that new media doesn't bring in much revenue needs updating. This year we are seeing meaningful incremental profits in several vertical-content categories. While our online revenues are still dwarfed by our print revenues, the margins on these online businesses are higher. They are already giving us nice contributions to the bottom line of some of our most important and largest brands.

Advertising Age: How far along is Time Inc. in its transformation -- halfway through? Or is change now constant?

Ms. Moore: I have always believed in continuous improvement as a core value. Even a brand leader can't sit back and coast or someone will catch you and put you out of business. There is never a finish line in business. Change is always a constant. Take any magazine in the Time Inc. stable and compare it to an issue from five years ago. You will note remarkable changes.

Advertising Age: The whole media business is undergoing transformation. How does Time Inc. measure up against other publishers in terms of adapting to change?

Ms. Moore: Time Inc. is far ahead of any other magazine company. Our websites currently receive 1.5 billion page views a month, and some of our titles are only getting started. We just regained control on July 1 over those brands that were behind the AOL wall. I like what I see on SI.com and CNNMoney and People.com today. The game is far from over. There is still plenty of time for great editing skills and great brands to catch up and establish their rightful place in some very big vertical spaces.

The days of selling a single media are seriously waning. Having a robust digital strategy is critical for every media brand. However, I believe in trusted content. I believe consumers will bookmark their favorite trusted brands. I believe that great advertising and marketing still works. There is still much to be revealed and settled on the web. These are very unsettling but exciting times for our business.

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