Time Inc. Keeps Spinning, CRO Caine Departs, Helped Establish Publisher's Programmatic Plans

Paul CaineEven as its parent Time Warner works on spinning off Time Inc. into its own separately traded entity, the company has been pursuing a more aggressive approach to programmatic ad sales the past few months --  albeit quietly.

But it will have to go forward without two champions of that process. Earlier today, Chief Revenue Officer Paul Caine announced he will leave the company after 23 years to become CEO of Dial Global, a producer and distributor of audio content. Read the release.

Caine's exit comes ahead of the departure of CEO Laura Lang, the digital vet who was brought in early last year to sharpen Time Inc.'s digital efforts in the face of industry-wide print declines. Lang will step down once parent company Time Warner completes the spin-off of the publisher into a separate, publicly traded entity.

Caine spoke with AdExchanger last week, before announcing his departure. He said Time Inc's plan is to ensure the company's flagship Time, People, InStyle, Entertainment Weekly, Sports Illustrated can resist marketer and agency cherry-picking by presenting opportunities that satisfy both its traditional direct sales model and the choice buyers are demanding.

Caine hadn't let on that he would be leaving, but wanted to make the case that the publisher was more ready now than before to face the digital present and future of the content and ad sales business.

AdExchanger: How does an established magazine company like Time Inc. feel about the trend of audience buying?

PAUL CAINE: Magazines have always been about "audience buying." Brands attract certain types of consumers and those consumers are usually defined by either demography or psychographic group or some level of collective identification that would determine them to be an audience. By that nature, magazines were often bought by advertisers to try to reach a composition of a specific audience. That’s the history of our business. As we go forward the concept of selling audience is not a foreign concept to our medium and as we’ve gone into digital and mobile and tablet we now have even more data that allows us to be more targeted towards audiences in more unique and more dynamic ways. That has been a growth opportunity for us on a consumer level and on an editorial development level.

What does that evolution specifically mean for advertisers? Where do publishers find strength when faced with the increased desire of marketers to buy narrow slices of your audience?

For advertisers, it’s not only a way for them to find vertical and more higher composition -- i.e., clearly defined, premium -- audiences. It's a way to reach their targets through the data that we’ve been able to pull together. Having that data is key and has allowed us to be able to do more than just select audiences by title. We can actually direct their focus on audiences based on cross-title behavior.

Can you talk about the data that Time Inc. possesses and how it allows the company to make audience buying work from a publisher's perspective?

Sure. The data that we own right now includes roughly 55 million households in our database in the U.S. It has all sorts of information that we have accumulated through our direct relationship with our consumers. It’s allowed advertisers to utilize the data to target their audiences uniquely.

There are a couple products that we’ve brought out to do just that, one of which is a programmatic product called Time Exchange, which launched in September. That’s proved to be very successful for those seeking out audiences and impressions through a programmatic method.

Then we take it one step further when we start doing things like "Time Amplify," which takes our audiences on primary websites or in magazine form, and finds consumers who would love that content, but may not go to those particular direct media to access it.

For example, I may like the InStyle red carpet that the magazine did during February. But I may not go to InStyle's site because I may not know they did that great red carpet package. We would go find them through partner networks both inside Time Inc. and outside, in order to give them the opportunity to enjoy that content. In other words, we're amplifying that content to target audiences for the purposes of expanding our content's reach.

In print we do the same thing. If we have an experience, let’s say it’s an advertising execution in a title that works really well in its high composition delivery against that market. We can then find more audiences in other Time Inc. titles that would also love that advertising experience. That’s using data in a more typically targeted way. For us, we look at it as opening up more opportunities for advertisers to drive engagement with their consumers.

Do you have any plans to expand Time Exchange?

Since advertisers are doing more programmatic buying, we obviously want to help them out. It’s not that we’re seeing advertisers going solely programmatic; there are some but that’s not the complete trend. They’re also looking for ways to get more meaningful relationships in a direct sales opportunity and that’s where we’re selling more programs. We just finished the Red Carpet season across many of our titles and you can see there were many different significant programs that advertisers engaged in that drove a wonderful relationship with the consumer and the advertisers messaging within those platforms. That's something can’t be purchased programmatically.

Are you referring to sponsorships or native advertising?

We're certainly more sponsorship-driven in our talks with advertisers.

Let’s talk about native advertising separately. Native is something that we’ve been out there exploring, but, really, it's not a new concept.

Advertorials, in other words.

Advertorials are one form of native ad. Basically the way we define native is "right message at the right place at the right time to the right consumer." When we think about "the right place," often that takes the shape of custom content an advertiser creates or we create for the advertiser that is their message to their consumer within our environment. An advertorial would do that and there are digital versions of that. But the key part of this is advertiser content. It’s not our editorial, we’re not creating custom edit for advertising, we’re creating experiences that advertisers can develop custom messaging for their products.

Time Inc. aims to offer engaged audiences, either through a programmatic framework or a directly sold sponsorships. How do you define that engagement? 

We measure engagement on many levels. Sometimes it’s through how many pages they’ve seen, how many articles they’ve shared. How an advertiser would measure engagement within that content experience varies to a large degree. Certainly we want to give them the opportunity to have their message seen, and then we want to make it more than just seen. It’s got to go beyond viewable impressions, it’s got to be effective viewable impressions. A lot of that relies on what the brand message or content experience is.

 

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