Qwiki Nabs Time Inc. Exec

Penn is second Time staffer in as many months to join a media startup

Another traditional media executive is making the leap to digital startup. Last month, Say Media named Time publisher Kim Kelleher president to focus on expanding brand and publisher relationships. On Thursday (Aug. 1) , Qwiki, a New York-based digital media startup, nabbed Time.com's director of business development, Sonya Penn, to oversee partnership adoption strategies for the company.

Qwiki, the winner of TechCrunch Disrupts 2010 Cup, has turned some heads by inking partnership with the likes of ABC News, which uses Qwiki's set of digital publishing tools to create interactive video experiences using images, social media, video clips, animation and voiceovers. The move to bring on Penn, who spent five years at Time Inc., is a clear signal that the company is aiming to rack up more lucrative partnerships with traditional and online publishers, a must if Qwiki is to move out of its nascent startup stage.

"I've spent a lot of time in the online video space and thinking about how traditional media companies can move ahead," Penn said of her tenure at Time. "The beauty of Qwiki is that big and small companies can use it quickly to create online video presentations. I'll be working on developing partnerships and monetization strategies, while using feedback from publishers to help continually develop our technology."

Penn insisted her departure from Time was amiable. However, her exit marks the second Time staffer move to a non-legacy company in as many months. Time Inc. has had a rough go of it the past few months; just yesterday the company announced another lackluster quarter with revenue down 9 percent and operating income down 43 percent.

Penn said her move is simply a natural byproduct of an ever-changing media landscape. "Traditional media has evolved and continues to evolve," she said. "I loved being here [Time], but we also see things down the road that are exciting. It's a change and it's different."