Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

More Not-Bad News From Time Inc.: People.com Booming

That was fun writing not-bad news from Time Inc. yesterday. Let’s try it again:

While it’s true that Time Warner’s (TWX) magazine unit is embattled, there are bright spots in the portfolio. Take People.com: The gossip magazine has always been one of Time’s strongest performers (good luck trying to find a discounted subscription). Now its companion Web site is, too.

The site boasts 8.6 million unique monthly visitors, per comScore (SCOR), up 36 percent in the last year, and generates a staggering 700 million page views per month–per Omniture (OMTR). Meanwhile, once-hot sites like TMZ.com (another Time Warner property) have tailed off.

Much of the credit for that goes to Mark Golin, the awesomely sharp and frumpy editor best known as the man behind Maxim magazine’s rise, way back in the late 1990s. He’s successfully broadened the site beyond just Britney/Paris/Lindsay news by adding features like a game channel, a shopping channel and the like.

One of the most successful expansions came via acquisition: When People.com bought Celebrity Baby Blog back in May, it was generating 6.9 million page views per month. Now it’s doing 30 million, Time execs say. And before my fellow journobloggers dismiss the work that the people at Celebrity Baby Blog do, ask yourself this: Did you know that Ashlee Simpson has named her kid Bronx Mowgli? Aren’t you glad you know now?

In any case, all those page views are translating into actual dollars–not digital pennies, as NBC’s Jeff Zucker would say. Time Inc. says People.com is now one of its 10 most profitable titles–that’s out of all of the company’s 174 properties, on or offline.

The company won’t attach numbers to that claim, of course. But given that Time Inc. generated $162 million in operating profit during a very lousy third quarter, you can get some sense of the property’s success. Now Time just needs many more just like it.


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