It looks like third quarter 2017 will be another sleeper for Time Inc as Wall Street is expecting another earnings miss for the media company. In addition, Time Inc is expected to report its 3rd consecutive revenue slide this year with an estimated 6.7% drop this quarter. Though Time Inc does get an ‘A’ for effort, nothing it has done so far has changed the company’s current trajectory. Time Inc continues to expand its digital offerings and ad tech capabilities. The company has also been cutting staff and cutting print frequencies for many of its publications in an effort to save money. Another major thing hampering Time Inc that many of its competitors don’t have to worry about are articles like these talking about its upcoming earnings report. We always go back to what Edgar Bronfman said about Time Inc being a public company. Mr. Bronfman who kicked off a bidding war for the publisher earlier this year said that Time Inc will not be able to transform itself if it remains a public company. Reason for this being that regardless of what is being done or being said by executives namely CEO Rich Battista, his top priority as CEO of a publicly traded company is to deliver value however he can for his shareholders. Because of this, other things will inevitably take a back seat.
The company has been rolling out new offerings in digital media and services across its brands. One of its latest digital offerings, the social native video food brand ‘Well Done’ has been having some early success less than a year after it launched. Time Inc announced that ‘Well Done’ has generated 500 million views after expanding its content offering and distribution channels. But what does 500 million videos views mean? It sounds good, but what will they do with that? The company only touted the number as proof that the concept is working. But again, what will they do with those 500 million views. Stacey Rivera, digital content director for food at Time Inc is adamant that the model is a viable one saying that they have already made back their investment. CEO Battista recently revealed that the company is in talks with digital media companies about possibly launching print magazines around their brand. This effort is a page out of the Hearst playbook which has since been copied by publishers like Meredith which is currently having major success with ‘The Magnolia Journal’ a magazine launched in partnership with “Fixer Upper” stars Joanna and Chip Gaines. Whether Time Inc can have that same success is another story. Shareholders may not have an appetite for launching whole new print products at the moment. Something Hearst Magazines and even Conde Nast never really have to worry about.