In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Time Warner

  • Introduction
  • Corporate Governance and Strategy
  • Concentration of Ownership
  • Political Contributions

Communication Time Warner
Amelia Arsenault
  • LAST REVIEWED: 27 October 2017
  • LAST MODIFIED: 23 May 2012
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756841-0092


Time Warner (TW) ranks among the top three largest diversified media conglomerates in the world. The corporation was born in 1989 from the marriage of Time Inc., one of America’s oldest publishing houses, and Warner Communications Inc., one of America’s oldest film and television producers. Time Warner operations are concentrated in print media, and in film and television production and distribution. Its subsidiaries include Time Inc., DC Comics, Cable News Network (CNN), Home Box Office (HBO), Cinemax, the Cartoon Network, and Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). Time Warner also holds 50 percent of the CW Television Network (a joint venture between CBS Corp. and Warner Bros.), New Line Cinema, and Warner Bros. Studios. It also owned one of the “Big Four” music publishers until it split off its music holdings into a separate company called Warner Music Group in 2005. Time Warner Cable (TWC), one of the largest cable operators in the United States, and America Online (AOL), one of America’s largest Internet portals, were spun into separate companies in 2009. The literature about Time Warner is almost as diversified as its holdings. Some consider Time Warner from the perspective of political economy, focusing on the company’s ability to leverage its stable of properties to exact political favors or expand market share. Economists and financial analysts have examined Time Warner’s corporate strategies and the reasons and consequences of its many mergers and acquisitions. Legal scholars and communication scholars interested in media law and policy have examined the implications of Time Warner’s vast holdings for public deliberation, media regulation, and democracy. Still others have used Time Warner as a case study to examine how corporate strategy influences content, and vice versa. Critical and cultural studies scholars have also investigated the history, content, and corporate strategies of Time Warner holdings such as DC Comics, Hanna-Barbera, Time Magazine, Warner Brothers, and CNN. Time Warner is commonly compared with the other members of the “Big Six,” (i.e., the six largest global media corporations), which are News Corporation (NewsCorp), Disney, Viacom, CBS, and NBC Universal (now owned by Comcast).

General Overviews

The Time Warner of today is not the Time Warner of yesteryear, and it will look completely different in five years’ time. Time Warner continuously buys and sells companies, expanding its interests in one medium or market, while cutting back in others. For example, Time Warner previously ranked among the largest cable television providers in the United States until March 2009 when it spun off its cable properties into a separate and unaffiliated company, Time Warner Cable. The Time Warner website provides only a shallow indication of the totality of the company’s operations. Those seeking current or historical information about company properties, profits and losses, and market share should consider consulting a variety of reports and analysis tailored for professional corporate, advertising, and business school communities.

  • Time Warner website.

    Contains information about the current board of directors, code-of-conduct, bylaws, and shareholder policies as well as annual and quarterly US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings for the most recent twelve-month period. The site is also useful as a very preliminary starting point for researchers interested in exploring Time Warner’s featured media holdings.

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