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Time Warner's Bewkes says goodbye to AOL and hello to content

Time Warner Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes issued a "goodbye and don't let the door hit you on the way out" memo acknowledging the official spinoff of AOL and reiterating the company's commitment to content.

"Time Warner is now a more content-focused company that's ready to reach new heights as a global leader in media and entertainment," Bewkes wrote. He then thanked AOL for "many contributions to our company." He didn't list what those contributions were, and if anyone knows, let us know. The 2001 merger of Time Warner and AOL is considered one of the worst in corporate history, costing Gerald Levin and Steve Case their legacies, and Ted Turner much of his fortune, and shareholders took a huge bath.

The next question facing Time Warner is what it will do with its publishing division, whose magazine titles include Time, People, Sports Illustrated and Entertainment Weekly. Bewkes mentioned only People in his memo, saying more people read it every week than watched the finale of last season's "American Idol." Now if People got what "American Idol" got in ad revenue, they'd really have something.

Although the company has now jettisoned AOL and its cable systems, Bewkes said, there is still more cutting to be down done. "We must continue to make our businesses more efficient," he wrote, adding, "These measures are often difficult, especially when they involve jobs and benefits, but they're sometimes necessary to keep the business strong."

Bewkes also heaped praise on Time Warner's cable networks, which includes HBO, TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network. He may want to double check his ratings information, though. Bewkes wrote that CNN's "news and information draws more TV viewers than its peers." If he's talking global, then he may be right, but if he's talking here, then he's off. Fox News routinely trounces CNN, and even MSNBC has been beating up on CNN lately. We're sure the folks at Fox will soon issue a witty response to Bewkes' note.

-- Joe Flint

Comments () | Archives (5)

"there is still more cutting to be down."

Didn't you mean "done". For such a cynical article and such a "prestigious" publication as the LA Times, you think you would have professional writers and at the very least an editor that catches such silly mistakes.

I imagine Time Warner must be as thrilled as I was the day I got DSL and cancelled my AOL account.

"there is still more cutting to be down."

This is only one example of the many errors one finds in anything written on-line. The Internet is the dumbing down of what was once an art. However being quick and free are good! That's what we want, right?

Now if People got what "American Idol" got in ad revenue, they'd really have something.

Go do the math......I'm pretty sure that you'll find that People and AI have pretty similar annualized revenue figures, if not something that favors People.

If by "Content", Jeff Bewkes means more stories on "the Kardashians" and digging up dirt on Tiger Woods and keeping the corpse of Time magazine alive, well then yeah, better keep cutting costs Jeff.


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