On Thursday, Time Inc. unveiled The Foundry, a content and creative collective comprising Time Inc.'s Innovation Studio, Content Solutions and Time Inc. verticals, including The Drive, a new automotive site set to launch in September.
The Foundry will be headed by Mark Ford, evp of global advertising sales. The new division will eventually be set up in Time's new office at Industry City in Brooklyn.
Adweek spoke with Chris Hercik, vp of Time Inc.'s Native Studio, about putting the company's Innovation Studio and Content Solutions groups under one roof and how Time's in-house studio will stand out from those of other publishers.
Adweek: Why launch The Foundry?
Chris Hercik: It plays into the strength of what Time, Inc. is about: storytelling and immersive consumer experiences. We have several different groups that have produced content from branded content to the editorial brands themselves. But we never really had them all in one place and as one offering. What this is doing is its really bringing the best in class in content and in creative into one collective that taps into those pillars.
By using our portfolio of iconic brands, we'll be able to deliver premium content at scale. Time Inc. reaches one in two U.S. adults, so we have the ability to reach multiple audiences and target content in a very strategic way.
How will Time's Content Solutions work with brands under this new structure?
Obviously, they'll continue to work with the brands that they've already serviced. The nice thing about having this one group now is that we're able to offer the breadth of content. For example, even though Ford in the past worked with branded content, we now can also service them with native content or, obviously in this case in point, it would be a good opportunity in a product like The Drive. This is how we can leverage those three pillars with multiple clients. The nice thing is its one source, one place to come for all this. We don't have to work in multiple different groups. There is one point of contact.
You're launching your first vertical under this new structure, The Drive, in September. What other verticals are you looking to launch out of this?
We're looking for other white spaces that we can tap into. Gear and tech is another one that we are looking into right now. Luxury and fashion is another. Those would probably be the ones in the near term.
The Drive is designed to be mobile-first. Is that what you're thinking for future verticals?
It will be whatever the vertical calls for. It will be responsive to what the market wants. In the case of The Drive, obviously, it's mobile-first. All of these new brands will be digital centric and, of course, they'll work across multiple platforms. In the case of The Drive, we know that that audience accesses content highly on their mobile platforms.
Why move to Brooklyn? Is The Foundry going to operate more independently being out there?
It's always going to be tied to Time Inc. It's built off of a heritage of Time Inc. We like to say we're a 100-year-old startup company now, because we are out on our own.
With a project like this, we needed to be in a space where we have a new creative vision and have the ability to work in a way where most companies are going to these days—in sort of an open area where there's a collaboration and free thinking. Having this content incubator in Brooklyn will give us that freedom to feel more like a startup.
For The Drive, we'll have a very big showroom out there. We're working with a partner to actively create an amazing space. This building has given us a new, fresh start in content creation and a fresh point of view.
Why the rush of publishers creating their own in-house studios and branded content shops?
We're in the gold rush of content right now. Everybody is looking for premium storytelling. If you had the option to build this out yourself as a company and try to create this from the ground up or work with a partner who has been doing it for over 100 years and has 26 of the most premium brands that already create content at scale, that's the offer that we have.
We can offer it from an editorial point of view or a branded content point of view. We know that when we partner with a client and we add a brand to the messaging, we see a 300 to 400 percent lift in viewability of that content, because it's attached to one of those Time Inc. brands.
That's why when other companies are creating content, that's fine. But the real power comes in when you add in Time magazine, Sports Illustrated, People magazine—when you add in those premium brands—that's where we see the largest boost in engagement.