Time Warner is going to spin off its magazine namesake. In fact, the company is getting rid of all of its magazines. Time Inc. will become an independent company.
Time Warner says it wants to focus entirely on its TV and film businesses -- and it’s pretty easy to see why. Magazines are expensive to run, sales at newsstands are down, and advertising is down.
Time Warner is following a trend. News Corporation has announced plans to split off its newspaper and book division, including the Wall Street Journal and HarperCollins. It’s part of a strategy of separating high growth areas -- like cable networks -- from traditional media.
Dan Kennedy, who teaches journalism at Northeastern University and has been following this trend, says these magazine spinoffs will only survive if they cut way, way back.
“The Time, Inc. magazines in particular are legendary in the industry for the way they throw money around,” he explains. “I guess that’s going to have to stop. It just means fewer bodies, less reporting.” Just look what happened at Newsweek. It’s gotten rid of its print version, and is only available online.
Kennedy says the most successful magazines will be those that find a niche. Specializing in something that a group of readers is really interested in and willing to pay for.