This space normally belongs to the editor and publisher of the magazine you hold in your hands, used by them to point with pride to particular stories and introduce you to the people who created them. Almost never is there any need to talk about the extended family of other magazines and the book, video and cable enterprises that make up the whole of the parent Time Inc. corporation.
Indeed, we resist the occasional temptation to report to you about our more general activities in part to ensure there can be no confusion anywhere about the independence of each of our magazines and, for that matter, of all our entities in print and video.
I am here breaking that rule to reinforce the point, because on March 4,1989, Time Inc. and Warner Communications Inc. announced they would join to create a new company, Time Warner Inc., which would be the leading information and entertainment company in the world, with revenues of more than $10 billion.
This new company is, by any measure, very big news. If the shareholders of the two combining companies and the appropriate regulatory agencies approve, Time Warner Inc. will consist of an extraordinary range of enterprises-moviemaking, records, hardcover and paperback books, television and cable programming, cable systems and of course magazine publishing. You are undoubtedly already familiar with many of these businesses and their products.
The proposed melding of Time Inc. and Warner Communications has been reported all over the world, as you no doubt know. We thought it fairer at the outset to let others take the lead analyzing in depth its ramifications and significance. But there are some important things that can be said only by us, to you.
Let’s start in 1922. That year, in a small office on 17th Street in Manhattan, two young men, Briton Hadden and Henry Luce, wrote a prospectus for a radically new magazine that became TIME. Hadden lived only long enough to see TIME become a success; under Luce, Time Inc. grew into the largest magazine publisher in the U.S. When Luce died in 1967, Time Inc. had four magazines. Today it publishes 13 and is part owner of another 11. Along the way it also became one of America’s most significant book, video and cable-TV companies.
Among other virtues, Luce believed, true to his Presbyterian origins, that Time Inc. must always be in business not only to make money but also to make a difference in society, in domestic and world affairs and in people’s lives.
Luce’s commitment to public service as well as to profit has been shared by all of his successors. The proposed new company, Time Warner Inc., has explicitly reaffirmed those values. The traditional integrity and independence of Time Inc. journalism, in this magazine and all our magazines, will be a cornerstone of this new company.
Time Warner Inc. will be one of the major forces in news, information and entertainment in the 21st century, ensuring an American presence in a competition that lately has been dominated by foreign enterprises. In 1941 Luce declared the 20th century to be the American century. We believe he would have recognized that the 21st will be a global century and would heartily approve this move positioning the company he started to continue to play its historic role.
At the heart of this enterprise will be the same spirit that infused those two creative dreamers on 17th Street. Our dedication to and respect for you the reader are as strong as ever.