Monday, January 14, 2013

Morning Brief: Digital ad pro proves very old school as head of Time Inc.; Terry Snow retires as CEO at Bonnier, replaced by long time colleague Dave Freygang; Hearst Newspapers update their tablet edition apps

There were those who wondered if Laura Lang, the head of digital ad agency Digitas, had the old school publishing background necessary to run a magazine company, Time Inc. But after one year Lang seems to have some old school skills, after all – bringing in consultants, then chopping heads.

Hired at the end of 2011 to turn around the magazine company, one of Lang's first moves was to bring in Bain & Co. consultants, a sign, some said, that Lang didn't know what to do in her new role outside the world of advertising agencies. Others (including this site) speculated that Bain would provide the cover necessary to chop heads.

According to reports last week, the heads will begin to roll as 700 positions are said to be eliminated when the time comes this quarter.

2012 was not a banner year for many of the Time Inc. titles: Real Simple, for instance, saw its ad pages fall over 17 percent. Time, People, Sports Illustrated, and Entertainment Weekly all also saw ad pages fall between 4 and 11 percent during the year, with only InStyle netting any ad page gains in 2012 (5.4 percent).

In addition to the staff cutbacks, Adweek is reporting that Time Magazine will also cut its frequency in 2013, producing three double issues in the year, versus only one double issue in 2012.

On Friday Bonnier Corp. announced CEO Terry Snow would be retiring, effective on Monday, January 14 (that would be today). Named to replace Snow was Dave Freygang, who has been serving as Executive Vice President for Bonnier’s Active Interest Division.

Freygang is a money guy, originally brought in 23 years ago by Snow to act as CFO of World Publications. World Publications at the time before it was acquired by Swedish publisher Bonnier, was comprised of such titles as Yachting, Islands, and Saveur Saveur being the old ball property as it was not tied to sports fishing and other Florida past times, and was published out of NYC.

"I’m very excited to be offered this new position,” Freygang said in the company announcement. "We see many new opportunities for our brands as we continue to expand our digital platforms and grow new audiences. These are both challenging and exciting times for special interest media and I look forward to working with the rest of the company to grow and strengthen Bonnier’s position in the U.S. market."

Hearst Newspapers this morning issued updates to its four newspaper tablet editions: San Francisco Chronicle for iPad, Houston Chronicle for iPad, San Antonio Express-News for iPad and Albany Times Union for iPad. The updates are bug fix related.

Other than these tablet editions, only one other tablet product has come out of a Hearst Newspaper lately, and that was 49er Insider, a tablet magazine created using the Mag+ platform. It turns out that venture was a pretty smart idea as the 49ers this weekend beat the Green Bay Packers to advance to the NFC championship game.