Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

David Carey Says Hearst Is No Time Inc.

Hearst David CareyTime Warner is so down on the magazine business that it is going to dump/spin off Time Inc., the world’s biggest magazine publisher.

But other magazine publishers insist things are fine. Or if not fine, then potentially fine.

Now, it’s entirely possible that publishers like Conde Nast and Hearst are whistling furiously and loudly past the graveyard.

But those two do differ from Time Inc. in some significant ways. For instance:

  • They don’t have the burden of publishing expensive weekly magazines like Time and Sports Illustrated, whose futures are especially fraught in the digital era.
  • They have owners who are spending some of the proceeds from their lucrative investments in cable TV (Hearst owns a chunk of ESPN, Conde parent Advance owns a slug of Discovery) to expand/diversify their core businesses (Hearst bet $1 billion on European publisher Lagardère, Advance has a $500 million M&A fund it is spreading around the Web).
  • They have owners that are private, not public.

Want to hear more optimism? Hearst magazine boss David Carey is happy to oblige. Here’s the extended version of our onstage interview at D: Dive Into Media last month, where Carey touches on Hearst’s international ambitions, its forays into TV, and mobile ads. Oh — and also its adventures in tabletland, where Apple is a very big deal, Amazon is, too, and Google has yet to make a mark.

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There was a worry before I started this that I was going to burn every bridge I had. But I realize now that there are some bridges that are worth burning.

— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle