From the Annual 2008: Media

Top Companies, Magazine 300 and Digital and Search Marketing

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Jeff Bewkes' big idea could be to think small. Mr. Bewkes, who succeeds Richard Parsons as Time Warner CEO Jan. 1, is widely expected to reboot the sprawling conglomerate with a sale or spinoff of some major assets.

Time Warner since 1995 has been the largest company on Ad Age's Media 100, but being No. 1 hasn't exactly worked out for investors. The stock is down 82% from its 1999 peak. (On Mr. Parsons' watch as CEO since 2002, shares fell11% even as the stock market soared 44%.)

One likely unit for spinoff: Time Warner Cable. It instantly would become a top 10 media company, joining Comcast, DirecTV and EchoStar in the top ranks. Cable systems and satellite services already are the top media revenue source for the Media 100.

So what's ahead for '08? Olympics and elections will give spending a boost, and digital will gain more share. For the overall business, bank on another sluggish year in spending as old media grapple with change and worry about recession.

MEDIA


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