Time Inc.'s aggressive push into digital media appears to be paying dividends.
Overall revenues jumped $10 million to $690 million in the first quarter of 2016, a 1.5 percent increase over the same period last year—the publisher's best quarterly performance since being spun off from Time Warner in 2014.
The gains were driven primarily by growth in digital advertising, from which revenues jumped 23 percent in the first quarter to $90 million. Time Inc. spent much of the last year actively pursing new acquisitions and partnerships in digital media, including its February purchase of Myspace owner Viant, whose first party data the company expects will drive over $100 million in revenue this year.
"We are making progress to turn Time Inc. into a multi-platform, multimedia enterprise and we are infusing digital culture into our day-to-day operations," said Joe Ripp, Time Inc. chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement, adding, "Time Inc. is positioning itself to be a major player in digital video."
Digital gains, however, continue to be offset by declines in print advertising and circulation revenues as marketers and audiences alike continue to migrate toward digital content, especially video. Print advertising, which still accounts for the lion's share of Time Inc. revenues, dipped 3.6 percent to $270 million—although that drop pales in comparison to more substantial downturns in recent quarters. Likewise, circulation revenues, which account mainly for subscription and newsstand sales, decreased 4.8 percent to $238 million.
Print advertising declines were most severe in the beauty, fashion/retail, and media/movies categories, according to the company, while sales remained strong in food, travel, and automotive.
All of this is likely part of the plan for Ripp, who has not been shy about his efforts to transform the legacy publisher, both internally and externally, into a 21st century media outlet. The revenue shift from print to digital should only accelerate in the coming months, with Time Inc. announcing today that the people-based targeting capabilities of Viant's Advertising Cloud are now available to advertisers, far expanding the company's opportunities to sell digital advertising across its portfolio of brands.
Other Thursday announcements included the launch of a new virtual reality storytelling initiative for Life as well as new ad-driven video channels for People and Entertainment Weekly as the company aims to capture the growing number of cord-cutters seeking over-the-top streaming video content.