How Marc Benioff is transforming Time magazine

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When Salesforce.com founder Marc Benioff and his wife Lynn bought Time magazine from Meredith Corp. in 2018, it was read by many as a vanity purchase. A billionaire is buying a great media brand, to impress friends and impress people, without doing a lot of legwork.

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Why this matters: But the carving is proving to be transformative for the time being, as Benioff seems to have actively brought much of his technological ethos to the company Henri Luce founded over 100 years ago.

  • Benioff told me that Time plans to hit 30% revenue growth this year to more than $200 million, with editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal saying that about one-quarter of that will come from a studio unit that’s just two years old. .
  • Broadly speaking, the company used to be organized internally by function (editorial, marketing, tech, etc.), whereas it has now been reorganized around product (a la Salesforce).

Running news: “He’s pushing us to get out of those boxes,” says Felsenthal, calling for at least one Benioff meeting per month (as well as meetings with the board, at which Mark and Lynn both serve).

  • “For example, our Time 100 program always used to be a gala. One of the first things we talked about after he came over was about whether we could turn it into a summit. Said we could do it next year, because we had two months left, but he suggested we try to work it out right away. And it happened. We got into a fight with people like Hillary Clinton and Jared Kushner and Tim Cook Ended with a very successful event.”
  • Felsenthal, says Benioff, is not involved in any of the editorial decisions.
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Benioff says He does not view the success or failure of his time investments in dollar terms, although he repeatedly mentions his interest in becoming profitable, achieving $1 billion in revenue and becoming the world’s “number one media brand”.

  • Instead, he says he sees all business efforts as change catalysts, which is why Time will launch a massive sustainability initiative that will “all the ingredients to help our customers enter a net zero world, solutions, applications and technologies.”

Biggest challenge after acquisitionhe explains, there was a “personalization” within Time Inc. from both Meredith and the former home of businesses.

  • Some of them were getting office space and installing systems, but some also felt that Time had too much editorial freedom now that it was different from former Time Inc. peers such as Fortune and People.
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what is he saying: “I think innovation has to come organically and inorganically, like it does in Salesforce when you look at things like the Slack deal,” says Benioff, who says they compared the NYT/Athletic tie-up to BuzzFeed. Have paid more attention to the fall in the stock

  • “We’ve looked at acquisitions over time, but haven’t done that yet, I think because the first three years were really about stabilization … One thing I learned from buying Time is to buy the company.” And it’s much easier to bring it up than it is to buy one company from another.”

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