Seeking to add scale for marketers, Time Inc. and Smithsonian Media announced a partnership in which Time Inc. will include Smithsonian’s print and digital properties in its integrated sales offerings.
The two companies will share the resulting ad revenue.
Smithsonian Media is a division of Smithsonian Enterprises, the moneymaking unit of the Smithsonian Institution. It publishes the eponymous, 2 million-circulation flagship magazine, whose subscriptions are tied to membership in the institution. It also owns Air & Space and the Smithsonian Channel.
Both companies have suffered through the economic downturn along with the rest of the industry. Smithsonian carried 378 ad pages in 2009, a decline of 26 percent from 2008, per the Mediaweek Monitor and PIB. Time Inc.’s flagship Time magazine shed 21 percent of its pages in 2009, to 1,299. Meanwhile, siblings Fortune and Money lost 33 percent and 29 percent of their ad pages, respectively.
Both companies described the agreement as a way to expand their ability to penetrate travel, finance, technology, pharmaceutical and corporate branding advertising.
“We are one and two titles deep in all of those key target markets, and this would add a third medium or third site to that media buy,” said Leslie Picard, president of Time Inc. corporate sales and marketing.
The deal bears some similarities to Time Inc.’s longstanding management services agreement with American Express Publishing, parent of Travel + Leisure and Food & Wine. The two companies also collaborate on cross-title integrated marketing programs.
For the independent Smithsonian, the ability to add scale is particularly important, said Kerry Bianchi, group publisher, Smithsonian Media.
“Media buyers are looking for scale and ease of purchase,” she said. “There’s added pressure for buyers, and the idea of being part of a corporate entity is attractive when that’s a core decision factor.”
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