Time Warner is completing its spin-off of AOL later this year, a deal that has led many to speculate that the media company might jettison its Time Inc. magazine division, from which its prestigious media name is derived.
Adding to the speculation, last week Gordon Crawford, the managing director of Time Warner’s largest shareholder, The Capital Group, stated that plan as fact during a discussion at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication.
“Time Warner just spun off their cable division, they are going to sell their print division, they are going to spin off AOL and they’re just going to be Warner Brothers, HBO and the Turner Networks,” Crawford said, according to a Reuters report.
But media columnist Peter Kafka over at All Things Digital says the scenario described by Crawford is far from a done deal:
“The body language from Time Warner executives in recent months makes me think they intend to keep at least part of their magazine business in the family. More than body language, actually: ‘Time Warner without People? I can’t imagine it,’ one well-placed Time Warner official told me recently.”
Yes, Time Inc. has faced tough times in the past year — even laying off 600 employees last year. But all magazines have experienced the same challenges. Although it’s possible that Time Inc. is looking to dump some of its 23 titles, the company most likely wants to hold on to its flagship magazines, Kafka asserted. Time Warner might also look to dump its IPC Media unit, based in the U.K. “But I’d be surprised if he got rid of Time Inc. and its iconic brands altogether,” Kafka concluded.
And don’t forget: Time Inc. showed its commitment to its brands by recently investing in a bureau in Detroit to closely monitor the city for the next year.
Time Warner Dumping Its Magazines? Not So Fast. –All Things Digital