Warner Communications Inc. was established in 1972 when Kinney National Company spun off its non-entertainment assets due to a financial scandal over its parking operations, (as National Kinney Corporation) and changed its name.
It was the parent company for Warner Bros. Pictures and Warner Music Group. It also owned DC Comics and Mad magazine. Warner made (and later lost) considerable profits with Atari, Inc., which it owned from 1976 to 1984.
In 1979, Warner formed a joint venture with credit card company American Express, Warner-Amex Satellite Entertainment, which owned such cable channels as MTV, Nickelodeon, and The Movie Channel. Warner bought out American Express's half in 1984, and sold the venture a year later to Viacom, which renamed it MTV Networks.
In 1987, it was announced that Warner Communications and Time Inc. were to merge, though it took two years for the merger to take place. Before the merger closed in 1989, Warner purchased Lorimar-Telepictures. In early 1990, the combined companies were named Time Warner.
The Warner Communications name was still credited on releases from Elektra Records and its sister labels until 2004. The Warner Music Group continues to use the "Big W" logo, designed by Saul Bass in 1972, even after being spun off by Time Warner.
Warner's 1972–1984 logo was used as a character in Tiny Toon Adventures, along with the classic WB shield from the cartoons, as residents along with Gogo and the other Wackyland residents. Warner also reused its 1972–1984 title featuring the Saul Bass logo for the 2012 films Magic Mike and Argo, and the 2016 film The Nice Guys, updating the byline to reflect the studio as "A Time Warner Company".