Published On: Fri, May 23rd, 2014

Norman Pearlstine introduces cover advertizing to Time magazines

Pearlstine, who rejoined the Time Group Inc. in November of last year,  wasted little time in overseeing the  shattering an  industry taboo by accepting ads for the group’s two best-known titles Time Magazine  and Sports Illustrated.

Norman Pearlstine / Getty

Norman Pearlstine, the recently reinstated chief content officer at Time Warner Inc’s printed media division has changed the rules of the game in the printed media world by accepting advertising for the front pages of the group’s two most well read titles , Time Magazine and Sports Illustrated.

The first company whose advertisers will feature on both covers of these magazines for the next two  weeks will be Verizon Wireless, one of the United States largest providers of wireless Internet services.

Anyone expecting to see an in-your-face advert for Verizon Wireless on the cover of either of these magazines will be in for a bit of an anti-climax, with the actual advert taking up minimal space, well symbolically marking a breakthrough in the concept of printed media advertising.

Pearlstine will be well aware of the fact  that he has placed himself in a position to be either loved or loathed by his colleagues in the media industry who have, until now, remained a solid block up till now in resisting the temptation to sell cover ads, despite facing a downturn in revenue from advertising media, is consistently more people suffer without in search of news.

By being the first to shatter the century long tradition, while at the same time violating the till now stringently observant  and long-running guidelines issued by the American Society of Magazine Editors,  which were put in place a number of years ago  in an attempt to protect the editorial integrity of the printed media.

It may be regarded as a coincidence that the Time and Sports Illustrated cover ads, have appeared now, a mere two weeks before Time Inc. Is due to begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange as an independent public company, no longer part of the massive Time Warner group.

time-magazine-cover Janet Yelen

While the breakthrough adds indeed a pretty small, reportedly just a logo of the Verizon and a single line sentence extolling the company’s virtues, strategically placed on the cover alongside the page number were much larger advert has been placed.

The news that Time Inc. are prepared to accept front-page advertising will come as no major surprise as their sales literature has been promoting the possibility for a little while, with the next possibility looking to be the opportunity run a banner ad across the bottom of the group’s magazine covers, with reports already circulating  that major media advertisers  have already been given an opportunity to view  who have seen mock-ups of how the ban would look on the bottom of the page.

Commenting on the latest development Norman Pearlstine stated that the industry can either say this is a groundbreaking decision to put ads on covers after 91 years in the business or you can say this is a relatively modest reference that catches up to what’s going on in the industry.

“ We want to do things that make sense for all of our stakeholders, including readers, viewers in digital space, advertisers and others.” Pearlstine continued his explanation.

Recent reports of  Time Inc. first-quarter ad revenue at Time Inc, could be described as less than inspiring remaining more or less static at $390 million, a figure which they will be anxious to increase as they become a public company with direct responsibility to their shareholders, which will undoubtedly involve moving with the times.

Norman Pearlstine graduated with a Batchelor of Arts degree in history from Haverford College, later attending the University of Pennsylvania where he earned a degree in law.

Pearstine began his professional career with the Wall Street Journal in 1968, remaining with the journal for 24 years, excepts for a two year hiatus between 1978 and 1980, when he took on the role of executive editor of Forbes magazine.

During his time at the Wall Street Journal, Norman held down a number of positions in the United States and overseas, eventually reaching the post of executive director, before leaving the Wall Street Journal in 1992.

After Wall Street, Pearlstine was involved in the launch of “SmartMoney” one of the first financial portals to appear online, before being appointed editor in chief of Time Inc., in January 1995, a position he held till the end of 2005 Norman continued to serve as a senior adviser to Time Warner through most of 2006.

During his long and distinguished career, Norman Pearlstine has been the recipient of a number of awards, including a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Magazine Editors, the Loeb Lifetime Achievement Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism and the National Press Foundation’s Editor of the Year Award.

 

 

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