Fortune and Money magazines each rolled out their own websites Sunday, ending a long partnership with CNNMoney.com under which their digital content had been subsumed in the larger site.
The collaboration is coming to an end because the magazines' and CNN's family is splitting up: Time Warner is spinning off Time Inc., which owns Fortune and Money, while holding onto entertainment and TV properties such as CNN. Time Inc. begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange as its own public company in less than a week.
The break-up means longtime allies are going to war for readers and advertisers, and they already sound much more like competitors than old friends.
Fortune and Money were the "value add" to CNNMoney.com, said Andy Serwer, Fortune's managing editor. What the sites lose in separating from CNNMoney is widely available, relatively low-value news and traffic, he said.
The annual rollout of Money's "Best Places to Live" franchise has historically represented CNNMoney's top traffic day, with the introduction of each year's Fortune 500 list being another big draw, Time Inc. executives added.
CNNMoney executives downplayed the significance of Time Inc.'s contributions to the site, saying they were the ones that packaged Money's "Best Places to Live" for the web. "Time Inc. was a relatively small percentage of our overall traffic," said Ed O'Keefe, VP-CNNMoney and Politics.
"While I wish them the best of luck, the facts and numbers bear out an entirely different story," Mr. O'Keefe added. "We both get to go out and pursue our own destiny. If their plans are to rely on the old, staid models that drive a little bit of traffic at particular times, they'll be in trouble."
The digital landscape is already crowded with business sites, including traditional players such as Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Economist and The Wall Street Journal; digital-only sites like Business Insider, The Atlantic Media's Quartz, Re/Code and even BuzzFeed; and TV networks sites CNBC and Fox Business.
CNNMoney.com attracted 17.6 million unique visitors on desktop and mobile in April, a 10% boost over the previous year, according to ComScore. Starting Sunday, Fortune and Money essentially start from scratch, though Time Inc. execs hope that franchises such as Money's "Best Places to Live" and the Fortune 500, whose newest edition goes live Monday, will pull visitors to the magazines' new sites.
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Time Inc. is also partnering with large web portals like AOL and Yahoo, which will help to drive traffic back to the Fortune and Time sites; increasing the volume of daily content it publishes; and staffing up.
Fortune plans to "blow out its journalists and franchises" on the web, Mr. Serwer said. "We've never been able to do this digitally the way we've wanted."
Fortune has hired 24 people on the editorial side in recent months, with the aim of publishing as many as 90 stories daily, up from about 25, according to Mr. Serwer. The magazine is planning a 24/7 news desk, with editors in London, San Francisco and New York, he added.
Money has hired seven new people, who will post 20 to 30 pieces of content daily, equivalent to what the magazine posted online in a month, according to a Money spokeswoman. The site is aiming for a broad audience, said Money Editor Craig Matters. Money.com will also be a channel on Time.com, which introduced a redesign in March. All three sites will share content.
"Time.com will break a story," said Mr. Matters. "Money will provide the analysis."
The collaboration between sites extends to advertising, with the potential for ads to appear across the Time, Money and Fortune sites, according to Jed Hartman, group publisher of news and business. Ads for Manpower, Oppenheimer Funds and Symantec will appear on Fortune.com when it initially rolls out; Accenture, E-Trade, Porsche and Workday are sponsoring the Fortune 500.
A number of brands are also planning native advertising campaigns on Fortune.com, where the promotional content will mimic editorial stories. The ads will carry a label that says "Content From," Mr. Hartman said. Those brands include Wells Fargo, GMC, Siemens and others.
Money.com's advertisers include Allianz and Discover.
Time Inc. had handled ad sales for CNNMoney.com, so the site has spent the last several months ramping up its sales team, according to Mr. O'Keefe.
"It feels very much to me like a startup environment here," Mr. O'Keefe added. He joined CNNMoney in May from startup NowThis News, where he was editor-in-chief. "It's a startup at a new beginning point with traffic, revenue and a robust staff and an extension into this little thing called TV."