Business Media & Marketing
Clock Is Ticking for Time Inc.’s CEO
Joe Ripp pushes online video, ‘native’ ads and ‘big data’ to save the company Henry Luce built; ‘slow and steady death’
By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg
July 27, 2015 10:39 p.m.
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In April, Time Inc. Chief Executive Joe Ripp flew to Procter & Gamble Co. ’s headquarters in Cincinnati determined to reverse an ominous trend.
Like many other marketers, the consumer-products giant is shifting more of its advertising online. P&G, the world’s largest advertiser, cut its print spending on Time Inc.-owned publications by a third last year, according to ad-tracking firm Kantar Media.
Mr. Ripp’s message: We have what you’re looking for. He outlined Time Inc.’s plans to invest aggressively in digital media, including online video, and to use “big data” it collects about readers to help target ads, say people familiar with the meeting. A spokesman declines to say how P&G responded.
Since taking the top job at Time Inc. nearly two years ago, the 63-year-old Mr. Ripp has been racing to reinvent what was once one of America’s most powerful media companies. He also is trying to counter the narrative that Time Inc. is a lumbering, old-guard print publisher unable to adapt to the digital age.
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The son of a former production chief at aircraft manufacturer Grumman Corp., Mr. Ripp worked his way through Manhattan College stocking supermarket shelves at night. Now he flies his own twin-engine Piper Navajo and owns a vacation home in Nantucket, Mass., where he is vice commodore of the Great Harbor Yacht Club.
A shock of white hair is the most visible sign of Mr. Ripp’s long history at Time Inc. He joined the magazine group in 1985 as assistant comptroller and became Time Warner’s finance chief in 1999.
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Ripp, Joseph [MC1973]
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