As Time, an old and staid media property, moves into digital spaces, the strategy behind it has come in as notably different than that of other longtime print mags transitioning to web formats.
While many brands just repackage content for the web, Time has used the new medium as a format to explore a different way of organizing and presenting content for the different audience. And the decades-old property has sliced and diced its information into verticals more aggressively, a strategy the brand sees paying off in more loyal readership.
Speaking to PaidContent.org, Time managing editor Jim Frederick pointed to the “vertical strategy” as a way to broaden the online reader base of the magazine while not diluting the Time brand:
“In developing the vertical strategy, we decided to pinpoint areas of reader and advertiser interest, blow them out as mini-publications in their own right… The idea was to get writers who can speak to Tech enthusiasts for Techland or personal finance fans at Moneyland, and forge new readerships, while still embracing our core audience and feeling familiar to our Time loyalists, too.”
Frederick also discussed Time‘s novel use of the blogging platform Tumblr, admitting that the site didn’t initially make sense to the brand as an extension before it was given another serious look:
“Initially, Tumblr was a conundrum for us… It’s a big social media presence, but we couldn’t figure out what we would use it for. There was no need to use it to republish stories. So we pretty much ignored it.”
Earlier this month, however, the brand brought two more extensions to Tumblr- Lightbox, an image Tumblr, and a separate Tumblr blog devoted to vintage Time content. Frederick muses:
“We could drop the apprehension and talk about Time the brand and have a little fun with it…Time is a cultural touchstone and it figures prominently into the movie posters and scenes. It’s a good showcase to highlight those appearances and celebrate the brand, but in not in a heavy-handed way.”
Frederick also commented that the brand’s web strategy was aimed not just at driving traffic, but implemented in part to stimulate print subscriber rates. It seems either way, stacked against competition, Time is well-primed to compete in the mags-as-blogs space.