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For years, Time used the reach of broadcast TV to unveil its annual Person of the Year.
For 2021, however, the magazine and media brand now owned by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne Benioff, will be taking the big reveal to YouTube. Time‘s video production division, Time Studios, will produce the special, which will premiere Monday, Dec. 13, at 7:30 a.m. ET on Time’s YouTube Channel.
Last year, Time unveiled its Person of the Year in a primetime special on NBC and, for a number of years before that, did so on NBC’s Today show.
The move from TV to YouTube comes as Time is expanding the Person of the Year brand, with its editors also choosing the most influential people in a handful of sectors: Entertainer of the Year, Athlete of the Year and Heroes of the Year. Time said Friday that Olivia Rodrigo is its Entertainer of the Year, and that Simone Biles is its Athlete of the Year. The Heroes of the Year will be announced during the YouTube special Monday.
It also comes as Time seeks to further grow its TV and film unit Time Studios, which has been in an aggressive expansion mode in recent years. Just in the past few months, Time Studios announced a move into kids and family content, as well as a docuseries produced in partnership with Trevor Noah.
But to use the Person of the Year, which is arguably its signature annual editorial effort (Time editor-in-chief and CEO Edward Felsenthal said in a statement it is the “most watched franchise in our industry”), is a logical extension of its video efforts.
“This is such a cool moment in time because of the high anticipation of the reveal moment happening on the YouTube platform, but also the in-depth overview of the person and their journey,” said Tim Katz, managing director of sports, news, civics and podcast partnerships at YouTube. “This type of content is tailor-made for our global audience. We look forward to watching the announcement next week.”
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