business news in context, analysis with attitude

Reuters reports that the negotiations between Wal-Mart and Time Inc. to create a new low-cost women's magazine that will sell only at Wal-Mart stores is likely to lead to similar deals between publishers and other retailers.

"It could help them define who they see as their customers in a medium a lot of people care about - magazines," Abe Peck, a Northwestern University journalism professor who specializes in magazines, told Reuters.

Such moves also would allow these retailers to define themselves to their customers on an ongoing basis.
KC's View:
We think this is a smart move for Wal-Mart on a number of levels…but a move that Time Inc. may eventually find to be akin to having sold its soul to the devil. What happens when the Wal-Mart publication represents an enormous amount of revenue to Time Inc. (which it probably will), and suddenly one of its publications is preparing an unflattering article on the retailer. (Don't get all outraged, Wal-Mart apologists…this certainly is within the realm of possibility.) Time will find itself to be in an untenable situation…and we have it on good authority that there is some kvetching about the deal within the editorial ranks of the company.

Wal-Mart, on the other hand, will be in a position where it may be able to control the media, at least to some extent. And controlling the media, as we all know, is one of the first steps to world domination.