Is time running out on one of the most fabled names in media?
Senior executives at Time Inc. TIME -2.12% recently met to discuss a potential rebranding of the company that could include changing the publisher’s corporate name, according to several people familiar with the situation.
Such a move would be aimed at Time Inc.’s business and marketing partners, and would be intended to reposition the publisher as a modern media company with growing digital and video ventures.
“We’re excited about our business strategy and momentum, and we are in the early stages of considering a rebranding effort to reinforce the success of our transformation from a legacy publishing company to a multi-platform consumer media company,” said a Time Inc. spokesman.
Time Inc. isn’t contemplating changing the names of any of its magazine titles, which include TIME, People, Sports Illustrated and Fortune. Time Inc. could also launch a major rebranding campaign that would reposition the company without changing its name, one of the people familiar with the situation said.
Although no decisions have been made, Time Inc. has held preliminary conversations with some branding firms to better understand how those companies would approach a potential rebranding.
Among the names batted around by Time Inc. is “Life,” although one person briefed on the internal discussions said it is “way premature” to suggest that Time Inc. will change its name.
“Life” is the title of the now-retired magazine heavy on photojournalism, whose heydey was in the mid-twentieth century. Time Inc. recently revived the brand for a virtual reality platform.
Doing away with one of the iconic brands of American media would be a dramatic move, symbolic of how legacy publishers have been upended by the rise of digital media.
Time Inc. was co-founded by Henry Luce and Briton Hadden, who published the first issue of Time magazine in 1923.
Time Inc., facing steep print advertising declines like the rest of the industry, recently ended discussions with potential buyers of the company. Time Inc. has been emphasizing digital investments, including the purchase earlier this year of Adelphic Inc., an automated advertising buying platform, and the launch of such new social video brands as The Pretty, a beauty brand aimed at young women.
For the quarter ended March 31, Time Inc.’s total advertising revenue fell 8% to $331 million, as a 32% increase in digital advertising wasn’t enough to offset a 21% decline in print. The company also said it would cut its quarterly dividend. Last month, in a major restructuring, the company said it was eliminating about 300 jobs in the U.S. and abroad, or 4% of its workforce.
The idea of rebranding came up internally as a potential part of the company’s strategy moving forward, one of the people familiar with the situation said.