Time Inc.'s Moore: If You're Still on Your Five-Year Plan, You're Delusional

At Audit Bureau of Circulations: 'No One Immune'

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Time Inc. Chairman-CEO Ann Moore addressed advertisers, agencies and members of the publishing community this morning at the Audit Bureau of Circulations annual conference in New York, and tried to dispel some of the more moribund feelings swirling around the industry.
Ann Moore
Ann Moore

Amid news of Time Inc.'s own round of staff cuts Oct. 28 -- 600 jobs to be dissolved within the next two weeks -- Ms. Moore acknowledged the sourness of the print climate, something she called "an economic tsunami."

No 'business as usual'
"Time Inc. has never had so many people in trouble at the same time," she said. "I don't care if it isn't a recession yet. It is for us ... and it cannot be business as usual."

While she was not nearly cagey in her diagnosis of Time Inc.'s ills (likening the current economic mood to that of 1978), Ms. Moore was quick to change direction, laying out the sweeping changes she said were necessary for titles to stay alive.

"No one in this room can possibly be immune," she intoned. "No one."

Ms. Moore outlined a certain solace and confidence she takes in the media consumer base, establishing her optimism in her own titles and citing increased sales of both People and In Style, forecasting that "consumers will embrace brands that release stress and distract them from reality."

Print can't be replaced
And although she championed a 72% increase last year in online traffic among Time Inc. websites and an estimated 650 million page views by the end of 2008, Ms. Moore emphasized the inimitable effectiveness of print advertising.

"Humans still are not reacting well to online ad interruptions," she said.

She also put her stock in the recession-proof quality of news, assuring publishers that while print may be mired in serious uncertainty, the demand for and nature of content is strong.

"The basic need for fact-based information will not go away," she said, going as far to equate the quality of content with the perseverance of both the free market and democracy itself.

Hope for the future
Ms. Moore touched upon publishing's newest resurrection efforts as well, including the Netflix-inspired subscription aggregator Maghound and Life.com, the Time and Getty joint image repository -- both ventures, she said, are meant to empower readers on par with other on-demand media technology.

One of Ms. Moore's more cathartic assessments, and one which elicited the most audible response from attendees, was her defense of Time Inc.'s own shake-up, and other reorganization strategies like it, saying that "if you're still sitting on your five-year plan, you're delusional."
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