According to Wikipedia today, Time Warner Inc. is the THIRD largest media and entertainment conglomerate in the world, behind News Corporation and Walt Disney and I have to confess, (which some may say is a little strange), that ever since I was child, I have dreamt that I might one day build a company which I might sell to one of the above for gazillions and perhaps earn myself a seat on the board, where I may then have the opportunity to contribute on a much bigger scale again, to the kind of magic I grew up on... for my children and grandchildren. I'm afraid I didn't dream of being a footballer or astronaut rather, I have always wanted to make dreams come true for others and be at the heart of one of the few industries that defines and challenges who we as human beings are.
If you write down a list of say 20 of the biggest moments in your life and then think of the music that you associate with those moments; or the news at the time; the hollywood star of the day...etc.etc., it is nigh on impossible that one of these names isn't responsible for providing a backdrop to those moments in some capacity.
So what's the point?
Because ideas are two a penny and execution is king, together with the fact that I have my own agenda for our current business which down the line I believe will realise the dreams mentioned above anyway; I believe it is in all our interests that the dreammakers like Time Warner, Walt Disney etc. survive, thrive and preserve all that experience and history and not allow the current media equivalent of an ice age to destroy them.
In less than ten years time, it will be the 100th anniversary of Warner Brothers and this year on 4 February 2009, Time Warner posted a $16.03 billion loss for the final quarter of 2008, compared with a $1.03 billion profit for the same three months of 2007. This doesn't bode well for my shamelessly stated ambitions above in about ten years time, so here (finally) is what I think could make at least part of the difference...
TIME - The media landscape is changing at break neck speed and as every day goes by, the previously incumbent positions taken for granted by the old guard of media conglomerates are being eroded right in front of our eyes as the likes of Google, Facebook et al plant their flags on ever growing swathes of the new frontier. Some have tried to buy into this space, but not necessarily in the right places and most importantly, the world's audiences will, especially in brand recognition terms, more and more be thinking Google, Microsoft and Facebook first and Warners and Disney et al as subsequent and hardly recognisable mere content providers, assuming you can still provide that content in such a way so as to keep your brands visible.
The one thing that every individual on the planet owns and we media creators buy, borrow or steal from them is their 'TIME'. Social networking, communication, entertainment, news, work, play, sleep, love, family, travel etc. etc. is all routed in TIME, and the one thing that noone has yet done successfully is stake a claim on helping 'me' or one of my fellow human beings manage our TIME.
I'm one of those people who, for better or worse, always looks objectively at everything, so to me this seems a pretty obvious opportunity to use a brand you already own to create perhaps the most appealing and unifying platforms possible and cement your future in the process. People will always assume AOL still means America Online only and Bebo, simply can't in its current guise hope to do anything other than spiral in the wrong direction. Imagine however a single online window, which I can log into and work, connect, stay informed, play, buy, be entertained, learn, give, create and so on...but above all be somewhere I can trust to make the very most of my TIME.
Now I know that Time as a magazine format has a long history of its own and so the thought that the brand might be sacrificed for a higher cause will scare many of the old school, but let's face it, losing a brand name in favour of a refreshing new alternative is better than losing their job surely?
I'm not about to describe what this should all look like, because I'd expect to be paid a king's ransom for that, and in a quixotic sense, I'd prefer to see this as a collaboration between otherwise competing content providers or even some of the current enemy too. I can in any event see, as clear as day, a vision for a brand that is right under your nose, defines in itself the necessary journey you so need to take and ensures that on your 100th anniversary for Warners, your wider reputation becomes again one that; my son as he grows up and then his children, still believe is synonymous with trust, magic and that noblest of all things; serving the human condition.
We are not far off our TV's and PC's being one and the same, and all our media will be cloud based and delivered at will wherever we are and whenever we want. Whose name is going to be on the screen when we turn on or log in???... I personally wouldn't mind if 'TIME' was one of the options... but it will take a few phone calls and some pretty radical new thinking before that happens I suspect!....and if you need some suggestions for how to re-align the magazine as well, just give me a call.