Time Inc.’s CEO on content, Caitlyn Jenner, and the rise of ad-blocking

Major publishers need to make sure that their content is produced on ALL digital formats (0:04)

They have to produce mobile, they have to produce video, they have to produce digital content for the web. Basically they have to find their audience where their audience is going. They also need to shorten their content. 

On content length… (0:16)

If you’re doing a 5 page story in a magazine, you can’t publish a 5 page story online. It doesn’t work that way. So you’ve got to find the different ways that the audiences want to receive the information on the devices they’re interacting with. 

It’s really whatever you think the audiences are going to look for. You know, when Caitlin Jenner transitioned, and People magazine we did a 6 page story – and we published the6 page story in the magazine… in the past we would have put that 6 page story online and no-one would read it. We cut that 6 page story NOW up to 50 different stories that was shared – it was one of the largest stories we did throughout the year – it was shared throughout the web, throughout the social sphere. 

By just making sure the content is cut up in the way that the reader wants to receive it on the device they’re using, you can get much broader distribution of your content. 

It’s not about the transition from print to digital (1:04)

I think it’s about making sure that you’re on multiplatform. So you need to be in print, you need to be on digital, you need to be on mobile, you need to be on social – you need to be wherever people are going to interact with your content. 

The problem with the advertising industry right now is a lack of engagement (1:18)

It’s really focusing on giving advertisers a broad array of platforms that they can distribute their content on. One of the problems advertisers are having is breaking through the clutter that’s called digital. When you look at a web page: all 20 ads viewed for 1 second counted!? Really? You think anybody really engaged with that!? The problem with advertising right now is a lack of engagement. The great part about quality content is that it does engage. And when advertisers connect with quality content it proves it is 7-8 times more effective. People engage with it, they absorb it, they remember it, brand values go up. That’s the great opportunity that we have, is that because we have quality content as opposed to all the digital stuff that’s out there – much of which is just tricks to get you to click on something, it’s really not quality at all. 

Ad-blocking is going to be here, and people are going to use it (2:00)

In fact it’s up in the mid-twenties (per cent) in some of the European countries. It’s about by all estimates right now 6 per cent to 7 per cent in the US. iOS 9 just came out it features the ability to do ad-blocking. Ad-blocking is going to create many challenges for digital publishers, which is in part why many of them are all up for sale right now! You know if they are making about $70m a year most of them don’t make a nickel but they’re understanding that it’s going to be a challenge going forward to reach through in digital formats. 

The desktop was a better format for distributing of advertising and content, the iPhone and the mobile device is not a great distribution platform for advertising. So all of these people are saying, what’s going to happen in hat world? I think it plays to quality content, it plays back into the ability of publishers to produce great content for advertisers and great ways to engage those audiences. 

Ad-blocking is here to stay and it’s going to continue to rise. 

And finally, on where innovation is coming from… (2:50)

We’re looking at innovation across the board, whether that be on the advertising side of our business – we’re selling our network in ways that we hadn’t done before. You know we reach 150m US adults, so we’re selling that as a network that you can buy from us. We’re working with advertisers on creative programmes… We’re creating a lot more video. We’ll create about 11,000 shortform videos this year. Probably when you take into account all of the videos we’re asking our editors to produce themselves on their iPhones, maybe up to 30,000 videos this year. 

So the opportunity for us to grow in video, to grow in content, is there. And we’re just making sure that our content remains the best in the spaces that we operate it in, and we distribute it on multiple platforms.  

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