Long considered a pioneer in direct marketing, Time-Life was founded in 1961. The media company gained worldwide popularity in the pre-Amazon.com days as a publisher and direct mail marketer of multiple how-to book series.
Acquired by Direct Holdings in 2003, the company discontinued its book publishing arm that year.
“The publishing business got very expensive very quickly,” explains Patricia Boos, SVP of marketing for Direct Holdings. “It was an entirely different market.”
“As e-commerce became more widely accepted and costs rose, we realized we weren't poised to play in that [book publishing] field,” Boos continued. “We had to redefine ourselves.”
Today, Time-Life is a music, movies and entertainment business and does a lion's share of its marketing through DRTV. Boos says its direct mail marketing tapered off earlier this decade.
Improvements in technology and the proliferation of outlets to obtain music and movies from have presented challenges for Time-Life. However, Boos says people are still interested in buying compilations.
“If your passion is 60s or 70s music, to go online and download songs one by one, it's still as tedious as [making your own mix] before the Internet,” she says.
Boos said the company is looking for new ways to reach consumers — namely on the Internet.
“The Web has become a huge distribution channel,” she explains. “We're changing and growing every day and monitoring the steady rise in sales shifting from TV to online.”
Boos says one of Time Life's biggest assets is its forward vision.
“Strategically to survive as a brand, you need to not only look at short-term needs but also long-term goals,” she says.
The goal for the company going forward is to continue to be the go-to for category music, she continues.