Time Inc. hosted its first Digital Content NewFronts party on Thursday, providing a preview of 7 new series and a video hub called The Daily Cut, and announcing several distribution partnerships.
Ahead of the company’s looming spinoff from Time Warner, the publisher — which owns iconic magazines like Sports Illustrated, Time and People — wants to show advertisers it’s investing heavily in digital content, and is asking brands to come on board for the launch.
Time and other traditional-media companies expanding into the digital space already have brand equity and legacy, which digital-native brands are trying to build. But in going up against web-based companies, they need to show their online video content is focused, social, and easy to find.
The Daily Cut was built as a way to aggregate video content in one place, based on the understanding that their consumer wants to be able to sort through sharable, social and trending content in one place, said J.R. McCabe, Time Inc.’s SVP of video.
“But it does not at all change our strategy of putting out content brand by brand — it’s just an additive to the entire function,” he said, adding The Daily Cut will be marketed across Time Inc.’s brands in print, social and digital.
“What we built is a patent-pending technology on handheld devices,” said McCabe. As a person scrolls up or down, the viewership window reduces so that she can continue to watch the clip while discovering others, he explained.
“It’s very addictive. You have the ability to share with friends, you have the ability to set up lists. We’re proud of it and we have more work to do with it, but we wanted to give a sneak peek today,” McCabe told StreamDaily after the presentation.
The aggregation effort is similar to Conde Nast Entertainment’s (CNE) new video network called The Scene, also announced this week.
In terms of quantifying Time Inc.’s investment into video, McCabe could not provide specifics but says it’s “in the millions of dollars.”
“When we say ‘significant,’ it’s a significant investment not just in lip service but in product, and hopefully you can see it,” he said.
In addition to the new series, which are listed below, Time Inc.’s documentary production unit that launched last year, called Red Border Films, has 6 six new projects in development for 2014. As well, SI Underdogs, Sports Illustrated’s Emmy-award nominated web series, is returning for a third season this fall. The show looks at high school football teams playing under adverse conditions, and tends to generate strong followings in the communities that are profiled.
Here are the new shows:
- PeopleNow – a live daily show hosted by Abbi Crutchfield and Jeremy Parsons.
- Fortune The Chat – Live-streamed one-on-one discussions with business leaders and visionaries moderated by Fortune mag’s Pattie Sellers and Adam Lashinsky.
- Eyesore – a real, affordable home reno show hosted by former SNL cast member Rachel Dratch and her long-time friend and interior decorator Alec Holland. It’s produced in partnership with Converge Media Group, Dratch, and Holland.
- The Climb – fashion, style and celebrity icons ( Camila Alves McConaughey, Tamara Mellon) talk about how they made it to the top. Produced in partnership with PowerwomenTV.
- I (Heart) My Closet – a look inside a celeb’s closet with a feel-good twist: the tour ends with the person (Jordana Brewster, for example) handpicking a few favorite items to auction off to benefit a charity of their choice. Produced in partnership with Solaris Entertainment.
- Entertainment Weekly Lightbulb – actors, writers, musicians, directors, comedians, and show runners open up to Entertainment Weekly about the creative process.
- Southern Living Biscuits & Jam – emerging talent and established favorites from the southern music scene stop by to sample home cooking and perform a private set.
Advertising opps include pre-roll, domination, share-of-voice campaigns, or owning an entire project. Time Inc. also creates branded entertainment, as they have done with Advil and Chase bank.
“We will never sell our marks and logos but we will work with a client to build a content creative arc that they can bring to life with their messaging weaved into the fabric of it,” McCabe said.
On Thursday, Time Inc. also announced new distribution partnerships with Daily Motion, Scripps Networks’ Ulive, Roku and Net2TV, where some of their video content will be carried. The company already has similar distribution partnerships with AOL On Network, Cinesport, Defy Media, NDN and NewsLook.
In total, Time Inc. has 50 recurring projects in production. They have three studios in New York where most of the projects are developed, as well as a studio in Birmingham, Alabama. A fifth studio is about to be opened up in Los Angeles.