With YouTube and Facebook sitting atop the list of top digital content platforms, it’s not surprising that Time Inc. invited about 1,000 attendees of its 2017 Digital Content NewFronts event to “get real” with the company’s “real brands, real people, and real results.” It’s was direct shot at the “fake news” that was found on Facebook during the 2016 presidential election as well as an indirect shot at the more recent “brand safety” concerns triggered when video ads appeared on YouTube channels that impersonate legitimate creators in the Partner Program.
Don’t take my word for it. Here’s what Rich Battista, the President and CEO of Time Inc. said during his presentation: “At a time when real facts, genuine relationships, integrity and trust are at a premium, our brands are being sought out more than ever for the quality and diversity of their video storytelling.” He added, “We couldn’t be more excited to build on our digital momentum by continuing to innovate and evolve how we create and deliver compelling video content to fans and marketers across all platforms.”
So, does Time Inc. have a legitimate shot at pulling ad dollars away from Facebook and YouTube? Well, consider this: The company marked a major milestone at its NewFronts event: Time Inc. has garnered one billion monthly digital video views for the first time for the month of April, representing nearly 100% year-over-year growth, and is on pace to deliver more than 8 billion this year.
Time Inc: 50K Videos To Be Uploaded in 2017
Oh, and Time Inc. expects to produce more than 50,000 videos this year, including 150 new and returning franchises and series and over 1,500 live programming hours. It is also on pace to exceed 8.5 billion views this year, nearly doubling the previous year’s total. So, when it says, “get real,” it has some serious street cred to back up its tough talk.
So, video marketers will want more details about the diverse slate of programming, brand extensions, and new initiatives that were unveiled at the NewFronts event held at the Hammerstein Ballroom, which was once called the Manhattan Opera House, by Time Inc., which now calls itself, “one of the world’s leading multi-platform content companies.” They include a new Sports Illustrated streaming video on demand service, a second People Now live daily talk show, three new all-social video brands, an Essence partnership with Twitter and Adapt Video, as well as a new mobile video advertising product. Here are the details:
New Sports Illustrated streaming video on demand service: Time Inc. announced plans to launch a sports-focused streaming video on demand service from Sports Illustrated at the NewFronts event. The new service will provide comprehensive long and short form sports programming using SI’s critically-acclaimed storytelling. It will feature a wide range of content, including: original series, exclusive documentaries, analysis from SI’s roster of experts, fantasy sports shows, as well as live and on-demand programming from marquee sports and entertainment events, such as SI Swimsuit and the annual Sportsperson of the Year celebration. The network will also feature productions from the SI Group family of brands like GOLF and The MMQB, and will count a robust library of more than 50 hours of sports video content at launch.
Weekly Essence Now to be streamed live on Twitter: Time Inc. has partnered with Twitter to stream Essence Now, the weekly, digital live show from the editors of Essence. Launched in 2015, Essence Now features celebrity interviews, musical performances, expert advice, and much more. The latest collaboration for Time Inc. and Twitter, Essence Now will be the first live show on Twitter targeting Black women. Essence Now streams on Tuesdays from 3-3:30 PM (ET) on Essence.com and will be available on essence.twitter.com and on @essence in the coming months.
People Now expands with new half-hour afternoon entertainment show: People Now, the 30-minute live, daily onlin entertainment news and celebrity interview show that airs Monday-Friday at 8:30 am ET on People.com, is expanding to an hour in Fall 2017 to include a companion daily half-hour afternoon program. It will feature the buzziest stories of the day, with even more breaking news and celebrity interviews, such as past guests Eva Longoria, Vanessa Hudgens, Derek and Julianne Hough, Venus Williams, and more. People Now has shown record-breaking digital growth since its debut three years ago.
New all-social video brands: Time Inc. unveiled The Pretty, ReMade, and The Barrel. They are set to launch this year and build on the recently successful launch of Well Done, Time Inc.’s first all-social video brand which has generated 155 million video views since launching in March.
- Launching this summer, The Pretty is a new standalone social video brand for a millennial and Gen Z audience that is passionate about beauty. Sponsored by L’Oréal Paris and Maybelline New York, The Pretty will leverage Time Inc.’s beauty portfolio, including HelloGiggles, People, InStyle, Real Simple, Essence, PeopleStyle and People en Español, and its audience of approximately 52 million unique visitors per month; over 50 million fans and followers on social media; and nearly 20 million millennial visitors across the Time Inc. sites. The Pretty’s videos will launch on new Facebook and Instagram channels and will be distributed through the HelloGiggles’ Facebook and Instagram handles. Time Inc.’s beauty portfolio will also distribute the videos.
- ReMade, a social video brand for people who love DIY and home hacks, is scheduled to launch in the fall of 2017. From the editors of Real Simple, ReMade aims to inspire our audience to organize, create, and remake your space through short videos that are fun and sharable.
- The Barrel is a new social destination for everything around the culture of wine, cocktails, beer and beverages. From how to pour a beer correctly, to mixing the perfect martini, the new brand will cover it all… as long as it’s liquid. The Barrel is set to launch by year’s end.
New editorial franchise: Following the launch of Coinage earlier this year – which delivered more than 600 videos for the digital sites and social channels of Time Inc.’s 22 brands – the company announced:
- The Fix: The most recognized lifestyle experts from television and the Web, including Ayesha Curry, Nicole Curtis, Sabrina Soto, and Carter Oosterhouse, come together in digital, all in one place, to create and host a next-generation lifestyle programming platform. This informative video series brings viewers inside the world of renowned experts, providing ideas for simple, fun fixes across a wide range of topics from kids and family, food and entertaining, style and design, health and wellness, beauty and fashion, DIY and home improvement, and more! And because it spans genres it will live across an array of Time Inc. brands, with relevant content programmed on People, Real Simple, Food & Wine, Cooking Light, and other Time Inc. properties. Collectively, these sites represent tens of millions of unique monthly visitors. The Fix will be produced in partnership with Believe Entertainment Group and Flutie Entertainment, who will also serve as executive producers on the series.
American Anthems (from People and Southern Living): A new, unscripted series that celebrates moving stories from the nation’s heartland and brings them to life as brand new country songs, written and performed by some of country music’s biggest artists and songwriters. Grammy Award-winning Big Machine artist and Sugarland lead singer, Jennifer Nettles, serves as the series executive producer and will also be the subject of the first episode. (She fell of the stage near the end of the NewFront event and broke a rib.) In each episode, a new artist will meet with an ordinary person who has demonstrated a great feat of courage, charity, or character and visit places from the storyteller’s past, meet their families, and witness their struggles to overcome adversity. From these up-close-and-personal experiences, the featured artist will craft a new, original song inspired by the deserving storyteller’s personal narrative, to be revealed before a live audience at the end of the episode. The series will live across several Time Inc. brands including Southern Living and People. American Anthems was concepted by and will be produced in partnership with Believe Entertainment Group, which will also serve as executive producers on the series.
Dirty Laundry (from InStyle): Dirty Laundry is a weekly, tongue-in-cheek celebrity interview series, hosted by InStyle’s Editor-in-Chief Laura Brown. Currently streaming on PEN (People and Entertainment Weekly Network), the show is set in a laundromat and each episode documents a light-hearted, witty conversation about the personal significance of a specific article of clothing or accessory. In one show, filled with humor and emotion, Indian actress/singer/producer Priyanka Chopra discusses a precious necklace which was given to her by her late father. In another, Australian actress Rose Byrne chats about a special t-shirt of her longtime love Bobby Cannavale.
EW REUNITES (From Entertainment Weekly/PEN Network): EW REUNITES has quickly become a PEN must stream series and Time Inc. is doubling down on the franchise by signing on for a dozen new episodes in 2017. The popular series is built on exclusive interviews with classic and beloved television and film casts including Who’s the Boss, Gilmore Girls, Twin Peaks, Thelma and Louise, and more. Each reunion special engages and amazes as former castmates come together to share memories, reminisce and captivate us with their untold stories. Last month, EW Reunites: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, delivered milestone viewership making it the most viewed piece of PEN content of 2017. The network’s upcoming episodes this year include Battlestar Galactica, The L Word, Pretty in Pink, and Do The Right Thing.
Family Portrait (From People): Family Portrait is a docuseries that explores the evolution of the modern American family and how our definition and understanding of it remains vibrantly in flux. Produced in partnership with Rainn Wilson’s award-winning production company Soul Pancake, Family Portrait takes a close look at the family unit in today’s society. The series is an inspiring look at us and our families in a completely unscripted way that embraces how families look, feel, and love – and what makes them special.
Firsts (from TIME): Firsts is a sweeping portrait of women who broke barriers and reshaped the world for all of us. From sports to politics to business, from science to the arts, this groundbreaking multimedia project – featuring world-class photography, short-form documentary videos, and exclusive interviews – will bring to vivid life the journeys of these pioneers. Featured subjects include Oprah Winfrey, Selena Gomez, Serena Williams, Gabby Douglas, Ellen DeGeneres, Danica Patrick, Aretha Franklin, and many more remarkable women.
The Boss Lady Project (from Essence): Young Black women are driven to succeed. The only problem? Having real access to someone in their chosen field. So, in its new series, The Boss Lady Project, Essence will give young girls around the country a chance to live like their idols. From a Chicago native who longs to be an urban farmer to the Oakland teen who wants to be the next Misty Copeland, these young girls will spend a day with successful Black women to find out what it really takes to be a boss – while Essence’s cameras capture the magic. By putting a spotlight on real women who have reached their goals, The Boss Lady Project will be an inspiring and authentic mirror for future generations.
Time Inc: Get Real
There’s just one more thing that I should mention: The company’s proprietary, identity and cross-platform device graph data for over 250 million registered users in the US. Jen Wong, the COO and President, Digital, at Time Inc. told the attendees – which included lots of media buyers – that the company could go way beyond providing demographics to marketing partners who wanted to deliver compelling video content to fans, including 3 of 4 millennials.
One of the media buyers who I had talked with while standing in line before the Time Inc. event had said she was interesting in hearing more about data from the presenters at the seven NewFronts that she planned to attend. I didn’t see her inside the Hammerstein Ballroom, but I’ll bet she totally geeked out when Wong finished speaking about all the data Time Inc. had collected from over 250 million social followers, 219 million monthly global visitors, and 30 million direct consumer relationships who interacted with 1,000 pieces of original content each day, including 77% on mobile devices. So, when a leading content company that engages over 170 million consumers every month through its portfolio of premium brands across platforms says “get real,” video marketers should take them very, very seriously.
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