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Free of Time Warner, Time Inc. Finds Itself in a Bind

If you talk to the people at Time Inc., the future hasn’t seemed this bright in over a decade. The massive publishing company, which owns Time, People and InStyle, among others, is now freed from the shackles of its big media owner Time Warner and finally able to control its destiny.

What that destiny is and how exactly it will get there remains bafflingly unclear. So is the amount of time the new team atop the company will have to realize that vision.

Time’s journey toward profitability in the digital era has broad implications, not just for its employees, but for the publishing industry. Its success or failure as a standalone company will reveal much about whether legacy media companies will survive as powerful conglomerates or splinter off into dozens of low-cost digital city-states.

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Rumors of a larger corporate or private equity takeover have circled Time since it became independent. The final answer for the company and its executives now might not be figuring out how to navigate the online advertising marketplace, but how to become just attractive enough to have someone else figure it out for them.

Joe Marchese commented on this article.
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Time has been considering ramping up its e-commerce integration, say executives close to the situation, working with more partners to provide more opportunities for readers to buy products related to the content.