Blogs and other new media upstarts have taken a big bite out of the media attention pie, particularly in categories like tech, politics, and celebrity gossip. But People Magazine is a venerable media brand that appears not to be taking the threat lying down, according to Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore:

“Smaller gossip sites think they are big and powerful… but get out of the way. The People editors are coming,” said Ms. Moore, the chairman and CEO of Time Inc., who spoke at the D5 Conference:


“It is definitely not too late for the big [print] brands to establish their brands on the Internet,” Ms. Moore said, noting that People waited until last year to shift from a subscription model to a free, ad-based site. She waited to make the change until there was enough online advertising to support the business, a shift that occurred in 2006.

And she said the move has paid off: got some 17.5 million page views when it reported Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were expecting a baby, 25 million when Baby Shiloh was born, 28 million following the wedding of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, and a whopping 51.7 million page views following the Oscars.

And in case those numbers didn’t convey her point, Ms. Moore summed up: “People is the most powerful magazine, and the most profitable magazine, on the planet.”

As usual, there are no specifics on how online and print are contributing to the magazine’s profitability, i.e. no idea what the advertising trend ratio is. I’d guess that, unlike newspapers and some magazines, People in print may be growing ad revenue, but managing People’s print and online economics as more people consume the brand online will still be a big challenge. Let’s not forget that Teen People shut down its print magazine last year due to declining print revenue, but kept the website alive.

Here is the full interview with Ann Moore, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal’s smart decision to enable the embed feature on their Brightcove player (and more free ad distribution for WSJ):