Time Warner SWOT

SWOT Analysis Time Warner

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Dominant Market Share

Time Warner is not only a dominant US company it is one of the world’s largest media companies. Its pre-eminence in the US market is evident in the publication of 23 magazines, such as, Sports Illustrated, Time, InStyle, Real Simple, People, Fortune and Southern Living. The company also boasts nearly 50 websites internationally, such as People.com, SI.com and CNN Money.com.

Slumping AOL Revenues

Recent data show a downward trend in revenues for Time-Warner’s AOL division. In FY 2008 AOL reported a drop in revenues from $4,165 in 2006 to $7, 786 million in FY2008, representing a negative compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27%. The decline is primarily due to the decrease in the number of domestic AOL brand subscribers and the sale of AOL’s German access business. Also, AOL revenues as a percentage of total revenues declined 17.8% during the same period. The declining performance of AOL may negatively impact the company’s overall revenue and profitability.


Joint Affiliations and Partnerships

The company has formed alliances with several leading companies in the media and entertainment industry. In October 2009, Warner Home Video (WHV) entered into a multi-year alliance with Sesame Workshop, a nonprofit educational organization. Under the terms of the agreement, WHV will exclusively distribute multiple Sesame Street titles, including the Sesame Street library.

In August 2009, Time-Warner and The Nielsen Company signed an agreement to provides Nielsen services to Time Warner’s broadcast, cable, syndication business units and affiliates, including Turner Broadcasting, The CW Television Network, HBO, Warner Brothers Domestic TV Distribution, Time Inc., RET Media and station WPCH. In addition, Time Warner and YouTube signed an online video distribution agreement, which allows Warner Bros. Entertainment and Turner Broadcasting System to program videos on YouTube using a Time Warner embeddable player.

MBC Group and Warner Bros. International Television Distribution (WBITD) signed a multiyear programming deal in April 2009. These are just some of the multiple partnerships which will enable the company to extend its reach and increase its subscriber base in the coming years.


Competitive Environment

Time Warner has formidable competition in each of its major business segments. The company’s AOL Division must face off against such firms as Google, Yahoo and Microsoft. In addition, MySpace, Facebook and Fox Interactive Media also compete with AOL for internet based revenues. Also, other traditional media firms have begun to offer their own internet services, among them are WPP Group (24/7 Real Media) and ValueClick. Broadband access providers also compete against AOL for internet subscribers.

Increasingly, Time Warner’s film entertainment business faces intense competition from new market entrees such as websites with internet streaming, user-generated content and interactive games. Alternative distribution systems such as cable and satellite provide competition for Turner Networks and Turner’s websites. With so many competitors in the industry there may be a scarcity of producers, directors, writers, actors and other skilled areas.

In recent years, competitors have launched new magazines and websites in the celebrity, women’s service and business sectors, these ventures compete directly with Time Warners’s People, InStyle, Real Simple, and Fortune magazines. Such intense competition as described above, could impact Time Warner pricing decisions and in turn effect revenues and market share.

Unauthorized Distribution of Content

Time Warner is increasingly impacted by the piracy of its television, motion pictures programming, DVD, and video games. Piracy is on the rise due to technological advances which allow thieves to create, transmit and distribute high quality unauthorized copies of content. This unauthorized distribution has the potential to reduce Time Warner’s revenues. Time Warner is also vulnerable to content theft in countries where it operates if those countries have weak laws protecting intellectual property or enforcement is lax.

Dependence on Google

Google is the main web search provider for nearly all of Time Warner’s AOL network and products. AOL has agreed to use Google’s algorithmic search and sponsored links on an exclusive basis through December 19, 2010. Failure to renew the agreement with Google will adversely affect the company’s operations. In addition any unilateral change Google may make in pricing, algorithms or advertising terms, could have a significant negative impact.

Time Warner Inc., a global leader in media and entertainment with businesses in television networks, filmed entertainment and publishing, uses its industry-leading operating scale and brands to create, package and deliver high-quality content worldwide through multiple distribution outlets. Read more…

This case study has been compiled from information freely available from public sources. It is merely intended to be used for educational purposes only.

Publishers Information Bureau rates Time Warner the largest magazine publisher in the US based upon advertising revenues received, while Nielsen Media Research and Media Metrix state that the company’s websites average over 29 million unique visitors monthly.

Time Warner’s AOL Web Content Services Division reached 75 million unique visitors in 2009 according to comScore Media Metrix data. AOL’s internet access subscription service is one of the largest in the US and Mapquest is one of the most prominent map and direction service in the US.

Consider also, Time Warner’s dominance of television programming. It distributes programming in more than 200 countries through its Warner Bros Television Group (WBTVG). In the US, Turner’s entertainment networks include TBS, with more than 90 million US households as in 2008; and TNT, with over 90 million households in the US.

Its presence even reaches into the contemporary cartoon genre such as the Cartoon Network (including Adult Swim, an overnight block of contemporary animation airing in 2008, which boasted approximately 97.7 million households in the US.

Time Warner is also prominent in the classic movie and cable television news areas. Its television news services, reached over 95 million US television households in 2008. Meanwhile, CNN operated 46 news bureaus and editorial operations, including 13 located in the US. In addition, Time Warner’s HBO is a pay television service (including its sister service, Cinemax), which collectively had approximately 40.9 million subscriptions as of FY2008.

Substantial Entertainment Programming

Time Warner produces and distributes theatrical motion pictures, television shows, animation and other programming such as videogames. In addition, the company distributes DVDs containing filmed entertainment produced or acquired by the company’s various content-producing subsidiaries and divisions, including Warner Bros. Pictures, Warner Bros. Television, New Line, Home Box Office and Turner Broadcasting System. LEGO Batman, Speed Racer and Guinness World Records, and co-published Lego Indiana Jones are among the interactive videogames produced by Time Warner through its subsidiaries.


Substantial Dependence on the US Markets Although, the company has operations across South America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Middle East, the US is its primary market. Over 80% of its total revenues come from the US. The slumping US economy may negatively impact demand for the Time Warner ’s products and services.