Time Inc.’s Griffin: “People Tired of Hearing About Cutbacks”

In an extensive Day 1 memo to employees, new Time Inc. CEO Jack Griffin said he would seek to improve internal collaboration, expand ways to serve advertisers and build new revenue streams—a message that is lifting spirits at a company with a difficult history of cooperation and massive downsizing.
“People are tired of hearing about cutbacks,” one staffer said. “Now, we know where we need to go.”
Griffin has received industry praise for expanding the cross-platform marketing capabilities at Meredith, where he most recently led its magazine division. One senior exec at Time Inc. noted that while Meredith’s magazine brands predominantly serve women, finding a unifying theme is more complex at Time Inc. with its diverse portfolio of magazines from InStyle to Sports Illustrated.
“There’s a bigger challenge here,” this exec said, “but I think he’ll address it.”
Griffin laid out five principles in his Sept. 20 memo that he said would be instrumental to the company’s success. Based on those, he said Time Inc. needed to develop new products, consumer offerings and marketing expertise to create additional revenue.
“…we cannot achieve our bottom-line goals by just taking costs out of the business,” he said.
Griffin said he would work to strengthen internal communication through channels like electronic suggestion boxes and town hall meetings.
In a swipe at the attention paid to social media, Griffin said despite magazines’ “significant challenges,” Time Inc.’s brands have great potential because of their relationship with the consumer.
“At a time when social media gets much attention, it too often goes unsaid that magazines are the original communities of interest,” he said.
Griffin said the Magazine Publishers of America, where he is incoming chairman, would be “promoting this message aggressively in the future.”