‘Time’ turns to dig­i­tal ex­pert

Nam­ing Felsen­thal as mag­a­zine’s new edi­tor sig­nals con­tin­ued shift from print

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - Mike Snider

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

TIME

Ed­ward Felsen­thal helped ex­pand the mag­a­zine’s dig­i­tal op­er­a­tions, in­clud­ing a 24/7 news­room and video op­er­a­tion.

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