Wayne Powers
Wayne Powers, president of Time Inc. Media Group

WASHINGTON - Time Inc. is evaluating the next iteration of its customized magazine as it pores over research it's accumulated since the publication's April launch.

Called mine, the five-issue experiment allowed readers to build a tailored magazine, containing specific articles from up to five Time Warner Inc. publications, including Time, Sports Illustrated, Food & Wine, Money, Golf and Travel + Leisure.

Some 30,000 consumers requested mine, which was produced by New York-based Ace Group Inc. on Hewlett-Packard Co. Indigo digital presses.

Wayne Powers, president of Time Inc. Media Group, said executives will conduct about six weeks of research, beginning this month, to determine mine's future direction.Wayne PowersC

"The future is yet to be determined," Powers told registrants at the Individuated News Conference here. "After we conduct the research, we'll see." Powers said Time had already received calls from other advertisers interested in sponsoring their own mine magazines.

Happy with results

Regardless of the outcome of the consumer research, Powers said Time - and advertising partner Toyota Motor Corp. - was happy with the initial results. Toyota originally came up with the idea of a customized publication in a bid to market its 2010 Lexus RX sports utility vehicle, Powers said.

"For the launch of our driver-inspired 2010 RX, we wanted to communicate within a medium that demonstrated a like-minded commitment to user-centric innovation," said David Nordstrom, Lexus' vice president of marketing, in a statement the company released in March. "We're excited to have a partner like Time Inc. who saw this as an opportunity to showcase their innovation and shake up the way magazines are read."

"They pushed us," Powers said. The result: a 36-page customized publication that contains consumer-requested articles in tandem with ad copy that mirrors that consumer's interests.

Time based the content of mine from online surveys readers filled out earlier this year. Toyota used the same data to concoct the customized ad copy.

Powers said printed editions of mine were in subscribers' mailboxes within nine days of the original request. Subscribers could request a digital or mobile edition of their customized publication as well. Powers said 90 percent of readers requesting mine opted for the print edition.

Dedicated group

Time created a dedicated group to oversee mine's production. Editors of the various publications worked with the group to determine which content to supply, and the editors made adjustments to their content management and editorial management software to produce the files needed for output. Powers said the experiment represented the first time the various publications under the Time umbrella collaborated to such a degree on the production of a single publication.

Powers declined to disclose how much mine cost, but conceded, "Short-run is expensive. We used 100- pound cover stock and 70-pound (paper) inside."