TIME INC.’S TOWN HALL: The eighth floor auditorium in the Time & Life building in Midtown Manhattan played host to a series of meetings with staff last week about the state of Time Inc. and its growth strategy going forward.
Chief executive officer Joe Ripp kicked off the week with a 90-minute quarterly management meeting on Tuesday, in which executives at the company presented their title’s story and their visions for business expansion. That meeting preceded two town hall meetings on Friday morning that were essentially slimmed-down versions of Tuesday’s meetings, and open to all staff.
Insiders said the management meeting included a presentation dubbed: “Monetizing ‘News’ at Scale” by Time editor in chief Nancy Gibbs and publisher Meredith Long. During the presentation, the duo spoke about Time’s award-winning photojournalism, and they name-checked its powerful and popular photos of the crash of a Malaysia Airlines plane.
Time was able to garner more digital viewers thanks to such work, and maintain itself as an important news source for Millennials — even though those consumers tend to eschew print.
According to an insider, Long and Gibbs presented a chart, which ranked news sources based on trust. “Time was more trusted than The New York Times. I don’t know where they got that chart,” the source said. “I don’t know who made it.”
Karen Kovacs, the group publisher of People and Entertainment Weekly, gave a presentation called: “The Power of the Red Carpet.” It covered advertising and the power of celebrity. For her part, executive vice president Evelyn Webster spoke about the importance of fashion and beauty to the company’s InStyle, StyleWatch and Essence titles. She presented Mimi, a beauty-focused site focusing on social media, bloggers and video, which launched this week. The subject of e-commerce was also addressed, and Webster noted that a magazine like InStyle, on average, drives the purchase of six to eight beauty products a month. She made the case that Time Inc. should get a piece of that action, which was met by eye rolls by some who have seen magazines try to dip their toes in the murky waters of e-commerce.
Chief financial officer Jeff Bairstow provided a rundown of the company’s financials, in which he assured staff that the company was “on track.” The mood overall was “positive,” an insider noted, adding that the general sense from Ripp was that Time Inc. is done “streamlining” its management. The company, is, however, on the hunt for a group president of Time, Fortune, Money and Sports Illustrated, sources said, and that could stir up some additional change.