June 24, 2015 Last Updated 12:59 pm

Time Inc. signs content deal with mobile game developer, Etermax

Deal with the developer of such popular mobile games as Trivia Crack also involves the magazine publisher handling direct advertising sales

This is an interesting new deal for Time Inc.: a content deal with the game developer Etermax. The deal involves Time’s brands such as People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune, providing content for the games.

But the part of the deal that really caught my eye comes at the end of the announcement you can read below: Time Inc. will also handle direct ad sales.

While many publishers have been foolishly downsizing their ad staffs, it is good to see a deal announced that creatively gives the sales staff more real estate to sell.

Often publishers choose to downsize their staffs as sales decline. But the alternative approach is obviously to provide more products and ways for the staff to sell ads. Don’t downsize the staff, upsize the inventory. It’s hard to convince many of this, however, as the lure of downsizing is those incremental cost savings a publisher will enjoy in the quarters following their decision.

Cahners, later RBI, was famous for this. Reed Elsevier basically said that reps should do about a million dollars in sales, and if they fell below that number the staff would be cut and accounts reassigned so that the remaining reps would achieve that rather artificial number. (When I took over as publisher of Pollution Engineering I did a little research and found that the success of the magazine was directly tied to the sales resources allocated to it. It had declined from a $20 million a year magazine to $2 million.)

Of course, the obvious questions concerning a deal such as this one is what metrics will be available to the sales staff, are they prepared to sell advertising into mobile games, and will the results be tracked? (I’m sure you can come up with more questions.)

Meanwhile, while Time Inc. will handle direct sales, Etermaz, headquartered in Buenos Aires, has also announced a deal with Google AdMob to sell ad inventory programmatically. ”Google is excited to partner with Etermax to bring out global advertiser demand to one of the world’s largest game developers,” said Jonathan Alferness of Google AdMob in the May announcement.

Here is Time Inc.’s announcement:

New York, NY – June 24, 2015 – Time Inc. announced today that it has entered into a content partnership with Etermax, a mobile game developer that is launching a sequel to Trivia Crack, a popular mobile game with 74 million downloads in the US alone. The Trivia Crack sequel will be released in the third quarter and will have additional social features, as well as improved game-play.

TC-screenTrivia Crack is a multiple choice game you can play from any device (tablet, mobile phone, etc.) and with Facebook friends via a mobile app. Under the agreement with Etermax, eight Time Inc. brands — People, Time, Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Food & Wine, Travel+Leisure, People en Español and InStyle — will provide content for the games.

“Trivia Crack is an information-based game, and Time Inc.’s brands inform the largest publishing audience in the US. Our brands are synonymous with popular trivia categories like celebrities and entertainment, sports, news, and fashion. Trivia Crack will be a great platform where Time Inc. and Trivia Crack can delight millennial audiences,” said Steven Haft, Senior Vice President of Innovation for Time Inc., who is responsible for the alliance.

“Teaming up with Time Inc.’s top brands to provide content for Trivia Crack is a milestone for our company and will enable us to cater to a wider audience. We are delighted to have Time Inc. as part of the Trivia Crack sequel, which will be an even bigger success,” said Maximo Cavazanni, CEO of Etermax.

The brands of Time Inc. will provide questions and answers that will form the basis for eight categories of Trivia Crack gaming. Dedicated staff at Time Inc. will write questions that fall within each of the categories, and they will also publish user-generated questions.

Ad units that accompany the games will be sold programmatically by Etermax and Google AdMob, with Time Inc. handling direct sales.

Source: Time Inc.

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