Time inc. is ready to go long on longform video. The publishing giant has cut a deal with former Fox Television Studios chief Emiliano Calemzuk to develop a range of programming for online audiences derived from Time Inc.’s vast editorial resources.
Calemzuk’s focus will not be on setting up traditional TV and movie deals, but on establishing Time Inc. as a player in the VOD and SVOD arena. The company is targeting its existing subscriber base across more than 90 magazines with elaborate video productions.
Calemzuk is tasked with recruiting experienced film and TV creatives to work on projects inspired by stories from magazines ranging from Time, Sports Illustrated, People and Fortune to Horse & Hound, Golf Monthly and Yachting World. He also will be responsible for devising distribution strategies.
Calemzuk has an extensive background in production and distribution, having spent 14 years at News Corp. working in domestic and international TV. He was CEO of Elisabeth Murdoch’s Shine America operation prior to leaving the Murdoch fold in early 2012.
Time Inc.’s initial emphasis will be on unscripted material, particularly documentary fare that can benefit from the editorial pedigree of the group’s largest titles. Calemzuk wouldn’t rule out the possibility of teaming with traditional TV or film partners for projects, but his primary efforts will be online.
The endgame is to create a library of programming that Time Inc. controls. Calemzuk has set up a division within his newly formed L.A.-based Rampante production banner, dedicated to packaging and producing Time Inc. programming.
“We are no longer a magazine company — we are a company that owns incredible content,” said Time Inc. chairman-CEO Joe Ripp (pictured). “And we reach half the adult population in the United States with our brands.”
The deal with Calemzuk is a sign of Time Inc.’s newfound independence as a standalone, publicly traded company, following its June spinoff from Time Warner.
In the past, an effort to ramp up video production within Time Inc. would have been tied down by corporate red tape amid pressure on the company’s titles to work with Time Warner’s film and TV divisions, Ripp said. Calemzuk can seek out the best creative and distribution partners on a project-by-project basis.
Time Inc. rival Conde Nast has built a sizable entertainment arm focused on developing film and TV projects, as well as videos for the digital channels tied to each of its magazine brands.
“This company has incredible content, incredible reach and editorial integrity,” Calemzuk said. “There’s a depth to the storytelling that anyone working in video can only dream of. We’ve got all it takes to make great video content — now we’re going to build the creative ecosystem to translate those stories.”
Previously, Ripp noted that Time Inc. publications would do one-off specials tied to specific titles, notably People and Sports Illustrated. Calemzuk will work with editors across the company to develop ideas for video projects early on in the editorial process. One such project involves an initiative to examine one big story from different perspectives across multiple Time Inc. brands.
“The opportunities for these brands are incredible. The promotional power we have, the access to advertisers and the incredible content we have can translate into all forms of distribution,” he said.
Calemzuk added that the focus is on building a library content “to leverage the relationship (Time Inc.) has with subscribers directly. We want to control the distribution of the content as opposed to getting a license fee,” he said.