Time Inc. Is Latest Publisher to Embrace Original Online Video

/ Sep 16, 2013

SINow

Time Inc. is ready to launch a new digital video unit focused on producing original programming for the web, according to a report from Adweek.

Led by SVP of video J.R. McCabe, a former executive at Meredith, the unit will oversee content for all Time Inc. properties. The process was already underway prior to the unit coming together, with Sports Illustrated launching a daily, half-hour live sports video show, “SI Now,” in June. SI followed this up with another sports show, this one a live weekly one called “Pro Football Now.” Then in August, Time magazine launched Red Border Films, a new website and production unit with a focus on producing documentary content.

Now with the launch of the digital video unit, Adweek reports that other properties will also begin moving into original video: Entertainment Weekly will premiere two daily shows, “The Must List” and “TV Recaps,” in November; Time magazine will launch the daily “The Top 3”; and Real Simple will premiere “Tip of the Day.”

The shows signal the initial content strategy for Time, which is to produce branded and live programs. Time’s magazine brands maintain a lot of name recognition across their various verticals, so it’s not crazy for the company to want to build the programming around those brands. It’s similar to what other publishers like Conde Nast and BuzzFeed are doing in online video. Combine that with live programming, and the hope is that the content immediately becomes attractive to not only potential viewers, but advertisers (who always long for “premium, scarce” content) as well.

McCabe tells Adweek that the new content will be placed “front and center” on each magazine brand’s pages. Time has also inked deals with the likes of AOL On, Alloy Digital, and NDN to distribute the content across the web, and has created a production team solely focused on YouTube. Considering how YouTube, in a lot of ways, functions differently than other online video platforms, this makes a great deal of sense.

In terms of staffing and resources, Time has apparently built a new studio in its NY offices capable of live-streaming content. In addition, the company has hired a bunch of executive producers, each to oversee a brand/vertical, and is looking to hire on-air talent.

The report also indicates that Time will be a presenter during the 2014 Digital Content Newfronts.

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