Time To Cut Copies Guarantee, Special Editions And Raise Newsstand Price By A Buck

time_cuts_ratebase.jpgBig announcement from Time Inc. — and, fortunately for its staff, it mainly involves cutting copies, not jobs. In “a bold attempt to revolutionize the way mass magazines sell advertising,” Time said late today that it will cut its rate base of copies guaranteed to advertisers in January by 750,000 (from 4 million to 3.25 million); drop the number of “targeted editions,” like Time‘s Style & Design, from eight to three; raise its newsstand price by a dollar to $4.95 next week; and transition to sell advertisers an “audience” the way television does.

Time president and publisher Ed McCarrick called the moves “groundbreaking.” Editor Richard Stengel called the moves “bold.”

Whatever they are, they come on the heels of Time‘s big summer announcement: the shift of its publishing schedule from Monday to Friday.

The full, “bold,” “groundbreaking” press release:

In a bold attempt to revolutionize the way mass magazines sell advertising, TIME magazine announced a dramatic decrease in its rate base, and at the same time said it will transition to an audience selling model — the way television networks sell — rather than on rate base. This change will go into effect January 2007, when the magazine moves to a new Friday on-sale date, it was announced today by Ed McCarrick, TIME president and worldwide publisher.

TIME will reduce its rate base from 4 million to 3.25 million, relying to a greater extent on subscriptions that are individually paid as well as other sources of subscriptions that have proven attractive to advertisers.

TIME advertisers will have the option of purchasing the magazine based on the new, targeted rate base or the new audience guarantee of 19.5 million readers per issue over the course of the advertising schedule. TIME will be the first in the publishing industry to use MRI’s new Issue Accumulation Study to support this audience guarantee. In addition, with the significant growth in traffic of TIME.com — a 90% increase over the last year — TIME is also taking the lead on developing and supporting research to measure the combined audience of multimedia brands.

“Just as TIME is setting the agenda by hitting newsstands on Fridays, we are taking a leadership role by delivering to advertisers what they’ve been demanding from the industry for some time — greater transparency, timeliness and accuracy of audience and circulation,” said McCarrick. “TIME is making this groundbreaking move from a position of strength with solid PIB growth; increasing share of market; significant increases in TIME.com traffic; highly successful years for our international business and brand extensions; and tremendous editorial excitement with Richard Stengel as the new managing editor and Josh Tyrangiel as the new editor of TIME.com.”

Stengel said, “This bold step directly reflects the basic principles of the TIME brand: the pursuit of truth; being transparent, direct and honest with our readers and advertisers.”

TIME will also streamline its domestic offerings by reducing the number of targeted editions from eight to three. Apart from the national magazine, there will be TIME Global Business (with a circulation of 1.5 million) and TIME Select (with a circulation of 800,000.) TIME Style & Design (with a circulation of 550,000) will continue quarterly.

Beginning with next week’s issue (November 20, 2006) TIME will also raise its newsstand price one dollar, to $4.95.

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