The Life magazine franchise has had its up and downs for many years, the latest was a failed effort to distribute a revived print edition as part of major metro newspapers' weekend editions. But this re-launch just may be the right way to bring the brand back to life (sorry). The magazine was always first and foremost about the best of photojournalism, the work of extraordinary photographers carefully chosen by really fine editors. The new LIfe.com, a joint venture with Getty Images, recovers that simple idea and brings it online with photo galleries built around the news of the day (thanks to a partnership with Getty) as well as timeless subjects you would never come up with on your own...like, "LIFE salutes the bikini" and "Cassius Clay: Before he became Ali." It's addictive, this blend of the old and the new, especially because it's so well "curated" to use a term the Life.com editors like.
Full disclosure, I was close to this project before I left Time Inc. last year, so I am more than a little partial. But I would argue that this is one of those rare media sites that's really compelling by virtue of being simple and clear on delivery of a timeless and appealing idea -- absorbing, wonderfully curated photography. And the irony is that the Web can do more for this promise than print ever could. It's everywhere, it's boundless and and it's 24/7.
So here's the over-the-top prediction: Life.com will be a run-away success from both an audience and a revenue perspective -- love that big Rolex ad and there's lots of ecommerce possibilities . It will become one of Time Inc.'s most important businesses online.