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Is Time Warner looking to unload magazines that don’t translate online? 5/12/08

Posted by Steve Boriss in Magazines.
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Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes is now cutting costs by selling, shuttering, and consolidating properties that offer limited growth potential. It is rumored that he is now looking at unloading some of his magazines, particularly those in the Southern Progress standalone group, which includes Southern Living and Cooking Light magazines. With a portfolio of about 125 titles, ranging from big brands like Time, Fortune, Essence, People, and Sports Illustrated to relatively tiny brands like Cage & Aviary Birds and Horse & Hound, why might Bewkes be focusing on selling Southern Progress?

One reason might be that Southern Progress magazines do not translate well to online — their natural state is print. Many of these publications are tailor made for coffee tables and waiting room racks — breezy publications about lifestyle where pictures are worth a whole lot more than 1,000 words. The titles alone bring relaxing and pleasant images to mind — Coastal Living, Cottage Living, and Sunset (life in the West). Cooking Light seems like a natural for print, too, requiring photographs with appetite appeal and recipes that can be followed right from the pages. If Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is right that within 10 years all media — print, TV, and the Internet — will be delivered over the Internet, magazines that work online are more valuable than those that work best on-table.

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