There was a day when offline and online were two very distinct paths through life. These days, however, that’s not really the case. Watching TV and reading for pleasure used to be strictly offline behaviors but now many people do both online. Why go to the computer to get your email when you can get it on your phone? And thanks to Samsung, I now sit down in front of the TV to catch up on Twitter.
Time Inc. has seen the writing on the wall and that’s why they decided to merge their print and digital sales unit into a new unit they call “Time Inc. Branded Solutions.” It’s a fancy name for a pretty simple idea – positioning your brand next to their brands without worrying about boundaries.
Time Inc.’s brands cover entertainment, lifestyle, news and business. They currently own some of the most successful magazines such as Fortune, People, InStyle and Time. They also operate several powerhouse websites including EW.com, SI.com and MyRecipes.com.
But what exactly does this merger mean for advertisers? If it simply means that now you call one phone number instead of two in order to buy ads, that’s a shame. Hopefully what it means is that they’re actually working on making connections between online and offline, using print ad QR codes to drive readers to the web, using websites to alert readers of a print coupon in a magazine. The reality is, we’ve only barely begun to explore the options. Print ads that turn into iPhone videos, book excerpts that turn into a downloaded ebook. How about TV show reviews that program your DVR for you. Just think of the millions of ways magazine pages can interact with web pages and mobile apps. To get there, we have to stop thinking about print versus digital and it sounds like Time Inc. is headed in the right direction.
How would you combine print and digital to create the ultimate advertising experience?