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SPEAKING OF DIGITAL…: The publishing company of the future will rely heavily on digital and so the race has begun to poach the best and brightest to oversee it all. On Monday, Time Inc. appointed Interactive Advertising Bureau chief executive officer Randall Rothenberg executive vice president, chief digital officer, a new position. The move signals Time Inc. is ready to put more money and man power into the digital space and build on what it’s accomplished in 2010, with the acquisition of StyleFeeder and creation of shopping site StyleFind, which launched a few weeks ago.
Rothenberg, who starts his new position in mid-January, has been charged with exploring digital revenue opportunities such as acquisitions (presumably going head-to-head against Advance Publications’ Andrew Siegel) and expanding its advertising supported and subscription business. To date, People magazine is the only title that has formed a subscription model with Apple (subscribers to the magazine can also access it on the iPad). Rothenberg has a history in publishing, spending six years at The New York Times as technology editor and politics editor for the Sunday magazine. He also covered media and marketing as a reporter.
“I’m so far beyond that now that we can leave that to the journalists,” Rothenberg told WWD, adding that he’s been speaking with Time Inc. ceo Jack Griffin for weeks about the job but doesn’t have a game plan that he’s ready to reveal. “The opportunities and challenges are fairly clear,” he noted. “There’s been a remarkable explosion in the mobile space. We’re just entering a period where every week, a new tablet device of some kind will debut in the marketplace. We need to rethink and reimagine media brands and products. We are probably entering an unparalleled time and there is so much to be considered.”
On his early agenda he will be addressing questions and issues relating to data usage and control. “Data fuels interactive media and it’s important to understand what we mean when we talk data and what the various forms are,” he said. In addition to his work at Time Inc., Rothenberg will also serve as a representative on the board of Next Issue Media, the consortium of Time Inc., Hearst and Condé Nast.
— Amy Wicks