Fortune, Money roll out new websites
Time Inc. magazines Fortune and Money will roll out their own websites at 10 a.m. on Sunday, freeing themselves from the CNNMoney.com joint venture that had contained their content for nearly a decade.
The new websites are part of a strategy by the company, which is splitting from the cable operations, to build the brand awareness of both titles.
CNNMoney is one of the most-visited business news sites in the country, with 17.6 million unique visitors in April. To be sure, the Fortune and Money content helped drive CNNMoney.com’s viewership. The top two traffic days on CNNMoney last year were Money’s “Best Places to Live” and Fortune’s “Best Companies to Work For,” and of the top 15 traffic days annually on CNNMoney, eight of them were content from Fortune or Money. (Read here for Talking Biz News coverage of CNNMoney’s strategy post-Fortune and Money.)
CNNMoney “has been a very successful website,” said Jed Hartman, the group publisher of Fortune and Money, in an interview with Talking Biz News on Friday afternoon. “It has been profitable. And it has drawn a lot of audiences and users, and it has satisfied marketers. However, for the Fortune brands and the Money brands, it has subordinated the brands quite a bit. Prior to the spinoff, we were in discussions with Turner about the brands. It is really a brand world today. With the spinoff, it became natural for us to go our ways and for Fortune and Money to create its own websites and brands.”
Fortune has hired two dozen journalists to work on its website, while Money has hired seven and plans to hire a few more. The Fortune website will be staffed from 2 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST each day, said managing editor Andy Serwer. Fortune plans to post about 90 stories per day, while Money plans to post between 20 and 25 stories per day. Money.com will also become a channel on Time.com. Both sites plan on adding more video.
The Fortune website will play up three strengths — its writers, its franchise lists, and its events — added Serwer. As for the events, such as the Fortune Global Forum and the 40 under 40, Serwer said, “That is a great, growing business for us, but again not fully exploited on the Web. We want these events to occur not just the three days they are held but 24/7 online all year.”
Money managing editor Craig Matters said its website would emphasize a “big idea” each month that is also featured in the magazine. The “big idea” for June is relationships and money, while ones later this summer and fall will include colleges in August, how to get to $1 million in September and best places to live in October.
Money was unable to focus on such personal finance stories throughout a month as part of CNNMoney, said Matters.
“There were times when we wanted to take big ideas and give them a longer life,” said Matters. “So a big part of what we wanted to do when we got the site back was to think about bid ideas and to think about a bigger tent. Financial news is a little bit limiting. You’re targeting a certain audience, but the audience that cares about money is a lot larger than the audience that goes to financial news sites.
“We want to cover all of the areas where you, your life and your money intersect.”
Both sites have flexible design structures and launch sponsors for their launches. Hartman declined to discuss projections for visitors or page views for either site.
“We don’t have true traffic goals,” said Hartman. “What we have is marketing plans that we are very confident about. We haven’t gone to market with a number.
“Without that [CNN] joint venture, we have the ability to have other partners, portals and news players to market the content,” he added. “We are our own fire hose if we connect the sites appropriately.”