Time Warner recently parted ways with its magazine unit, Time Inc., making Time Inc. its own independent magazine media company. Reactions to the move ranged from skepticism to hesitant optimism, and left magazine industry observers wondering if Time Inc. can reinvent itself for success as it approaches its hundredth year of operation.

Though it’s tempting to focus on the future of Time Inc., a brief tour into its past lends perspective on this latest move. It turns out that Time Inc. has a long history of ownership drama. Its plot line is characterized by repeated expansion into new areas and technologies, and then the spinning off of subsidiaries to renew focus on the company’s core businesses — time and again.

Below is a timeline of Time Inc. that helps put it all into perspective. Click on bubbles on the timeline to learn more about points in the company’s history.

Sources for this timeline are here.

Susan Currie Sivek, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Mass Communication at Linfield College. She teaches media theory, writing, and editing, and does research on magazines, social media, and political communication.

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