The increase would be 20 per cent if you exclude digital ad sales in the first quarter of 2014 from CNNMoney.com, which until last June was home to the digital content for Time Inc.’s Fortune and Money magazines, and Grupo Editorial Expansión, a group of Mexican magazines that Time Inc. sold last June.
These digital numbers are important measures of Time Inc.’s effort to transform from a print publisher to a media company with digital at its core. Digital ad sales had not grown for the two years before a new executive team took over in 2013, Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp said during an earnings call.
But the company — which publishes iconic titles like People, Time and Sports Illustrated — still derives the majority of its ad revenue from print. And that revenue is in a state of decline. In the first quarter, print ad revenue fell 12 per cent from the prior year to US$280m. Excluding the sale of Grupo and the effect of a strong US dollar relative to the British pound — Time Inc. owns a number of magazines in the UK — print ads were still off 10 per cent.
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