Time Inc. leaks reorganization news weeks ahead of its second earnings report
More layoffs are expected as the publisher looks to fulfill on its promise to produce revenue growth in 2016, now via video and events, rather than print ad pages
Time Inc. will be reporting earnings on Thursday, August 4, and should provide media watchers with an interesting show. The company has promised since last year, that it would be able to report a revenue gain in 2016, and has been making small acquisitions in order to make sure they deliver on that promise.
But investors are not so sure, and Friday’s WSJ story that the company was about to implement another reorganization, helped convince at least some to take the stock down. TIME stock is down nearly 3 percent again today (the market overall is down slightly).
The WSJ story says that Rich Battista (right), brought in last year to run the People and Entertainment Weekly franchises, will be leading the effort to drive more revenue from video and live events (though reading the story a few times I failed to really see what the actual plans are, other than to have more layoffs). Executive Vice President Evelyn Webster runs the other side of the business, and appears to be the one who gets to deliver more pink slips when the time comes. Webster was formerly chief executive of IPC Media, now Time Inc. UK, and some wonder if that business might be shopped or spun-off should the promised revenue growth not materialize.
Time Inc. CEO Joe Ripp, who spends more time giving interviews than just about any media executive out there, recently needed to explain again why Time Inc. acquired Viant, along with the old social network Myspace.
Myspace got the press because no one could believe another legacy media company would be so dumb as to buy Myspace after Rupert Murdoch has already made the same mistake.
“We need to look at it,” Ripp told <strong>BusinessInsider of the Myspace acquisition. “I don’t have a plan for it yet. I’ve been focusing mostly on the integration of Viant.”
Those who should know have told me that the Viant acquisition looks to have been a good move, at least in theory. Assuming there are those in the company that make it work, it should provide some Time Inc. sellers with the kinds of data that digital marketers want.
But that points to the main problem at Time Inc., one part of the company appears to be heading in one direction, while the other is being dragged along. Even new digital sellers brought in tend to get lost in the corporate structure and soon are out the door, often laid off.
Time Inc. is a bit like a car with four flat tires, and a driver who only pumps air into one of the tires every time someone points out the problem.
Achieving the goal of recording revenue goal will prove hard if half the business continues to bleed ad revenue. The hope is, obviously, that the other half will grow fast enough to offset any losses. In the meantime, look for yet more layoffs.