‘Time’ turns to digital expert
Naming Felsenthal as magazine’s new editor signals continued shift from print
Time magazine has chosen a new editor-in-chief, an in-house veteran whose online journalism experience is expected to drive the storied media outlet’s digital evolution.
Edward Felsenthal, currently the editor of Time Digital and the group digital director of news and lifestyle at Time Inc., will succeed Nancy Gibbs, the magazine’s first woman editor-in-chief, who is stepping down. Gibbs has said she plans to remain until the end of the year to help with the transition.
The elevation of Felsenthal, who joined Time in 2013, signals the continued emphasis on digital journalism at the outlet and its parent company Time Inc. Felsenthal helped expand Time’s digital operations, including the adoption of a 24/7 newsroom and still-growing video operation.
“With his proven talent and record for driving significant digital and video growth for Time and more than a dozen brands across our portfolio, Edward has demonstrated that he is also an entrepreneurial, innovative talent and the perfect person to lead TIME’s continuing expansion across all platforms, reaching new audiences while upholding the trusted journalism that has defined the brand,” Time Inc. CEO and President Rich Battista said in a statement.
Felsenthal, 51, is the 18th editor for Time, which was founded in 1923 and now has a overall reach of more than 100 million.
In 2008, he helped co-found The Daily Beast, serving as its executive editor. He began his career at The Wall Street Journal, where he was the founding editor of its Personal Journal, which won two Pulitzer Prizes. He also covered the U.S. Supreme court.
A graduate of Princeton, Felsenthal is a native of Memphis. A member of the bar in Tennessee and the District of Columbia, he also earned a doctor of jurisprudence degree from Harvard Law School and a master’s in law and diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts.
“Time has changed dramatically over the last four years ... the idea being to do for the hour what Time has done for nearly a hundred years for the week,” Felsenthal said in an interview Thursday with USA TODAY.
Some of Time‘ s recent examples of digital and print successes include coverage of the eclipse, which resulted in Time.com’s largest traffic day of 9 million unique visitors. They were able to see 360-degree and virtual reality coverage, as well as interactive graphics and, ultimately, a threepage story in Time magazine.
“It’s using platforms and telling stories in ways we simply weren’t four years ago,” Felsenthal said. “You are going to see much more of that going forward. More projects that use all of our muscles and all of our storytelling techniques. We are going to ramp it up, while continuing to produce a great magazine.”
In recent years, Time Inc., which includes Fortune, Money,
Health, Southern Living, Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine, has faced declining circulation and print ad sales, as has much of the industry. Magazine circulation revenue has fallen from $8.3 billion in 2012 to an estimated $7.6 billion in 2016, with print circulation down from $8 billion to $6.6 billion, according to consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Time circulation has fallen from about 3.3 million in 2014 to about 3 million today, according to Alliance for Audited Media.
Magazine advertising revenue, meanwhile, has remained stable, falling more than 3% to $16.6 billion in 2016, but print ads have fallen 17% to $11.2 billion during that time.
The nation’s largest publisher, Time Inc., posted a net loss of $44 million in the second quarter of 2017, compared with profit of $18 million the prior year. Secondquarter revenue fell 9% to $694 million.
Analysts expect Time Inc. to post third-quarter profit of $22 million, up from a net loss of $112 million, a year earlier, based on analysts polled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. Revenue is expected to fall to $700 million.
This past week has seen a number of changes at the helm of major magazines. Last week, longtime Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter announced his departure. Earlier this week, Elle editor-in-chief Robbie Myers stepped down to be replaced by Marie Claire creative director Nina Garcia.
“It’s using platforms and telling stories in ways we simply weren’t four years ago.” Edward Felsenthal
Edward Felsenthal helped expand the magazine’s digital operations, including a 24/7 newsroom and video operation.