People.com boosts its digital metabolism
People’s print business isn’t what it used to be. Single-copy sales, which used to top 1 million copies weekly, averaged 686,364 in the second half of 2014. So as Time Inc.’s cash cow, its digital health is key to the company’s future – writes Lucia Moses for Digiday.
In the crowded world of online celebrity news, People has brand heft, but its heritage of original, fact-checked reporting puts it at a size disadvantage against quick-hit competitors. The Time Inc. weekly’s site ranked No. 4 in comScore’s entertainment news category, with 35 million multiplatform unique visitors to its website in January, after TMZ, Yahoo Celebrity and E! Online.
In the past year, though, People has grown its digital presence significantly. Its online audience, at 35 million multiplatform unique visitors in January, according to comScore, is up 73 percent from a year ago. (By People’s internal server-side stats, its February was a much-higher 72 million uniques.) According to analytics firm NewsWhip, People had 7.4 million Facebook engagements (a combination of likes, shares and comments) in February, up from 1.5 million a year earlier.
People.com’s Will Lee talks to Lucia Moses about how the brand is leveraging its human-interest coverage and other tactics he’s using to scale People.com while preserving its heritage.