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TIME for a New Content Site?

TIME magazine (the 100-year-old media company now owned by Lynne and Marc Benioff) just bought the code-free website building platform Brandcast.

The acquisition will power TIME Sites, a new custom service to help brands quickly create digital content experiences (think microsites, account-based marketing pages, and thought leadership hubs).

Robert Rose explores what’s behind the rise of media-owned content studios – and whether it’s a good thing for brands.

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Aired: September 2, 2022

Read the transcript

Well, it looks like it’s time for TIME to start building new services. The media company has made its very first acquisition (isn’t that adorable?) since Marc Benioff bought the storied publication in 2018. But why now? And are you ready to start building your next web presence with TIME Sites?  This is the news you need to lead in content marketing.

Hello, everybody. Robert Rose here with the news. It’s what’s new and (more importantly) what’s important in the world of content marketing. (For the best in best practices, you can always go to

TIME magazine, which has been publishing for the last 100 years, has made its first acquisition since Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff bought the publication four years ago.

The company acquired Brandcast, a small code-free website building platform that enables business users to create structured web content experiences. The Brandcast solution is not unlike Ceros, Foleon, or Uberflip (though I’m sure all three of those companies would object to the comparison).

TIME Sites – as the new service is called – will be run by the same executives that ran Brandcast. It will serve as a custom agency for marketers looking for ways to quickly create web content experiences like microsites, account-based marketing sites, and thought leadership hubs.

Brandcast CEO Ashok Santhanam joined TIME’s executive team as president of TIME Sites. He told Axios, “We want to make this technology available to more customers than we do today, and we believe that association with a brand like TIME can only be helpful.”

CMI’s take: We tend to agree. The more significant trend here is for larger media companies (New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, and Condé Nast) to build agencies that go beyond serving branded content or native advertising on their parent company platforms to work as full-service agencies competing with both traditional agencies and software companies.

The Washington Post offers its Arc XP Web Content Management Software, which might be the most popular CMS you’ve never heard of. This WaPo division now claims to service more than 1,900 websites worldwide and generates around $40 to $50 million in annual recurring revenue. That means The Washington Post’s CMS is on a scale in revenue with many of the more popular and well-known CMS systems today.

Additionally, the New York Times’ T-Brand Studios have been extraordinarily successful in becoming a full-service agency, offering everything from content to paid media and strategy as a service.

TIME’s acquisition of Brandcast is just another data point in a trend that’s been building over the last few years – media companies getting into the marketing services business.

Related: How Publishers Can Overcome the Content Marketing Paradox

Brandcast exists in the “let’s make it easy to build content hubs and digital experiences” space, a no-brainer for media companies. It gives them a software platform and sticky subscription revenue as it begins to pile on content-oriented services like native advertising, custom brand content, content marketing, and even ongoing measurement services.

The question remains for me: When will we see agencies start to make similar acquisitions? We’ve seen ad hoc things like Gary Vaynerchuk’s agency acquiring women’s publisher PureWow. But, overall, we’ve not seen nearly the number of transactions as we have in reverse. It will be interesting to see if agencies finally get the memo and start making acquisitions in the media space.

When will we see content agencies start to make media company acquisitions? asks @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click To Tweet

For now, TIME will be a very interesting company to watch as it starts competing in the software as a service and marketing services space. You could say… it’s about …time.

And that’s it. That’s five minutes of news you need to lead in content marketing. I’m Robert Rose. Remember, it’s your story. Tell it well. I’ll see you next week.

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