Women’s Wear Daily recently interviewed Time Inc. Executive VP and Chief Content Officer Norman Pearlstine about a wide range of digital magazine industry topics, including native advertising, technology’s impact on journalism, and Time’s future.
Here are a few excerpts from the interview, as told to WWD‘s Alexandra Steigrad.
On native: “I think that the balancing act is that you would like to find appropriate ways to have editorial talent working … to come up with content solutions for advertisers and, at the same time, you have to be obviously mindful of potential conflicts if you are not careful in how you structure these things. The Time Inc. Content Solutions model is one to follow in that it’s got some very experienced journalists working on those products but they don’t engage in magazines on editorial where they’d be covering the people that they are writing about.”
On technology: “The technology is not only the way we change stories, but also changing the relationship to the consumer. If our brands are going to be in print and on mobile handsets and in video and events, we have to acknowledge that the playing fields are going to be different than a print-only product or a print product with extensions to it. … It’s moving fast. We have several titles now where our non-print revenue is growing faster than our print revenue is declining. That wasn’t true a while ago and we’re beginning to get some traction with our digital revenue. I think we’re getting more efficient and effective in the way we structure ourselves to continue to do great journalism in taking advantage of technology. Just as there’s some technologies that jeopardize revenue for traditional products, there are also technologies that can significantly lower costs.”
On Time’s future: “I think the growth in Time.com’s audience over the last year is one of the things that give me a sense of real encouragement. There’s no doubt that a print weekly – we have four of them, so I shouldn’t just be talking about Time – has to adjust to the marketplace. But that’s been true for a long time. People launched in 1974. Forty years ago it was seen as a replacement for Life. “How could Life survive in the age of television?” was the question everyone was asking when they shut it down. Today you look at things like Entertainment Weekly and the kind of work that Matt Bean is doing both in print and digital to really be the place for the conversation about Comic-Con, about the Upfronts, about the new season and so forth. You can’t just reprise the news. You have to have journalism that makes a point and you have to be in sync with your audience. When I think about Sports Illustrated, when I think about People, Entertainment Weekly, Time – all four of them have editors who are very much in touch with their readers and that’s a comfort to me.”
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