Time Warner CEO hints at online fees
SAN FRANCISCO - Time Warner Inc. chief executive Jeffrey Bewkes chimed in yesterday with the chorus of publishers wondering how much longer newspapers and magazines can afford to keep giving away their stories on the Internet.
Time Warner's magazines - including Time, Fortune, People, and Sports Illustrated - have been hurt by a steep decline in print advertising. Time Warner's publishing division suffered a 30 percent drop in ad revenue in the first quarter.
With little hope that online ad sales will ever compensate for the erosion on the print side, more publishers are drawing up plans to charge for access to websites that have been mostly free for the past decade.
Newspaper industry executives met Thursday in Chicago to discuss the prospects. Bewkes didn't specify whether any of Time Warner's magazines will embrace online fees to increase their revenue.
The television side of Time Warner's business is faring better than print, and Bewkes said one reason is that the New York company doesn't give away its programming on the Web.