Time magazine's web relaunch, initially slated for 2013, has been pushed back into the New Year.
Capital has learned that January is the latest target for the highly anticipated revamp of time.com, which has been in the works for much of the past 10 months.
As with most endeavors of this nature, the relaunch has been delayed multiple times; it was originally slated for fall and was then pushed back to December, sources said. But with the clock ticking and the holiday dead-zone bearing down, there was still work to be done, hence the 2014 street date.
Asked to confirm a timetable, a Time spokesperson would only say that the new time.com will debut "in the coming weeks."
Time is perceived as being late to the party in terms of its online footprint, and the coming web relaunch is expected to reverse a digital strategy that has, over the years, either lagged or gained momentum in fits and starts. It is also the first major project under the leadership of Nancy Gibbs, a long-serving Time writer and editor who ascended to the magazine's top masthead slot this past September.
As we reported in a profile of Gibbs earlier this month, sources have described the redesign as being mobile-driven with an emphasis on hard news. On the homepage, paywalled magazine articles will mingle with free content including breakneck aggregation, feature stories, photos, video and interactive graphics. There will be new advertising units as well, including an innovation that will allow brands to purchase separate columns that communicate with one another.
The goal is to scale and monetize a digital readership of roughly 40 million unique monthly visitors around the world (per Time's internal metrics) in the face of shrinking print circulation and woeful print advertising prospects.
The relaunch was made possible by an infusion of resources greenlit earlier this year by Todd Larsen, the new president of news and sports for Time's parent company, Time Inc. It has allowed for the creation of some 30 new editorial positions affiliated with the reboot.
But while staffers are riding high from the recent newsroom growth, there are also fears of looming cuts throughout Time Inc's stable of magazines: As Capital first reported several weeks ago, Time Inc. managers were told in a Dec. 9 meeting that further layoffs lie ahead as the company prepares for a spinoff from its parent corporation, Time Warner.
In other Time Inc. news, the relaunch of Sports Illustrated's website is also expected to debut next month, according to a source familiar with the plans.