Time Inc. experimenting: paid online content, made-to-order mags

Time Inc. is trying out a new customized magazine that allows readers to choose from various publications and has also announced plans to start charging for some content online.

The made-to-order mag, called mine, will be published five times over ten weeks.

Readers can choose to have content from five of eight possible magazines included in their issue, but editors from each publication will pre-select the stories.

Toyota Motor Corp. is the exclusive advertiser, and ads for a new Lexus SUV will appear in all issues and ads will be customized for those who have filled out an online survey.

According to an Associated Press report, there are 56 possible editorial combinations. The AP explains:

“…(the Lexus SUV has 22 customizable settings, plus eight options handled by a dealer). Those who fill out an online survey will also find that advertisements fit their personal circumstances in a form of hyper-targeting.

A sample ad tag line for a respondent named Dave, who lives in Los Angeles and eats sushi, might read: ‘Hey Dave, your friends will be really impressed when you drive down Van Ness Avenue on your way to get sushi.'”

The magazines to choose from are: Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Real Simple, Money, In Style, Golf, and Travel + Leisure. Mine is offered in both printed and digital format to a limited number of subscribers.

Another Time Inc. experiment is also in the works. The company is planning to try out a mix of paid an unpaid online content over the next eight months to find out what areas of the various Time-owned websites readers would be willing to pay for.

Time Inc. executive vice-president John Squires discusses the idea with The Business Insider:

(Hat tip to TFEW)