Time Inc.’s digital initiatives are beginning to come to fruition. The New York-based publisher is debuting its automotive-inspired Web site, The Drive, today.
This is a new editorial product for Time Inc. from its division, The Foundry, which will be headquartered in Brooklyn’s Industry City. While The Foundry houses native advertising and sponsored content teams, it also includes digital platforms. The Drive will have both native and sponsored integration, but it is a stand-alone site with a staff of 15 editors. The in-house developed platform will likely be a model for other Time Inc. digital products, said Matt Bean, senior vice president of digital innovation.
Bean told WWD that the site marks the company’s first big push into the car space. Asked why Time Inc. waited until now, Bean said there was strong demand from automobile advertisers, as well as from Silicon Valley. The auto industry has been booming of late in the U.S., representing a rich seam of potential advertising for publishers to tap.
Touting the innovation of the industry, Bean noted that The Drive will take a “lifestyle” and “cultural” look at cars and aim for the Millennial set interested in different aspects of an automobile, such as the technology behind an entertainment systems or sustainability. (The Millennials are a key target for auto brands given studies that show the age group is buying fewer and fewer cars than their parents.)
“We saw a white space,” Bean said, explaining that the site is more in the “spirit” of The BBC’s “Top Gear” than a gear-head’s guide to cars.
“Cars are a tremendous vehicle for storytelling — no pun intended,” he noted. “Very rarely are these sorts of stories just about cars.”
Topics will be divided into more traditional categories: “New Cars, Super Cars and Vintage Cars,” with subcategories spanning news and design, among others.
The Drive will include quick takes or short news videos, as well as longer videos that will be shot in Los Angeles, as well as in the company’s 55,000-square-foot Brooklyn office. That office will also include a 5,000-square-foot garage-showroom space for site.
The Drive will launch with sponsors Pennzoil, Volvo and GM BuyPower Card, and contain about 50 to 60 pieces of content, including an interview with actor Kevin Bacon and race car legend Mario Andretti.
Bean explained that while most of the site’s readers will likely be men, he wants to appeal to women, as well.
“You’re not going to find women draped over a car — it’s just not a good look,” he offered, explaining that the editors of the site are “keeping a careful watch of how women are courted” by the car industry.
To go with that spirit of inclusion, Bean said the site, which is edited by Mike Guy, former digital director of Maxim, a magazine known for babes on cars, will look to tell the stories of women in the industry pre-Danica Patrick, too.