Time, Yes, But What About Life?

Time Magazine to change its publishing schedule to hit newsstands on Fridays starting next year.

Sounds familiar to BusinessWeek, at least; we come out on Friday too. There’s just one thing. In the company release, Time President and Worldwide Publisher Ed McCarrick offers this as one reason for the switch:

“The new Friday on-sale date gives advertisers a tremendous opportunity to convey their messages to TIME’s 27 million readers before the weekend, when consumers do the large majority of purchasing.”

Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this more or less the exact same rationale Time Inc. had for re-resuscitating Life magazine in 2004 as a Friday newspaper supplement?

(Answer: Yes. From a December 2004 piece by Matt Flamm in Crain’s New York Business:

“One of the most compelling aspects to advertisers is you’re reaching people on a Friday, when they’re open to being influenced,” says Life President Andrew Blau. “By Sunday, you’ve missed out on a good 36 hours of the weekend.” )

Life has racked up an underwhelming ad performance since it began its third life. (Last pun, I promise.) Time Inc. execs readily admitted early ad projections would go unmet in the early months of its re-relaunch. As of late 2004, according to the Flamm piece:

Life expect[ed] to carry 500 pages of advertising in 2005, which would require a roughly 40% increase over its weekly average of seven pages.

Life’s actual year-end ad page total for 2005: 375.1.

Life’s ad page totals for the first half of ‘06: 204.5—which strongly suggests they won’t get to 500 ad pages in ‘06 either.

And next year there will be more competition—from its only other corporate sibling that can boast a name that carries as much institutional weight as Life itself.

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