Shift to marketing services at heart of Time Inc. reorg

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Since taking the helm of Time Inc. in September, CEO Jack Griffin has made a series of structural and management changes that place the world's largest magazine company into the marketing services arena.

The moves are similar in scope to those Griffin made while president-CEO of the National Media Group at Meredith Corp., whose titles include Better Homes and Gardens and Family Circle.

For example, in 2006 Griffin created Meredith Integrated Marketing, the company's digital marketing services unit, making Meredith's brands less dependent on print advertising just as media buyers started to migrate their budgets en masse to online venues.

Four months after succeeding Ann Moore at Time Inc., Griffin has already put his imprimatur on the company, which publishes Fortune, People, Sports Illustrated and Time, among other titles.

  • ?In January, Time Inc. Branded Solutions debuted. The full-service sales, marketing and creative unit targets the publisher's largest ad partners. Leslie Picard, who had been president of Time Inc. Corporate Sales and Marketing, was appointed president of the new unit.
  • ?In December, Time Inc. tapped media veteran Randall Rothenberg for the newly created position of exec VP-chief digital officer. Rothenberg, who was previously president-CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau, will oversee Time Inc.'s digital strategy and work across the publisher's editorial, advertising, technology, consumer marketing, legal, research and marketing services.
  • ??That move was preceded by the promotion of two Time Inc. executives to new roles in the company's sales and marketing departments. Stephanie George, exec VP of Time Inc. and president of advertising sales and marketing, was promoted to CMO. Paul Caine, president of the Style & Entertainment Group, was promoted to exec VP-chief revenue officer.
  • ?In October, Time Inc. reorganized its consumer marketing unit. The changes included the creation of a Digital Marketing and Business Development group.
  • Regarding Time Inc. Branded Solutions, Caine said, “Our goal is to leverage the branded assets [of the company] and the scale of those assets with programs and ideas for our clients.” He added: “We do see terrific branded programs existing within our groups and within our brands, but we also see, at times, that there are opportunities to add even more value to them.”

    The changes at Time Inc. come amid some improvement in the advertising market following two years of anemic media spending.

    Time Inc.'s ad revenue grew 6.7% last year, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Ad pages increased 2.8%.

    “They've got to find new ways to leverage their content that are going to be profitable for them, attractive to advertisers and engaging to readers,” said George Janson, managing partner and director of print for media buyer GroupM, whose clients include Accenture, Dell Inc. and Novartis.

    “They have storied brands that are part of our culture. The question is: What do you do with them that's going to make money? That's [Griffin's] biggest challenge, as it is for every media company.”

    Janson added: “He's had a lot of success fostering integration at Meredith but, admittedly, Time Inc. is a very different company; there are more institutionalized silos and fiefdoms.”

    Reed Phillips, managing partner of media investment bank DeSilva & Phillips, said Griffin has been given “carte blanche” to reset Time Inc. “He's got most of the changes out of the way and is now focused on execution,” Phillips said. “He's putting a greater emphasis on digital media, which is the area where he can make the largest impact in the shortest period of time.”

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