a media industry resource

Time Warner: Landmarks


This chronology is indicative only. It covers -

  • Antecedents
  • Beginnings (1923)
  • Twilight of the American Century (1944)
  • Conglomerates (1967)
  • The Turner syndrome (1985)
  • Life online (1994)
  • AOL Time Warner merger (2000)
  • Unloading Warner Music (2003)

Context is provided by the broader communications and media timeline on this site.


1903 four Warner brothers launch nickeloden

1905 Stanley and Jules Mastbaum launch cinema operation

1907 Warner brothers establish film distribution business

1912 move into production

1917 Warners have first major success with My 4 Years In Germany

1918 brothers open their first West Coast Studio on Sunset Boulevard


1923 Time launched by Henry Luce & Britton Hadden

1923 Warner Brothers incorporated

1925 Warners establish Vitaphone Co., begin experimental sound pictures at Warner Vitagraph studio in Brooklyn

1926 Warners Don Juan, starring John Barrymore, features music but no spoken dialogue

1927 Warners move Vitaphone to Hollywood, release Al Jolson's The Jazz Singer

1930 Luce's Fortune magazine launched

1930 Warners buy Brunswick Records

1931 March of Time broadcast launched

1932 Luce buys Architectural Forum

1935 first Porky Pig cartoon from Warners animation unit

1935 March of Time newsreel launched

1936 Life launched

1937 Detective Comics (DC) founded

1939 All-American Comics founded

1940 Bugs Bunny introduced by Warners

Twilight of the American Century

1944 twilight of the Studio System, with court ruling that Warners must release Olivia de Havilland after 7 year contract

1945 Warners increases stake in ABPC to 37.5%

1947 Atlantic Records founded

1948 much of Warners film library sold to MGM

1948 Warner Bros considers buying ABC network

1949 Warners ordered to divest cinema chain

1949 Warners begins to license cartoon characters to children's clothing manufacturers

1949 Eliot Hyman founds Associated Artists Productions

1950 Elektra Records founded by Jac Holzman

1951 Time-Life buys KOB Albuquerque

1954 Sports Illustrated launched

1954 TLF Broadcasters Inc (later Time Life Broadcast Inc) buys KLZ Denver radio station

1956 Harry and Albert Warner sells stake in Warner Bros

1957 Time-Life buys Indianapolis television station

1957 sells KOB Albuquerque to KSTP Inc

1957 buys WOOD-TV (later WLAV-TV and WOTV) Grand Rapids

1957 Stark and Hyman form Seven Arts Productions

1958 Warner Bros. Records founded

1963 Warners closes animation unit

1963 Warners buys Sinatra's ailing Reprise records

1965 Panavision purchased by Banner Productions for US$3.6m


1967 Jack Warner sells his stake in Warners to Seven Arts for US$32m. Seven Arts merges with Warner Bros as Warner-Seven Arts

1967 Atlantic records bought by Warner-Seven Arts

1967 National Periodical Publications merges with Kinney to become parking-lot to funeral parlour conglomerate Kinney National Services

1967 DC and All-American Comics bought by Kinney National

1967 Kinney buys Ashley Famous talent agency

1967 New Line Cinema founded

1968 Time buys Boston publishing house Little, Brown (founded 1837)

1968 Kinney National buys Panavision for US$10m

1969 Warner-Seven Arts acquired by Kinney National and becomes Warner Communications

1970 Warner Music opens in Australia

1970 Warner Communications buys Elektra records

1970 Geffen founds Asylum label

1972 Time buys out Charles Dolan from Home Box Office (HBO) cable tv network, Dolan establishes Cablevision

1972 Money launched

1972 Life ceases

1973 Time buys pulp and paper group Temple Industries to form Temple-Eastex

1974 People launched

1976 Turner buys Atlanta Braves sports team

1976 Nolan Bushnell sells Atari to Warners for US$28m

1976 Turner's WTCG in Atlanta beamed via satellite to US cable networks

1977 Turner buys Atlanta Hawks

1978 Time buys cable operator American Television & Communications (ATC)

1978 Life relaunched as monthly (ceases 2000)

1979 Turner Communications Group becomes Turner Broadcasting System, WTCG is renamed WTBS

1979 American Express buys half of Warner Communications cable subsidiary Warner Cable for US$175m, forming Warner-Amex Cable Communications

1980 CNN, world's first 24-hour all-news network

1981 Warner buys Franklin Mint from QVC founder Joseph Segel

1982 Tri-Star Pictures formed by CBS television, HBO and Columbia Pictures

1982 Warner sells stake in Claritas, formerly General Analytics Corporation, to VNU

1983 sells WOOD-TV to LIN

1984 Time spins off Temple-Eastex and Inland Container Corporation to form Temple-Inland

1984 Warner sells most of loss-making Atari to founder of Commodore Computers

1984 Warner sells cosmetics business

1984 sells Panavision

1985 sells Franklin Mint to Resnick family

1985 Quantum Computer Services formed, later renamed AOL

1985 Time buys Southern Progress group (founded 1886), with Progressive Farmer (1886), Southern Living (1966) and Oxmoor House (1969)

1985 Warner pays US$450m for American Express stake in Warner-Amex cable operations

1985 Time buys Scott Foresman publishing group

The Turner Syndrome

1985 Laurence Tisch buys 25% of CBS to thwart Turner bid

1986 Turner buys rights to MGM film library

1987 Warner buys Chappell Music publishing company from Polygram for US$275m

1988 WEA buys Teldec records (Germany) and Magnet records (UK)

1989 Time Warner created with Time's acquisition of Warner Communications

1989 WEA buys CGD Records (Italy) and MMG Records (Japan)

1989 Scott, Foresman and Little, Brown sold to Murdoch's Harper & Row

1989 Quantum renamed America Online

1990 Entertainment Weekly launched

1990 New Line Cinema launches art house division, Fine Line Features

1990 WEA buys Carrere Disques (France)

1991 Chicago Tribune takes 10% stake in AOL for US$5m

1991 Time Warner buys 50% of park manager Six Flags Corp.

1991 Time Warner takes stake in Scandinavian broadcaster SBS

1992 WEA buys Erato records (France)

1993 WEA buys Spanish DRO Group, Hungarian Magneoton label, Swedish label Telegram Records, Continental Records in Brazil and Finnish Fazer Musiiki

1993 Time Warner buys remaining 50% of Six Flags Corp

Life online

1994 Time Warner launches Pathfinder magazine portal

1994 Warner/Chappell Music acquires CPP/Belwin, becoming world's largest music publisher and largest publisher of printed music

1994 Turner Broadcasting System, Castle Rock and New Line Cinema merge

1994 Seagram buys 14.5% stake in Time Warner

1994 AOL reaches 1 million subscribers and links to the internet for the first time

1995 AOL buys WebCrawler, Ubique, ANS, Global Network Navigator, WAIS, Medior, BookLink Technologies and NaviSoft

1995 Time Warner buys Houston Industries cable tv network for $2.3bn

1995 Time Warner sells 51% of Six Flags Corp. to Boston Ventures for US$1bn (debt and equity)

1995 WB Network launched

1995 AOL Germany

1996 US Telecommunications Act results in billions of dollars of broadcast properties changing hands

1996 rest of Atari sold to Midway Games

1996 Time Warner takes over Turner Broadcasting System

1996 AOL buys games specialist ImagiNation Network

1996 AOL UK, AOL Canada and AOL France

1996 AOL launches Buddy List instant message feature for AOL members and AIM instant message service for internet users

1997 AOL chat rooms opened to advertisers

1997 Time Warner sells American Lawyer magazines for US$63m

1997 sells Metrocolor London to Carlton for £3.8m

1997 Justin Frankel develops Winamp MP3 tool, later creates Shoutcast and Nullsoft

1998 AOL buys CompuServe and ICQ online messaging

1998 WEA buys 90% of Nuova Fonit Cetra, Italian record and music publishing group

1998 AOL and Bertelsmann launch AOL Australia

1998 forms AOL Latin America with Cisneros

1998 Time Warner sells stake in Six Flags Corp to Premier Parks

1998 launches Teen People monthly magazine

1999 AOL buys Netscape, MovieFone, Spinner, Winamp, SHOUTcast and DMS

1999 Time Warner Cable trials video-on-demand in Austin and Tampa

1999 AOL buys Frankel's Nullsoft for US$100m

2000 Time Warner buys Times Mirror Magazines from Tribune Company, including Golf, Ski, Skiing, Field & Stream, Yachting and other titles

2000 buys 49% of Essence Communications Partners

2000 AOL buys online travel information provider MapQuest

AOL Time-Warner merger

2000 AOL merges with Time Warner

2000 Frankel releases Gnutella

2001 global AOL subscribers surpass 30 million

2001 Asiaweek, Family Life and On closed

2001 AOLTW announces plan to spend US$6.75bn buying Bertelsmann's 49.5% stake in AOL Europe

2001 buys IPC Magazines from Cinven for £1.15bn

2002 AT&T sells stake in Time Warner Cable

2002 AOLTW buys 15.3% of VIVA Media from EMI

2002 buys Warren Miller Films

2002 buys 50% of music publisher Deston Songs from edel music AG

2003 Warner Bros sells stake in Australian cinema joint venture (319 screens in 29 multiplexes) to AHL's Greater Union and Village Roadshow

2003 'AOL' dropped from AOL Time Warner corporate name

Unloading Warner Music

2003 Warner Music arm sold to consortium led by Edgar Bronfman (former head of Universal) for US$2.6bn

2003 Time Warner sells Time Inc direct marketing arm

2005 pays US$2.1bn to settle shareholder class action over AOL takeover

2005 Google agrees to buy 5% of AOL for US$1bn

2006 CBS and Warner Brothers Entertainment announcement that UPN and WB networks would combine to form youth-oriented CW network

2006 Time Warner sells book publishing division (inc Warner Books and Little, Brown) to Lagardere for US$537.5m

2006 Time Warner buys Liberty Media's 50% in Court TV joint venture for US$735m

2006 sells stake in Warner Bros theme park joint venture in Australia to partner Village Roadshow for $254m

2006 closes Teen People

2006 closes Family Circle in UK

2006 Adelphia's assets acquired by Time Warner Cable and Comcast

2006 Time Warner Cable redeems Comcast's 17.9% interest in Time Warner Cable Inc.

2006 Time Warner Entertainment (TWE) redeems Comcast's 4.7% interest in TWE

2006 announces plans to sell 18 magazine titles, including Popular Science, Field & Stream, Outdoor Life and Parenting

2006 Telecom Italia agrees to buy AOL's access business in Germany for €675m

2006 Carphone Warehouse buys AOL's UK access business for £370m