Whether through a string of recent digital investments, corporate restructuring, or implementing a more holistically minded corporate culture, Time Inc. appears determined to shed its identity as a legacy print publisher and move, full-steam-ahead, into the 21st century—all while continuing to leverage the authority its brands have spent decades building.
Steve Marcopoto's January appointment to president of Time Inc. International, a newly created position, made it clear that international growth is key to that evolution. Folio: had the opportunity to sit down with former group publisher of Fortune and Money, Eric Danetz—recently appointed SVP and group publisher of Time Inc. International—for a glimpse inside what his new role entails, and what it all means for Time Inc. moving forward.
Folio: Is this, essentially, a new addition to Time Inc.’s corporate structure?
Eric Danetz: It is and it isn’t. It’s a matter of how it's been rebranded. We had a UK division called IPC, producing brands like Horse & Hound and Decanter. We’ve rebranded that as Time Inc. UK, and part of my job since joining the team is really to grow that part of the business. It’s always been a big part of our business, but it was kind of separate in that it lived overseas. International was very focused on international, and the domestic business was very focused on domestic. In the world now, given the current media landscape and everything that we’re doing, it’s all become more global. It made more sense to tie in the various divisions across the board. Time Inc. International is not new, it's just the way that we know it, or the way that it’s branded, is somewhat new.
Folio: So a major part of this is increasing synergy across departments?
Danetz: Correct. At the end of the day, most of our international operations have been based in the UK, and also in Hong Kong and Singapore, but we have 77 different editions in 170 countries and 19 languages. There really wasn’t a conduit in New York for international business. The reality is, for global brands now, New York is kind of the epicenter for where media is happening and where brands are placing their media.
Folio: When did the restructuring begin?
Danetz: [CEO] Joe Ripp and [CFO] Jeff Bairstow brought Steve Marcopoto in full-time to lead our efforts internationally, focusing on investments and on enhancing our existing infrastructure, looking holistically at our international operation as part of Time Inc. That happened in January. Steve’s put together a team, which I was just brought onto.
Folio: How long have you been in the new role?
Danetz: About two weeks. It’s truly a shift. I was the publisher of Fortune and of Money, so I did work with the international teams, and the individuals who are now on my team are people I worked with, being that Fortune is a global brand. This is not a new premise, it’s something we’ve seen over time and we’ve realized that we have the right people, we have the right opportunity. The time to leverage that is now.
Folio: It sounds like two things are happening, one being the management of all of Time Inc.’s international assets, and also bringing those strong domestic Time Inc. brands to new international markets. Is that accurate?
Danetz: Yeah, but it’s not a new international market, it’s leveraging the fact that we now have brands we’ve partnered with for a long time—when you think about the scale that we have, we’ve got over 150 million people coming to our digital platforms, 120 million-plus in print and then over 200 million on social—how are we leveraging that on a global basis? Whether you’re talking to the IBM’s of the world or Ford or Procter & Gamble, what we can do in New York, and frankly around the world at this point, is have those conversations and not just talk about what our domestic reach is, but what we can do on a global basis, in terms of not only reaching these people on our platforms but also potentially doing something place-based for them. We acquired inVNT, which allows us to do that as well. Taking a look at our overall capabilities and leveraging that on a global basis is what we’re able to do as an international division within Time Inc.
Folio: What are some ways you’re doing that?
Danetz: A perfect example is what we just launched in Asia with ASN. Sports Illustrated has partnered with them on a broadcast multimedia basis. Through Asia, we’re looking at where can we leverage these brands, this incredible intellectual property that we have, and bring it into new countries in ways that people want to consume it.
Folio: Are licensing partnerships going to be a part of that?
Danetz: We’re going to continue to look to expand our license footprint and build technology that makes it easier for our licensees to come on board and easier for us to monetize the inventory that they will eventually have. We’re going to be very focused on digital growth, as well. Historically, a lot of our licensed editions were print editions, and yes, they do have digital components, but we’re going to focus on enhancing that and building tech and platforms that allow us to do that. Also, looking holistically, we have all of this traffic, all of this opportunity under the preface of our brands. How do we target these individuals, how do we leverage the data so that we can truly be a global powerhouse in terms of targeting and reaching people in different markets in ways we haven’t before?
Folio: What are some ways you identify those new areas in which you want to expand your footprint?
Danetz: It’s a combination. We’re going to look at where we believe there are individuals who want to receive our content. We have tremendous social reach, which allows us to look at the types of content on a real time basis that people are consuming. A good example again is Sports Illustrated. That didn’t come up because we just decided we wanted to be in Asia and work with a TV network. We believe there’s a strong affinity there and a real opportunity for us. That’s one example of launching a product based on the fact that we did our studies; we took a look at the market. They asked for more content when it came to sports, and we have the right product to fit there, in the same way we’re looking at China with Fortune and Time and others.
Folio: So part of this means expanding existing partnerships in the U.S. and bringing them to these new international markets?
Danetz: Absolutely, and vice versa. A good example is Wallpaper*, which is a brand in the UK which we recently launched in the U.S. We’re looking at Fortune, for instance, where can we expand that in different countries and different markets where there’s a need for that type of content, and do so in a way where its going to be consumed, frankly, in modern means, whether that’s in digital, or with a focus on mobility, or whether it involves a print product. We’ll be doing that both ways.
Folio: What does this mean for the existing sales staff? How has that been reorganized?
Danetz: We’ve restructured our domestic sales team into a more verticalized strategy. Right now there are three verticals: there’s tech and telecom, there’s automotive, and there’s the pharma vertical. There are also still publishers at every brand and the brands are what make up the power of what Time Inc. is all about. They’ll continue to be there and have sales teams at the brand level. My job really is to create a conduit between all of these different brands, as well as the leads within the verticals who are focused on those strategies within the vertical. For them, it’s critically important to have global reach.
Technology is a great example. These are global brands that are looking to have brand awareness and also lower funnel opportunities within a global footprint. Historically, it was more segmented. We now look at it holistically and are structured in a way that allows us to go to market very quickly. We also have The Foundry and tremendous assets when it comes to native creation. We can walk into clients on a global basis and talk about creating content for them in countries, in languages, and do things that historically may have only been done in-region. Essentially, we have more flexibility. We’ve structured the company to be able to move faster and more aggressively.
Folio: What’s the response been like from advertisers?
Danetz: It’s pretty interesting. When we talk about what we can be doing to make it easier for them to buy, we also talk about the capabilities and what Time Inc. looks like now, versus what it looked like five years ago. It’s night and day. There’s typically an epiphany where they say, “Wow, we didn’t know you could do that.” So far, the feedback has been very strong. Obviously, people are still getting used to the new Time Inc., but we’re providing more value than we’ve ever provided before and doing it in a very streamlined way.
Folio: Given your background as a publisher, is this primarily a sales-driven initiative, or are you also managing overall operations for those international properties?
Danetz: It’s holistic. At the end of the day, I work very closely with the editors to make sure that the integrity of these brands remains where it needs to be moving forward. We have to drive revenue, but at the same time it’s the quality of the product that allows us to drive the revenues that sustain the business. This is about the user, the reader, the person who attends our events. We want to make sure we continue to provide the best product, the best information, and satiate them with content when they need it, where they want it, how they want it. In order to do that, it’s no longer just about sales and editorial; we have to all work together. My job is certainly all-encompassing in that regard.
Folio: What are you hoping will be the main takeaway in the industry from this restructuring?