Gotta get backing, Time
September 5, 2014 3:22 AM   Subscribe

...while [Time Inc.] claims that none of its titles lose money, it has seen earnings fall by nearly 65 percent since 2006. The number of advertising pages in the flagship Time has dwindled by 50 percent over the past five years. Even People is sputtering: Newsstand sales slid 12 percent last year, and the news budget has been cut in half. Layoffs have become an annual rite. In the past four years, Time Inc. has churned through three CEOs and endured nine months during which there was no single executive running the company.
New York Magazine on Time Inc., the split from Time Warner, native advertising and the company's attempts at digital media. posted by frimble (31 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
This was one of the saddest things I've ever read about the state of journalism. We're gonna miss it when it's gone.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:27 AM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


Oh, damn...I clicked on the first link in the FPP, but somehow skipped over the second. Carry on.
posted by The Card Cheat at 4:42 AM on September 5, 2014


I've wondered more than once, since Newsweek went out of print (I think I've seen something about it going back in print, but honestly I don't care all that much), how long Time would remain on the newsstands, coasting along on its "iconic" status. Welp, that's answered.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:43 AM on September 5, 2014


I was sitting in a waiting room just the other day, and was thumbing through a Time. It occurred to me that all through my long-ish life, I had only read the news periodicals (Time, Newsweek, US News, etc.) as happenstance. I never actually bought one myself, nor subscribed. Yet, I always eagerly picked one or more up in places like the waiting room and devoured them cover-to-cover.

I then realized that, once they cease print editions, I would probably never read them again. Because, once they're purely digital, I would have to make a conscious effort to seek the sites out and sift-through the mess. At best, my interaction with the digital versions would be, most likely, as occasional single links to a single article (ala a MeFi FPP).

In some ways, this made me sad. And, honestly, even today, I find reading through the orderly structure of a print magazine to be far more efficient and informative than wading through the McGee's closet that is most news websites.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:10 AM on September 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


Time Inc. has fallen on hard times. Would you believe that this once-proud magazine publishing empire is now explicitly rating its editorial employees based on how friendly their writing is to advertisers?


Propaganda points...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 5:14 AM on September 5, 2014


Rupert Murdoch has six children. Here's hoping he loves them all equally and he wills his empire, which will soon include Time Inc., evenly amongst his kids.
It's our best hope.
posted by vapidave at 5:27 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Would you believe that this once-proud magazine publishing empire is now explicitly rating its editorial employees based on how friendly their writing is to advertisers?

Would you believe that the only new thing there is the explicitly? My father subscribed for many years. I read the thing starting in about 1963. It was a biased rag then, and it never improved. Always the voice of the Establishment, only reluctantly trying to catch up to the times when it had been left far behind. I am not going to mourn its passing.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:34 AM on September 5, 2014 [5 favorites]


It's hard for me to weep too much about People. Celebrity gossip magazines are the clickbait of grocery store checkout lines.
posted by almostmanda at 5:35 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Backwards ran revenue until reeled the magazine.
posted by Spatch at 5:44 AM on September 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


All of the interesting reporting to come out of Time Inc. in recent years (decades?) has come out of Fortune. It has a clear mandate to bite the hand that feeds it, and doesn't even have an editorial page with which to hedge its bets, like the WSJ. Sports Illustrated used to be able to take risks but is now entirely dependent on the good will of athletes', college athletic directors', and pro team owners' publicists; it's basically People for dudes.
posted by MattD at 5:48 AM on September 5, 2014 [4 favorites]


It's almost like maximizing shareholder return is ultimately a terrible way to run a company.

I mean, crappy mergers, bad CEO hires, bad spin-offs, high levels of debt... It's like every failing business story of the past 20 years. But gotta keep those shareholders happy! Or else you'd go out of business even faster I guess.
posted by davros42 at 5:54 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


I guess you could say it's Time...to start reading other media sources.
posted by oceanjesse at 5:55 AM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I recently decided to subscribe to Time after reading it in a dentist office. I used to subscribe to Newsweek, and missed the overall summary of current events on a weekly basis. My first issue was the one with Robin Williams' death on the cover, very timely, I received it about 4 days after it happened.

There is something to be said about stepping out of the to-the-minute news fray and reading about things after some perspective has settled in.
posted by RalphSlate at 6:06 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Uh - yeah no. This isn't about keep shareholders happy unless you have some magic potion for a business whose top line is shrinking dramatically every year and where the customer base has shown time and time again that not enough of them are willing to pay the full unsubsidized price of journalism for a main stream mass market publication.

All those firings are keeping the business out of the hands of the debtholders, not generating a return for shareholders.
posted by JPD at 6:19 AM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


My local curry house subscribes for some reason, along with the local paper. Personally I go back for the momo.
posted by biffa at 6:19 AM on September 5, 2014


As a former Time Person of the Year, this makes me a little sad.

But, not too much, because Time has sucked at journalism for decades and probably sucked for decades before that. The sooner Joke Line is out of a job, the better it will be for America.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:48 AM on September 5, 2014 [7 favorites]


There is something to be said about stepping out of the to-the-minute news fray and reading about things after some perspective has settled in.

That would be great if they hand anything interesting to say about the past week but Time is so superficial that it doesn't really add anything to the conversation.
posted by octothorpe at 6:52 AM on September 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


I used to subscribe to Newsweek, and missed the overall summary of current events on a weekly basis.

The Economist. Biased as hell, but completely up-front about it.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:08 AM on September 5, 2014 [6 favorites]


January 17, 1956:

I'm addressing you.
Are you going to let our emotional life be run by Time Magazine?
I'm obsessed by Time Magazine.
I read it every week.
Its cover stares at me every time I slink past the corner candystore.
I read it in the basement of the Berkeley Public Library.
It's always telling me about responsibility. Businessmen are serious. Movie
producers are serious. Everybody's serious but me.
It occurs to me that I am America.
I am talking to myself again.


Allen Ginsberg, "America"
posted by nevercalm at 7:23 AM on September 5, 2014 [3 favorites]


OK, slightly off topic, but...

I read the title of this post and couldn't help sing "back in time" but... not like the original, but there's a high pitch thing where someone is singing it to another person, like a sketch - from a sketch show or perhaps from a sitcom? Maybe one person's like "no no no, like this... 'gotta go (somewhat monotone, even tempo), *back* (fairly higher pitcher) in time).

Anybody recognize that? And perhaps the person they're singing to also tries to sing it that way?

It's driving me mad, because I hear it so clearly, but see nothing.

That said, Joe Klein can lose his job for all I care - Pogo_Fuzzybutt, I agree with... Perhaps he can take a standing in the Pro Beard Circuit.
posted by symbioid at 7:24 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


The Economist is a little too dense for me, but for a quick summary, The Week is not bad. A Felix Dennis joint.
posted by Bron at 7:26 AM on September 5, 2014




... since Newsweek went out of print (I think I've seen something about it going back in print, but honestly I don't care all that much)

Not that anyone noticed, but Newsweek started printing again in March of this year.

This week at my public library we are reducing our held back issues of print magazines by about 90%, over the weak objections of myself and a couple of other staff. There's just no demand for them any more. And now I have about 1.3 tons of National Geographics to find room for at home.
posted by General Tonic at 7:38 AM on September 5, 2014 [2 favorites]


I recently flipped through a couple of Time issues from the early 80s. I was amazed. Long articles, complex features on art and culture, heavy-lit book reviews. It looked very much like a competitor of The Economist, and made the current Time look like a magazine aimed towards somewhat bright children.

Can't say I will miss it much when it's gone. Won't miss the whole "Henry Luce American Century" propaganda philosophy either.
posted by Omon Ra at 8:22 AM on September 5, 2014


The Economist, Mother Jones, Christian Science Monitor... Really Time/Newsweek were close to the bottom of the barrel.
posted by BrotherCaine at 8:29 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


symbioid -- pretty sure it was an SNL skit with Kevin Nealon and Dana Carvey -- can't find video, but here's a ref.
posted by davidmsc at 9:15 AM on September 5, 2014


Thanks, davidmsc... It did faintly remind me of the elevator/Sting sketch with "Roxanne" and the high pitch stuff. I didn't actually think it was from that, but I guess so :)
posted by symbioid at 11:09 AM on September 5, 2014


Time Magazine was started as a way of pushing conservative views in opposition to FDR, etc. There was never a time where they were objective journalists. These magazines are failing because they're bad for readers, and they can no longer push their ad-soaked trash onto people just because they own the printing presses and distributers.
posted by empath at 1:57 PM on September 5, 2014


And now I have about 1.3 tons of National Geographics to find room for at home.

Did you know you can buy every issue from the first one up to 2012, on DVD-ROM?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:52 PM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]


Pearlstine has heard the criticism and is unfazed. “I love the debate,” he says. He has no trouble arguing he’s made the right decision about ending the church-state separation and says he still regularly reads and weighs in on sensitive stories. “In a fast-moving age for digital, for video, for new technologies, I thought it was really important there was close coordination between edit and the business side,” he says. “I mean, we’re not a cultural artifact at all. We are trying to serve the best interests of our stakeholders and our customers.”

You know, they really need to just stop charging for their advertorial magazines and give them away. Then there would be no confusion about who is the customer and who is the product.
posted by TedW at 4:32 PM on September 5, 2014


Here's how I'd save Time:

1) Add a crossword puzzle
2) Increase the sports coverage
3) Ballsier "Person of the Year" picks. Put a dictator or serial murderer up there every once in a while, get the tongues wagging!
4) Gritty, unretouched, uncensored photos of warzones and poverty with a lighter section devoted to celebrity scandal and skin
posted by Renoroc at 8:20 PM on September 5, 2014


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