While they covered a lot of ground, what I found interesting was the organizational structure differences at the two organizations.
SI.com is the only fully integrated online brand at Time Warner. Conversely, Forbes Online is a separate operating unit from the Forbes print product. According to Spanfeller, their readers use the two products very differently. They have separate ad sales businesses. Jim feels that is helpful, as media buyers typically make separate buying decisions and online also requires very different sets of skills, metrics and support structures than in print.
For SI, the value of bringing it together was important; the SI advertisers were cross-platform and channel-independent. This creates a team of about 45 sales execs who are franchise experts that could push all of their channels. That wouldn't have been possible a few years ago; they needed to first demonstrate the value and ROI of the online channel, so it didn't simply become a throw-in for print sales. But, now that they have established that value, the model better suits their clients' needs. On the editorial side, it's been easier. Their top writers, like Tom Verducci or Peter King, are thinking about the needs of the sports fan 24x7. The writers have, in fact, led the migration on
the editorial side to bring this together.
I'm sure that Staci will add some of her own comments on the PaidContent site. You can catch the rest of their coverage of SIIA here.