Time Inc. Announces The People/Entertainment Weekly Network

Publishers' NewFronts Presentation Promises Live Events Coverage, Celebrity and New Series

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Time Inc.'s 2016 NewFronts event on Thursday, May 5.
Time Inc.'s 2016 NewFronts event on Thursday, May 5. Credit: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for TimeInc.

Time Inc. on Thursday introduced a free, ad-supported streaming video service called the People/Entertainment Weekly Network, joining a growing crush of publishers trying something similar.

While the marketplace is becoming a bit crowded, Time Inc. still sees so-called over-the-top platforms, which deliver video programming without going through the cable box, as "a significant opportunity, especially from an advertising perspective," Rich Batista, exec VP at Time Inc., said at the company's NewFronts event.

The People/Entertainment Network will feature series, specials and live-event coverage, with an emphasis on long-form programming around pop culture and celebrity, according to Time Inc., although further details aren't available yet.

Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp had said on the company's fourth-quarter 2015 earnings call that the company was exploring such a service.

The company is also starting an all-video mobile channel dedicated to "the new famous," such as social media stars and video creators, that's expected to arrive later this year.

As has become standard fare for NewFronts presentations, Time Inc. announced several new video show projects tied to particular magazine brands. One, from Southern Living magazine, focuses on former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager and her interest in reconnecting to her Southern roots while living in New York City.

Virtual reality has also been a staple of the 2016 NewFronts, and Time Inc., which had a "VR lounge" adjacent to the room where Thursday's presentation was held, announced that the Life brand will be "the centerpiece" of the company's VR efforts.

Time Inc. Chief Revenue Officer Mark Ford tried to set the company apart from its rivals by telling the audience of ad buyers that being able to distribute content is "table stakes."

"But really what matters is the big idea, and we have the people to deliver that idea," Mr. Ford said.

Earlier Thursday, Time Inc. reported a 1% year-over-year increase in revenue for the first quarter of 2016. "Declines in print and other advertising revenues and in circulation revenues were partially offset by growth in digital advertising revenues," the company said.

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