Time Warner gets the hell out of the print business—except for DC

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201311261417 Time Warner gets the hell out of the print business—except for DC
Continuing the major media conglomerate’s purge of anything to do with print, Time Warner is ditching the Time part of its name:= and spinning off its magazine holdings. This will leave little old DC Entertainment its ONLY print division.

And you wonder why they are moving to the West Coast?

Time Warner plans to spin off Time Inc., its magazine division, into a new public company in 2014, according to documents filed by the company last week as reported by Bloomberg.  The move will complete the divestiture of substantially all the print assets of Time Warner except for DC Comics, a process that was begun in 2006 when the book group, which included Warner Books and Little Brown, was sold to Hachette for $537.5 million (see “Time Warner Book Group Sold”). 

Time Warner made the decision to sell its magazines back in March, after discussions with Meredith about creating a new magazine publishing company targeting women, which would have involved some of Time Inc.’s assets.  Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes spoke of the benefits of the sale in a statement at the time.  “A complete spinoff of Time Inc. provides strategic clarity for Time Warner Inc., enabling us to focus entirely on our television networks and film and TV production businesses, and improves our growth profile,” he said.  No word on whether “Time” will be removed from the company’s name after the spin-off.


Time covers such well known brands as Time, People, Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly—many of these major brands which set the agenda in their fields back in the easy old days. No more.

Where will this leave DC as the only Time branch to deal with printers and distributor and so on? I’ve been saying it for years: eventually both DC and Marvel will license out their comics publishing to other companies. It might take two years, it might take 10. Expending a lot of resources on a vertical with such low profit margins doesn’t make sense in the long run.

Comments

  1. Kid Kyoto says:

    So what was once AOL-Time-Warner is now AOL, Time and Warner?

    Well that was a productive bunch of mergers.

  2. I agree with your plan to get rid of the E and just rename it Tim Warner. Makes it sound a lot more approachable, eh?
    (In news elsewhere, it’s in the works for Time Warner Cable to be sold to Charter Communications, so the name may be going away all ’round.)

  3. I think that Warner is looking at DC solely as storyboards and character copyrights at this point. While they might outsource printing, they also might go fully digital and let go of print altogether. Would not surprise me.

  4. But wouldn’t the outsourcing of comics lead to a death of new IP? IE, why should the companies licensing the comics create new characters to interact with the stale DC characters?

    If anything, I could see DC getting out of the physical publishing business, and work solely on creating content for digital mediums, and in turn, license out print rights to companies that use them as niche items. IE how record companies deal with vinyl record sales.

  5. @Steve Flack: Not if the outsourcing contract says Warner holds the copyrights. Standard WFH terms.

    Regardless, the notion that Marvel or DC is generating new characters for Disney or Warner is … not very current. Have you looked at the copyright dates on the characters that these media companies are making movies based on?

  6. DC was a part of Warner Communications back in the 70’s long before the merger with Time. So it’s not like DC was a part of Time before the merger.

    The real wonder is why DC hadn’t moved its offices decades ago.

  7. comicsatemybrain says:

    There have been rumblings about this kind of move for some time now, and there were additional signs if you knew where to look. For instance, CNN has linked up their sports stories to bleacherreport.com for a while now instead of sportsillustrated.com. No reason to do that if Warner saw any chance of SI remaining with them.

  8. Johnny Memeonic says:

    Not surprising. Who still gets Time besides doctor’s offices and 70 year old women? The last time I saw a copy it looked like it was 10 pages long.

  9. Dave Miller-lad says:

    You can’t go home again.

  10. Nicholas Winter says:

    AOL is no longer part of Warner as it was sold off four years ago.

    DC printing is almost completely done in Canada (trades , hardcover, and single issues) and China (such as the Absolute Sandmans). I don’t believe Warner actually does any DC and related brands as printing jobs.

  11. Nick Jones says:

    I don’t doubt that at some point the comic book publishing arm of DC Entertainment will be shut down as well, as all that matters to Warner is their ability to make movies, shows, video games, and product licensing agreements based on Batman (and, on rare occasion, characters who are not Batman).

  12. Jim MacQ says:

    DC was where the modern version of Warner started. Kinney acquired DC/National before it acquired Warner Brothers, which was the beginning of Warner Communications, before they got Time, AOL or anything else.

    Fun fact: Kinney started out in the mortuary business. They had a fleet of limos they used for funerals, so they bought parking lots to house them, which got them into the parking business. Then they started renting out their limos for Broadway events (nobody has funerals at night), and decided that the entertainment business looked interesting. And it went from there.

  13. Also, they were most likely a front for the mafia.

  14. Snikt Snakt says:

    Why stop there? Get rid of DC too, the nu52 is unreadable dreck…

  15. Penny Dreadful says:

    It pains me to say this (OK, not really), but it might be for the best if DC shuttered the comic book division and simply licensed out the characters to other publishers. I have a feeling that a company like IDW or Dynamite would KILL to publish some of these characters. They might even handle these characters much, much better than the current caretakers.

    The new 52 was just a panicked move by executives desperate to keep their paychecks anyway…

  16. Torsten Adair says:

    Does this include Oxmoor House?
    They, and DC, were the last book publishers of Time Warner, printing tie-in books like “Totally Mad”.

    MAD is under the DC umbrella, so will remain at Warners.

  17. Nicholas Winter says:

    Comicsatemybrain: bleacherreport.com is wholly owned by Warner and uses the resources of Sports Illustrated and other media resources owned by Warner.

    As regards SI, I fully expect it to be digital only within the next year.

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