Another Merger That Didn't Require Antitrust: Time Warner to Ditch Time

Yer on your own, Satan! ||| CREDIT: Fair useCREDIT: Fair useSo, Time Warner, that shorn-off husk of the former AOL Time Warner, is now planning to shear off the foundational magazine division of the conglomerate, Time Inc., into a new company whose grim fortunes can no longer weigh down the parent.

Given how much antitrust regulation is back in the news, it's worth remembering how badly media-consolidation hysterics got the original AOL Time Warner merger wrong, advocating for what would have been a wholly unnecessary antitrust action against the alleged Big Brother. Here's a paragraph on that topic from The Declaration of Independents: How Libertarian Politics Can Fix What's Wrong With America:

Every journalism school should—but doesn't—present the hysterical reaction to the AOL Time Warner merger as Example A of why journalists are often the very worst analysts of their own industry. As the deal was unfolding in 2000, the still-ubiquitous media-ethics scold Tom Rosenstiel warned about "a new era in American communications that sees the end of an independent press." The even more influential Robert McChesney, who is one of the key people in the push to have the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet, predicted confidently that "the eventual course of the Internet—the central nervous system of our era—will be determined by where the most money can be made, regardless of the social and political implications." We were two of the only media commentators to laugh off the fear and cast doubt on the conglomerate’s future in real time. In April 2000, Nick Gillespie noted that large mergers more often fail than succeed and argued, "The moment [the new company] stops doing whatever its customers want, it will join the ranks of Sears Roebuck, A&P, IBM, and other once dominant companies that have either disappeared altogether or linger on as mere shadows of their former selves." Matt Welch wrote that "very few market-leading companies in entertainment or media stay on top for long; most go bankrupt," that "very few mega-mergers between two companies in different businesses ever work, especially when the companies involved are in media and entertainment," and that "the Internet is more tumultuous than any business sector in generations. The mighty are frequently chastened within 24 months." As it turned out, it took about thirty months for AOL Time Warner to begin to dissolve.

Never forget: "The Top 10 Most Absurd Time Covers of The Past 40 Years."

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  • John||

    I guess thanks to Obamacare there are just not as many doctors' offices to sell to anymore.

  • sarcasmic||

    That's funny because the only time I ever see that rag is at the doctor's office.

  • Lord Humungus||

    AOL is still around?

    Oh yeah, my parents, god bless 'em, still use AOL.

  • sarcasmic||

    Making fun of someone who uses AOL is like making fun of a cripple who uses a wheelchair.

  • Emmerson Biggins||

    a cripple who uses a wheelchair and is always right in front you at the grocery store fucking everything up.

  • johnl||

    Dalek hearted tubs of lard in highpowered electric wheelchairs are always careening down the ramp under the tracks at 15 MPH screeming for the people pushing strollers or pulling rollies to get out of their way.

  • Tim||

    I resemble that remark

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The last copy of Time I saw (while I was waiting to get my hairs cut) looked like it was about twelve pages, including the cover.

    "Circling the drain" doesn't even come close to describing it.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    I suspect AOL still makes sense for rural locations without cable, but which have legacy hard line telephone service.

    Satellite internet is still fairly pricey, and cell signals are spotty out in the wilderness.

    I have some friends who still have a hard line at their house because you have to hike about two hundred yards up a hill to get a cell signal. Another one has to drive about two miles to get a signal.

  • ||

    Allowed
    To merge or not
    A question for Top Men.
    Protect us! Corporations kill.
    We fear.

  • cavalier973||

    That really moved me...

  • MJGreen||

    That wasn't very dirty.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    "merge" could be construed in a dirty way, yes?

  • Tim||

    Back in the day, Time and Newsweek were big parts of establishment media. They did a lot of work mocking Reagan, just for one example.

  • ChrisO||

    You know who else was a failure at large-scale mergers and acquisitions?

  • AlmightyJB||

    F. Ross Johnson?

  • cavalier973||

    Jack Stiles?

  • AlmightyJB||

    "end of an independent press."

    They're their own worst enemy as far as that goes. Journalism schools and the MSM discourage independent thought. Oh, you can think indendently as long as you think like them.

  • JW||

    As the deal was unfolding in 2000, the still-ubiquitous media-ethics scold Tom Rosenstiel warned about "a new era in American communications that sees the end of an independent press." The even more influential Robert McChesney, who is one of the key people in the push to have the Federal Communications Commission regulate the Internet, predicted confidently that "the eventual course of the Internet—the central nervous system of our era—will be determined by where the most money can be made, regardless of the social and political implications."

    I can recall having online arguments over this (and MS's anti-trust trial), back in the day, largely making the point that Nick did. I doubt the doom-n-gloom retards I tangled with would admit just how fucking wrong they were, today, even with the smoldering ruins staring them in their dead eyes.

    They'd probably just blink and start babbling about income inequality.

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