The return of “Warner Communications?”: Time Warner to spin off Time, Inc.

iPad and newspaper

Updated on March 21, 2023

Warner Bros. logos from "Tiny Toons"
Two Warner Bros. logos, from “Tiny Toon Adventures.” (Warner Bros.)

Some might recall the big merger between Warner Communications (owners of Warner Bros. studios) and Time, Inc. (publishers of “Time,” “Life,” and other magazines) back in the late 80s.

After almost 25 years of “matrimony,” it looks like Time Warner is looking to spin off its Time, Inc. side. It’s in the name of pushing its TV/video/motion picture side of things as future money-makers. This is as opposed to, well, print media like “Time” magazine. Despite that Time wasn’t losing money, apparently the “print media is dead” meme, general corporate profit-mindedness, and a proposed previous sell-off deal falling through have prompted Time Warner’s decision.

There’s no indication what the now-Time-less Time Warner will rename the remaining company, if anything. I presume “Warner Communications” might be an option; it’s the name used between the early 70s and the late 80s for the Warner side of things. However, given media types aren’t particularly nostalgic/emphasize youth at extreme lengths (and that it’s been almost 25 years since they used “Warner Communications”), they’ll probably go for something more “2013.” “Warner?” “Warner Corporation?” Just plain “Warner Brothers, Inc.?”

On the comics and animation side of things, expect status quo. For animation fans, the animation studios, cable TV networks, and film libraries are all exclusively on the Turner and Warner Bros. side of the company. For DC Comics fans, it’s been under the Warner side of the company (and corporate cousins of Bugs Bunny) since Warner Communications’ predecessor “Kinney National Company” bought DC in 1967.

(Useless trivia: “Kinney” was a former cleaning services/parking garage company that for some reason expanded into media ownership. Warner Bros. until 1967 was run by the actual Warner siblings it was founded by/named after, though by 1967, only Jack L. Warner (the “J.L.” that Daffy Duck refers to in the Looney Tunes short “The Scarlet Pumpernickel”) was left. With the death of the old-school studio system, etc., Jack L. Warner sold the company to Seven Arts Productions in 1967, and retired a few years later. The merged company (briefly named “Warner Bros.-Seven Arts”) was bought by Kinney in 1969, and eventually renamed “Warner Communications” in 1972.)

Anthony Dean

Anthony Dean is the owner of Diverse Tech Geek and Diverse Media Notes.

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