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Editor’s Note: Encyclo has not been regularly updated since August 2014, so information posted here is likely to be out of date and may be no longer accurate. It’s best used as a snapshot of the media landscape at that point in time.

Time is the United States’ oldest and largest newsmagazine. It is owned by the media conglomerate Time Warner.

Time was founded in 1923 by Henry Luce and Briton Hadden. It is the flagship publication of Time Inc., the magazine unit of Time Warner and the world’s largest magazine publisher with 95 brands. Time brings in only a small portion of Time Inc.’s profit, much of which comes from the celebrity magazine People. Time Inc. earned $337 million in profit in 2013, its last year as part of Time Warner.

In June 2014, Time Warner spun off Time Inc. into its own publicly traded company. The new corporation began with $1.3 billion in debt and revenue that had declined in 22 of the previous 24 quarters. It also would reportedly abolish the organization’s long-standing division between the news and business sides, with journalists reporting to business executives, and attempt to cut 25% of its editorial costs within its first several months as a standalone company. In 2014, an internal document showed Time Inc. was evaluating writers on its SI.com property for their production of content benefiting advertiser relationships. Time Inc. reported $32 million in losses in its first quarter after being spun off.

Time has had a reputation for decades as the United States’ leading weekly newsmagazine, leading some to say it is an icon of middlebrow culture. In recent years, Time has attempted to fashion itself after the British foreign-issues magazine The Economist, a higher-brow publication that specializes in news analysis.

Faced with decreasing sales and flat ad revenue, Time undertook a number of cost-cutting measures in 2007 to stay profitable, shrinking its circulation from 4 million to 3.25 million and laying off about 50 staff members. (Time Inc. also made larger job cuts in 2008, 2013, and 2014.) By early 2010, those cuts had resulted in a return to profitability.

Those changes also included a shift of resources and energy toward Time.com. Time’s website is largely characterized by shorter, newsier online-only pieces on similar subjects that the magazine covers. The magazine also emphasizes the role of online video on the site. It moved to the more mobile-oriented responsive design in 2012. Time has a sizable social media following relative to its peers, with a particular emphasis on social reach in 2013 and 2014.

Time Inc. put much of its content online for free in 1994, one of the first print publishers to do so. But its officials were talking about charging for news online as early as 1995, and the magazine charged for access to stories from the print edition in 2010 and 2011. In December 2009, Time Inc. became part of a new magazine consortium aimed at charging for content online. The group, called Next Issue Media, is headed by a former Time Inc. executive. Next Issue has released subscription packages for Android devices and the iPad, the latter a flat-rate subscription across magazines.

In May 2011, the group released magazine subscriptions, including Time and Fortune, on Android-powered Samsung Galaxy tablets. It has announced plans to produce tablet editions of each of its U.S. magazines on all platforms by the end of 2011.

Time released an iPad app in April 2010, initially charging $4.99 per issue. The app was initially rated poorly by the iPad’s users. In May 2011, Time Inc. reached a deal with Apple that allowed all of its iPad apps to be accessed for free by print subscribers, and made the app available as part of a bundle with a print subscription later that year. Later that year, Time Inc. also made four of its magazines, including Time, available on the Nook reader, for free to print subscribers. Time Inc. had initially not included in-app subscription options but reached a deal with Apple to do so in 2012.

As of 2012, Time Inc. planned to allow advertisers to buy ads across all of its magazines, including both web and print editions. It introduced new, more dynamic and interactive forms of ads as part of a redesign in 2014. Time also began selling ads on the front page of its magazine in 2014.

Time Inc. experimented with a customized print and online magazine called Mine in 2009, offered a personalized combination of articles and advertisements. The project was met with mixed reviews.

Time Inc. launched in June 2014 a digital video channel called 120 Sports in conjunction with Major League Baseball, the NBA, and the NHL.

In 2009, Time Inc. launched a one-year Detroit-focused project, buying a house in the city and sending reporters from Time and its other magazines there to write features on the city’s struggles.

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Primary author: Mark Coddington. Main text last updated: August 21, 2014.
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