American Magazine Conference 2007

'Un-Moored' Naughton Advises Mags on New Media

Former Time Inc. Exec Says Titles Must Dump Pay Walls

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BOCA RATON, Fla. ( -- Eileen Naughton used her speech yesterday at the American Magazine Conference to essentially ask Time Inc. Chairman-CEO Ann S. Moore, who downsized her out of a job almost two years ago, "How you like me now?"
Eileen Naughton
Eileen Naughton Credit: Doug Goodman

On the Long Tail
Time Inc. eliminated 105 employees from its rolls in December 2005 -- including Ms. Naughton, who had been president of the Time group -- as part of a broader drive to reallocate resources toward new-media businesses. Yesterday, Ms. Naughton, now Google's director of media platforms, took the podium to describe today's media world in a talk titled "An Émigré's View."

It's important to recognize that Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and MySpace, among others, represent the really high-traffic sites online, while magazine sites barely register on the same chart, Ms. Naughton told the audience. "Virtually all magazine brands exist along the Long Tail," she said.

Publishers need to figure out how magazines can use the big sites to their advantage, to help consumers locate, personalize and share magazine content, Ms. Naughton said. To use the big search and social-networking sites to their advantage, she said, magazines ought to be "atomizing" their online content, embedding it in widgets and offering it in "micro-bites" and so on.

"Don't hide it behind pay walls," she said. "Don't keep it on lockdown."

"I've always loved magazines, and I still do," Ms. Naughton said at another point. But every new format, news feed, media platform, ad network or consumer-generated contribution feeds a business model that's edging magazines to the side, she said. Internet models are fluid; technology companies such as Apple and Google sit squarely in the middle of media now.

That's where she got a chance to poke Ms. Moore. "It is a bit easy to feel a bit unmoored by it," she said. "No pun intended."
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