Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Time Inc. Publishes Good News: Ad Dollars, Subscription Revenue Up

Maybe the magazine business really did touch bottom last year. At least at Time Warner’s giant Time Inc. unit: The publisher says ad revenue and subscription dollars actually increased in the first three months of 2010.

Time Warner (TWX) says ad revenue grew five percent and subscription revenue, two percent. These aren’t huge numbers, and they’re coming off lousy comps, but they’re still positive, and an increase is an increase.

In fact, the ad increase is the first the magazine group has seen in two years, Time Warner announced during its earnings call this morning.

Overall revenue still declined by one percent, but that’s because the unit no longer gets contributions from the Southern Living at Home direct sales business it sold off last year. Online revenue was up 20 percent.

Meanwhile, Time Inc.’s operating income improved dramatically to $50 million; a year ago the unit posted a $32 million loss. Chalk that up to the multiple rounds of layoffs and cost-cutting measures Ann Moore pushed through in the past couple of years.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work