Politics and big news stories may be Time’s stock in trade, but in an online world, a weekly newsmagazine brand needs to find new digital currency. For the past two years, Time has been spinning off its content into online verticals like Techland, Healthland, Swampland, and Time Ideas.
Now comes its newest: Time Entertainment. The vertical, edited by Gilbert Cruz, will cover movies, TV, books, music, games, and celebrity, with more than 100 pop culture lists and daily recommendations. Along with the vertical, Time will launch a related app, Populist. It will center on the lists and e-commerce of books and music from iTunes and Amazon, from which Time will get a standard cut of the sales. Time Inc. may not have the benefit of a subscription deal with Apple, but as the vertical and app show, it’s trying to get its content out in other ways.
“Our vertical strategy was a way to grow our overall audience of Time.com but do it in a more methodical way,” says Craig Ettinger, the general manager of Time.com. “The idea is leveraging the content we already find to be popular, where there’s an audience demand for it, and [ask] does this make sense as a mobile or tablet product.”
Entertainment was a logical choice for a vertical for two reasons: Entertainment content already drives 10 percent of the traffic on Time.com, and it also lends itself to social media that keeps people engaged longer. To that end, the app and vertical have a number of ways for people to interact with, customize, and share the content.
As a nonsubscription app, Populist won’t have the benefit of being in Apple’s Newsstand, which launched this past week, but Ettinger is banking on the viral nature of entertainment for its spread to users: “I think people are going to find it pretty quickly.”