Fortune And Money Launch New Sites And Split Off From CNN Money

Two of Time Inc.’s business and finance publications, Fortune and Money, are getting new online homes today.

You’re probably familiar with the magazines, and you’ve probably read some of their articles online. But when you did, they weren’t on a standalone Fortune or Money website — instead, they were posted to CNN Money, a joint venture between Time Inc. and CNN.

Money Editor Craig Matters told me that CNN Money was certainly a success (citing comScore, Time says the site saw 17.6 million unique visitors in April). Unfortunately, it had the drawback of making Fortune and Money a little less visible online, at least from a branding perspective. (I’ve certainly found the setup a little confusing, when I was trying to credit the publications for scoops.)

“It’s been something that we’ve been kind of itching to do for a while,” Matters said. “For Fortune and Money to not really have robust digital brands might have been okay in 2005, but it’s less okay once you’re out of the oughts.”

What really “forced the decision,” he said, was the impending spinout of Time Inc. from Time Warner, which means that the publications will no longer be under the same corporate umbrella as CNN (owned by Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting division).

To gear up for the launch, both publications have been hiring — they said Fortune brought on 24 new team members in recent months, while Money brought on seven. Most of those hires will be focused on producing content for the websites, though Matters and Fortune Editor Andy Serwer both said the divisions between the print and digital teams are becoming more permeable.

The goal for Money will be to post 20 or 30 pieces of content a day, while Fortune is aiming for up to 90. On the Money side, Matters said the team will take a broad approach, looking at “the big tent issues that everybody encounters” and trying to address them in a way that’s “a little more fun and a little more playful.” That also means doing more to highlight the big stories from the magazine — not just by posting them online and including one or two pieces of additional content, but coming up with related videos, quizzes, and more that can run throughout the month.

As for Fortune, Serwer said he really wants to highlight Fortune’s writers and its big “franchises”, such as the Fortune 500 list. Not only has the relaunch been timed to coincide with the announcement of this year’s Fortune 500, but Serwer said the list (and others like it) will become more of “a living and breathing thing” that’s updated regularly with new content.

The new sites will look similar to the redesign that launched in March. (By building on the same platform, Time says it was able to launch these new sites relatively quickly.) There’s a big story in the middle of the page, with most of the navigation pushed to the left-hand side. And that navigation will include both banner ads and native ads, i.e., sponsored posts that are labeled as “content from” the advertiser.

That gave me an opportunity to bring up a concern that I’d seen around the Time redesign, something that will carry over to the new sites — the fact that native ads aren’t labeled as “sponsored” per se. Group Publisher Jed Hartman argued that even though the “content from” label appeals to advertisers, there’s an editorial reason for it, too, because putting the word “sponsored” on something can be confusing to a layperson. Sure, it tells the reader that the advertiser paid for it, but who actually wrote the content? By giving the advertiser their own byline, of sorts, Time is telling readers who wrote the article, Hartman said.

“That is the real reason we’re doing it,” Serwer added. “We believe that this is most clear way to put it.”

Both the Fortune and Money sites are scheduled to go live later today. (I’ll update This posts with links when they’re up.) CNN, meanwhile, will take full control of the CNN Money site. Existing Fortune and Money content will be moved to the new sites, and links to older content will redirect there.

Update: Fortune and Money are live.