We have a bigger audience than ever in our history — the magazine’s founders would only dream of having this audience. One reason the audience is so big is that we’re not depending on the Postal Service to reach them … I think readers’ habits are going to keep changing and migrating. That doesn’t worry me at all, some of that new technology, particularly tablets, are wonderfully suited to what we do best. Time will always exist on pages, but it will be part of a larger presence.
Time isn’t immune to the same forces that have plagued the newspaper industry—loss of advertisers, competition from social media and the rapid adoption of mobile news—but they have managed to fend off these competitive forces better than their competitors that have switched to an online-only model.
But that doesn’t mean that Time will always exist in print. Gibbs is fighting an increasing demand for news in digital form, with industry-wide sales of digital editions of magazines increasing to 10.2 million copies in the first half of 2013, from 5.4 million in the same period in 2012.
That, combined with the fact that Time is being spun off from Time Warner, will also mean that the magazine will have to survive based on its own revenue stream, which may not be sufficient enough to support a print magazine as long as Gibbs thinks it would.