Time Inc. Prepares To Get Serious About Online Video

By Megan O'Neill 

It looks like Time Inc. Is preparing to get a lot more serious about online video.  Last week they announced the launch of a new digital video unit.  The new unit will help the company tap into the lucrative online video market, and the revenue that goes along with that, as more and more video advertisers are looking to invest their ad budget in the online space.

The announcement went out in a company-wide memo from CEO Laura Lang.  Emma Bazilian of Adweek reports, “To manage the unit, Lang brought in J.R. McCabe, who was vp, chief video officer at Meredith Corporation.  In the newly created role of svp, video at Time Inc., McCabe will report to Todd Larsen, who was named evp and group president of news and sports over the summer and is also overseeing the digital video unit.”

Time Inc.’s 20 or so employees that have been working on video production for specific brands and the Time Inc. Studios group will now be centralized under McCabe and will work together across all Time Inc. brands.

Lang says, “This move will unify the strong but disparate efforts we currently have in video, bringing resources from all three clusters and the Time Inc. Studios together to create a strong team with a common set of facilities and back-end technologies.  Advertisers are continually looking for more that can be done in video.”

This isn’t the first hint of Time Inc.’s desire to get more involved with online video.  Last month Variety reported that Time Warner, Time Inc.’s parent company, was looking at Maker Studios, one of the largest YouTube networks, for possible investment opportunities.  As of yet, nothing official has been announced on this front, but this news, paired with the new digital video unit launch, show that Time understands the importance of getting in on this booming market.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes understands the importance of online video as well.  In a recent interview with Henry Blodget of Business Insider, Bewkes says that streaming sites like Netflix and Time Warner’s own HBO GO, as well as HBO On Demand, are becoming increasingly important for serialized shows like The Sopranos that need to be watched in order.

Bewkes does point out, however, that despite the fact that online video content is growing it still doesn’t hold a candle to TV in terms of dollars spent.  He puts things in perspective, bringing up Google’s $100 million investment in YouTube content and saying, “We’re doing $5 billion dollars a year of production on our networks and TV businesses.”  How much money will go into the content produced by Time Inc.’s new digital video unit has not been announced, but it will be interesting to see how the quality and success stacks up against other major players in video on the web.

Image credit: cybrian via shutterstock.com

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video expert here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.