David Carr wrote a pretty good analysis of yesterday's big news about Time, putting it all into perspective. Most young people don't have any sense of what Time once was. Henry Luce is probably spinning right about now:
How toxic have print assets become? This toxic: Media companies have begun to quarantine them.Full article here.
On Wednesday, Time Inc., the largest magazine publisher in the country, found itself at the wrong end of a 10-foot pole. Its corporate parent, Time Warner, which has a broad and lucrative array of entertainment assets, was making plans to spin off much of the tattered print unit in a shotgun marriage with Meredith, a Midwest-based company that was trying to do much the same thing.
Under the plan, which is far from final, the two companies would contribute magazines to create a new, publicly held company that would be left to make its own way.
.... Time Inc. may be baked into the name of Time Warner, but it long ago lost salience as a significant player in the company’s business. Time Inc. earnings dropped 5 percent last year, and the division now contributes less than 12 percent of overall sales at the company. The Time & Life building, an edifice standing tall in the middle of Midtown, was long a revered totem of the publishing business. To people in the industry who came of age back when things were good, Time Inc. was legend, having grown up not just on the force of its journalism but on tales of editors’ offices the size of racquetball courts and liquor carts rumbling through the hall spreading cheer and an aura of privilege.
But the news of a possible sale of its magazine division came at a time when Time Inc. is laying off some 6 percent of its global work force, and many of those who remained wondered whether their jobs, if they continue to have them, might require them to move to Des Moines, the headquarters of Meredith.