Mag Bag: Is Time Warner, Icahn Dispute Finally Over? Weight Watchers Gains, Good and Bad Sporting News

  • by February 24, 2006
Time Warner, Icahn Dispute Finally Over...Or Is It?

So the noisy dispute between gadfly investor Carl Icahn and his bid to break up Time Warner is finally over. Or is it? Let's not forget that when Icahn and Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons kissed and made up late last week, it was not without concessions on each part. Icahn agreed to back off a planned proxy fight to take over the board with an eye toward a company breakup. Time Warner and Parsons agreed to an increased stock buyback and cost reductions totaling $1 billion. That's a lot of money to cut, and it has to come from somewhere. Time Inc., the magazine division, has already fired well over 100 employees and has publicly said enough is enough. But is it? Is the division vulnerable to more layoffs, or will the cuts come from other T-W operations like HBO, Time Warner Cable, Warner Bros., Cinemax, CNN, TBS, or TNT? Time will tell, but one thing is certain. When a company cuts $1 billion, people are going to lose jobs. Stay tuned.



Weight Watchers Gains--In Readership

Weight Watchers is gaining weight, circulation-wise. The recently released FAS-FAX report from the Audit Bureau of Circulations revealed that the title showed an 11 percent gain in paid circulation in the last six months of 2005 compared to the same period the previous year--rising from 1.136 million to 1.263 million. Newsstand sales were up 6.1 percent, while subs jumped a healthy 13.2 percent to reach 905,263. Well done.

New York Times Co. Announces New Real Estate Quarterly

The New York Times Co. has been busy on the magazine front lately. Just a few weeks ago, the company introduced a new sports quarterly called Play that is delivered in the Sunday New York Times. Now the company has announced another new title--this one called Commercial Quarterly--covering the real estate market. The new title will be published in conjunction with, a leading online commercial real estate network, and will be a stand-alone print publication. It will be mailed to 15,000 real estate professionals. The first issue will include 40 pages of advertising.

AARP Hires New Editorial Director

Two bits of news from AARP Publications. First, AARP The Magazine has enrolled in the Audit Bureau of Circulations' subscriber research verification service, which complements the magazine's own research with credible, verified data from subscriber studies conducted by a third-party research organization. AARP Publications Research Director Michael Gratz says the service will give the magazine's data "the validity and credibility they merit." The other news is that Bernard Ohanian has joined the company as editorial director of AARP Publications. In his new role, Ohanian will oversee the editorial synergy of AARP The Magazine, the AARP Bulletin, and the Spanish bilingual title AARP Segunda Juventud, and their respective online sites. Until 2005, Ohanian was associate editor at National Geographic, where he worked for 12 years in various editorial roles.

Sporting News--Good and Bad

Good news and bad news from The Sporting News. The good news is that several of the publications' editorial staffers have received awards for excellence lately. For example, writer Paul Attner won first place in the feature-writing division of the Pro Football Writers Association's recent annual awards, and the National Motorsports Press Association named Associate Editor Matt Crossman the magazine writer of the year in the non-daily division of motor sports race coverage. Also, Sporting News Radio host James Brown received the inaugural Pat Summerall Award at the Legends for Charity luncheon in Detroit during Super Bowl weekend. The bad news is that the company is reportedly on the block. Currently owned by former Microsoft executive Paul Allen's Vulcan Ventures, The Sporting News is struggling in a survival-of-the-fittest battle with tough competitors like Time Inc.'s Sports Illustrated and the Disney Co.'s ESPN the Magazine.

Billboard, MSN Team Up On New Site For Latino Music

Music trade magazine Billboard and MSN are joining forces to introduce a new, ad-supported Web site that focuses on Spanish-language Latino music. The site will also feature music news, artists' biographies and information about the Billboard Latin Music Conference & Awards. The site will also feature live performances, red carpet clips and artists' interviews from Billboard on MSN Video.

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