Time Inc.

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Last July, beloved Time Inc. Chairman-CEO Don Logan got the call from Up High to be chairman of AOL Time Warner's newly created Media & Communications Group-or more directly, to save sinking partner America Online. This prompts schadenfreude among Time Inc.'ers. Or at least until they recheck the stock price, and once again mull new Chairman-CEO Ann Moore's oft-stated demand to slash $100 million from company expenses. That would come on top of significant post-merger cost-cutting efforts. Nonetheless, the largest magazine company, alone among the five top dogs, squeezed out an ad page gain, of 0.5%, in '02. The big gainers were Ad Age's A-List topper Real Simple and Time4 Media's Popular Science (up 47.2%). For all the cultural bang Wenner Media's Us Weekly makes, People's ad pages stay strong, as the billion-dollar property was up 2.4% last year and notched more ad pages than any other magazine. But People's soft newsstand results, which showed single-digit declines for both halves of `02, are cause for concern. Ms. Moore, who has a chattier, more outgoing style than the taciturn Mr. Logan, came in with a bang, overseeing the shuttering of Sports Illustrated for Women and Mutual Funds within three months. Left standing, to the surprise of some inside as well as many outside the company: Business 2.0, its rebranding of eCompany Now. Still, while merger fallout will continue (accounting investigations centered on sibling AOL's financial statements, for instance, are ongoing) to affect morale, the business at this AOL Time Warner unit has been conducted with a very Time Inc. blend of stiff upper lips and well-bred aggression. This is still a company with the deepest managerial bench in publishing, and still the company that dares lean on rotund one-word self-significance when titling its magazines (Time. Fortune. Money. People. Health. Parenting). It's been through a lot, going back even to the original merger with Warner Communications in 1989. But it's hard to imagine any company out there that doesn't envy the unique place Time Inc. occupies in the publishing world.

Rating: 3 stars

Best performer:

Real Simple

ad pages

up 67.8% to 878.6


up 31.9% to 1.1 million

Worst performer:


ad pages

down 17% to 3,331.4


up 0.9% to 867,781

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