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Memo Pad: Building Trust... Camera Ready... Growing but Shrinking...

Maybe all the celebrities were taken for Conde Nast's "Point of Passion" campaign.

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BUILDING TRUST: Maybe all the celebrities were taken for Condé Nast's "Point of Passion" campaign. Over at Time Inc., it's media buying executives who are the headliners of the company's new corporate ad campaign, "Trusted Connections." The campaign focuses on four media executives who control purchasing plans in Time Inc. and other titles. They were photographed to represent the Time Inc. brand of their choice and, in a statement, executive vice president Stephanie George drummed the point home: "These fabulous executives have always had star status in our world," she gushed. So who are these celebrities in the Time Inc. universe? They're John Lisko of Saatchi & Saatchi, George Janson of Mediaedge:cia, Robin Steinberg of MediaVest and Andrew Swinand of Starcom.

The campaign will run in the traditional trade and online venues, as well as on taxi tops and in Times Square. It was dreamed up by its in-house marketing and creative executives.

One of the campaign's tag lines, "We don't sell pages. We sell attention," was clearly front of mind at the company's Digital Showcase Wednesday, given the recent shift in focus on many of its Web sites from page views to "engagement." This coincides with a decision by Nielsen/NetRatings last month to give measurement of time spent on a site more weight than simple page view rankings. Even before the Nielsen move, some Time Inc. sites already had begun to shift their emphasis from breaking news to video content and social media, as shown in presentations from people.com's Mark Golin, si.com's Paul Fichtenbaum and Southern Progress Corp. representatives. Executive vice president John Squires acknowledged that, while those brands have made fairly natural transitions online, it is more "difficult to consider a unique position online" for a site like time.com, relaunched in January, though he hopefully pointed to that site's blogs.

Time Inc. also is beginning to package its principal 15 Web titles — those that have seen the most investment so far — as a group buy. The digital future was touted as the company's savior in an earnings conference call, also Wednesday, during which Time Warner chairman and chief executive officer Dick Parsons said that just about every quarter, he is asked about Time Inc.'s future within the group. His answer hasn't changed: He said the company is committed to the division and is "focusing on the titles that can have a life in the online space." Publishing revenues of $1.3 billion were essentially flat for the second quarter, reflecting higher ad revenues, offset by lower "other" revenues. Operating income rose 13 percent to $256 million, based on an increase before depreciation and amortization.
Condé Nast also owns WWD, although the "Point of Passion" campaign is only for the glossy magazines and Web destination Web sites. — Irin Carmon and Amy Wicks

CAMERA READY: Photographer Norman Jean Roy has signed a corporate contract with Condé Nast to shoot for a number of its glossy fashion magazines, including Glamour, Vogue, Men's Vogue and Vanity Fair. Roy joins the publisher's stable of high-profile photographers with corporate contracts such as Annie Leibovitz and Patrick Demarchelier. Roy has regularly shot covers and features for Vanity Fair, GQ, Men's Vogue and Glamour, where he has photographed female role models in its Women of the Year package. Outside of magazines, Roy has shot campaigns for Visa, Avon, Samsonite, Showtime and Lycra. — Stephanie D. Smith

GROWING BUT SHRINKING: Blueprint isn't increasing its frequency next year, but come January, it will once again raise its rate base. After increasing its rate base to 400,000 for the July/August issue from 350,000, the personal style magazine will grow to 450,000 early next year. But Blueprint owner Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia was in a giveth-and-taketh-away mode during a conference call Wednesday: Susan Lyne, president and ceo, said the group is reallocating $10 million it previously had earmarked for Blueprint. The company is shifting its marketing efforts from sending direct mail to potential subscribers to investing in more Internet expansion, including Blueprint, Lyne said. The rest of the money will fold back into the group's bottom line.

It needs the boost. Operating income in the publishing division fell to $5.1 million in the second quarter, compared with $6.1 million a year earlier, even though revenues rose 16 percent to $47.5 million. Ad pages jumped 12 percent at Martha Stewart Living and 22 percent at Everyday Food. Total ad revenues increased 23 percent in the quarter to $27.8 million. — A.W.
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