People magazine has partnered with startup WhoSay to allow celebrities to publish essentially directly to People.com, the Time Inc.-owned magazine said Wednesday.
WhoSay.com invites celebrities to post social media content, some of which is now being cross-posted to People.com. People editors have vetted the celebrities posting to the site. Both image- and text-based posts from celebrities like actress Maggie Gyllenhaal and comedian Jim Gaffigan are already appearing in a section of People.com called "Celebrities Unfiltered."
"For editors, it'll be most interesting to see how this content is a jumping off point for further coverage -- something a celebrity posts could turn into a news story on the homepage, or we might see an opportunity for further collaboration with a star," People Digital Editor Janice Morris said in an email.
The partnership allows People editors to feature WhoSay content both online and in print. News from People.com, meanwhile, will appear on WhoSay's "Top Stories" section."
Display ads are also appearing along celebrity posts in the "Celebrity Unfiltered" section. The partnership calls for an ad-revenue share, according to Liz White, VP and general manager of People Digital. "We are working together to leverage the strength of the People sales and marketing team and the WhoSay platform to build compelling programs for advertisers around key franchises and verticals," she said in an email.
People, the nation's largest celebrity magazine by paid circulation at 3.5 million, is playing in a crowded and aggressive arena online, with sites like TMZ.com and PerezHilton.com gobbling up much of the traffic. Still, People is holding its own, attracting 19 million U.S. visitors in February, an 18.5% gain from the prior year, according to Quantcast. TMZ drew 22.6 million visitors during that same time, a 22% boost from the same time in 2013.
The digital performance of People will be closely watched as Time Inc. prepares to separate from parent Time Warner to become its own standalone company in the second quarter of the year. In addition to People, Time Inc. publishes Time, Sports Illustrated and InStyle magazines, among others, but People is the magazine's largest money-driver, accounting for roughly 20% of the company's overall revenue.