Harte Hanks

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Harte Hanks, Inc.
IndustryMarketing Services
PredecessorHarte-Hanks Newspapers
Harte-Hanks Communications
FoundedSan Antonio, Texas, U.S. (1923)
FounderHouston Harte and Bernard Hanks
2800 Wells Branch Pkwy
Austin, Texas
United States
Area served
Key people
  • Brian Linscott (CEO, 2021-present)
ServicesDirect and digital marketing
Number of employees

Harte Hanks is a global marketing services company headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts. Harte Hanks services include analytics, strategy, marketing technology, creative services, digital marketing, customer care, direct mail, logistics, and fulfillment.


Founded by Houston Harte and Bernard Hanks[1] in 1923 as Harte-Hanks Newspapers (and later Harte-Hanks Communications), the company spent its first 50 years operating newspapers in Texas. In 1968, the company relocated from Abilene to San Antonio.[2] It made its first IPO on March 8, 1972,[2] later diversifying into television and radio properties. In 1984, the company's managers took it private, later going public again in 1993.[3] In the mid-1990s, the company withdrew from the newspaper and broadcasting business and focused solely on direct marketing and shopper publications.


Harte Hanks' first newspapers were Hanks' Abilene Reporter-News and Harte's San Angelo Standard.[4] Other early acquisitions in the 1920s and 1930s included the Harlingen Star, Corpus Christi Times, Big Spring Herald and Paris News.[5] The company incorporated as Harte-Hanks Newspapers, Inc. in 1948.[6]

The company bought two competing newspapers in Greenville, Texas in the mid-1950s, consolidating them into the Herald-Banner after two years of fierce rivalry. A court case followed, with Harte Hanks accused of unfair competition. The chain was acquitted of the charges in 1959.[7][8]

In 1962, the company took full ownership of San Antonio Express-News, its largest circulation newspaper. The Express-News was one of the first properties Harte Hanks sold off, however, as it began to narrow its focus to smaller newspapers and eventually to direct marketing. Rupert Murdoch paid $19 million for the Express-News in 1973.[5]

At the time of the first IPO in 1972, the firm owned properties in 19 markets across six states.[9] The paper expanded outside of Texas that year with the purchase of the Anderson Independent and Anderson Daily Mail of Anderson, South Carolina, merging them into the Anderson Independent-Mail.

By 1980, the company owned 29 daily and 68 weekly newspapers.[5]

In 1995, Harte Hanks sold to Community Newspaper Company its interest in the Massachusetts-based Middlesex News, two other dailies, and associated weeklies in the western suburbs of Boston.[10] It had owned the News since 1972 and bought the News-Tribune and Daily Transcript in 1986.[11]

The Abilene, Anderson, Corpus Christi, and San Angelo papers were among the last remaining Harte Hanks newspaper properties and were sold to E. W. Scripps Company in May 1997.[12] Scripps spun out its newspaper assets into Journal Media Group in April 2015.[13] Journal was then absorbed into Gannett in April 2016.[14]

Television and radio[edit]

The company made its first foray into other media as early as 1962, when Harte Hanks bought KENS-AM-TV, San Antonio's CBS radio and television affiliates, as part of its acquisition of the Express-News.[4] Harte Hanks turned KENS from a perennial ratings also-ran to the market leader by 1968. In the 1970s, the newspaper-dominated company further diversified its holdings by purchasing the WAIM radio and TV stations in Anderson as part of its purchase of the Independent and Mail, as well as television stations in Jacksonville, Florida, Greensboro, North Carolina, and Springfield, Missouri. In 1978, Harte Hanks bought radio stations formerly owned by Southern Broadcasting. In 1980, the company's broadcast holdings were four television stations, 11 radio stations and four cable television systems. It sold off most of these assets in the mid-1980s to pay down debt incurred in the leveraged buyout that took the company private. Harte Hanks continued to hold KENS until 1997, when it and the company's remaining newspaper properties were sold to Scripps.[5]

Television stations[edit]

City of license / Market Station Channel
Years owned Current ownership status
Jacksonville, Florida WTLV 12 (12) 1975–1988 NBC affiliate owned by Tegna Inc.
(sale to Standard General pending[15])
Springfield - Branson, Missouri KYTV 3 (44) 1978–1987 NBC affiliate owned by Gray Television
Greensboro - High Point -
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
WFMY-TV 2 (51) 1976–1988 CBS affiliate owned by Tegna Inc.
(sale to Standard General pending[15])
WGHP 8 (35) 1978[citation needed] Fox affiliate owned by Nexstar Media Group
Anderson - Greenville - Spartanburg, South Carolina -
Asheville, North Carolina
WAIM-TV 40 (14) 1972–1978 MyNetworkTV affiliate, WMYA-TV, owned by Cunningham Broadcasting
(Operated through a LMA by Sinclair Broadcast Group)
San Antonio, Texas KENS-TV 5 (39) 1962–1997 CBS affiliate owned by Tegna Inc.
(sale to Standard General pending[15])

Other businesses[edit]

Harte Hanks was formerly associated with the publication of weekly shopper publications,[16] with a circulation at one time of 13 million weekly in 1,100 separate editions of The PennySaver and The Flyer in California and Florida, respectively.[17][18] The company sold The Flyer to Coda Media in 2012,[19] having owned it since 1983.[20] The PennySaver and website PennySaverUSA.com, a nationwide network of local advertising content online for consumers and businesses,[3] were sold to OpenGate Capital in 2013.[21] Harte Hanks had owned the publication since 1972.[22]

In 2006, Harte Hanks acquired Global Address, a software company based in the United Kingdom that developed International Address Validation technology. In 2008, Global Address was renamed to Trillium Software. Trillium Software was later sold to Syncsort in 2016.[23]

In 2008, Harte Hanks acquired Mason Zimbler, a UK-based digital marketing and media provider.[24]

In 2008, Harte Hanks acquired Strange & Dawson, a UK-based digital advertising service.[25]

In 2010, Harte Hanks acquired Information Arts, a UK-based data insight, data management and database-marketing firm.[26]

In 2015, Harte Hanks acquired San Mateo, California-based digital marketing firm 3Q Digital.[27] In 2018, Harte Hanks sold 3Q back to an entity owned by previous 3Q Digital owners.[28]


  • Pederson, J. (2004), International directory of company histories, Volume 63, St. ₨ourcing and Offshoring Industry Almanac 2007, Plunkett Research, Limited
  1. ^ Pederson 2004, p. 186
  2. ^ a b Pederson 2004, p. 187
  3. ^ a b Pasiuk 2006, p. 80
  4. ^ a b Pederson 2004, p. 188
  5. ^ a b c d Answers.com: Harte-Hanks Communications, Inc., accessed January 26, 2007.
  6. ^ Diana J. Kleiner: Harte-Hanks Communications from the Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved May 18, 2013.
  7. ^ "Harte-Hanks Communications, Inc". International Directory of Company Histories. Thomson Gale.
  8. ^ "United States v. Harte-Hanks Newspapers".
  9. ^ Abilene Reporter News: About Us Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, accessed January 25, 2007.
  10. ^ "Middlesex News Changing Owners." Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.), November 23, 1994.
  11. ^ Adams, Jane Meredith. "Harte-Hanks Acquires Transcript Group." The Boston Globe, March 14, 1986; "Four Leaving Jobs at Middlesex News." The Boston Globe, April 9, 1982.
  12. ^ Sale of ARN to Scripps Complete Archived 2007-09-27 at the Wayback Machine, accessed January 25, 2007.
  13. ^ Gores, Paul (1 April 2015). "Journal, Scripps merger creates two closely aligned media companies". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved April 3, 2015.
  14. ^ "Gannett's acquisition of Journal Media Group approved". USA TODAY. Retrieved April 8, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Miller, Mark K. (2022-02-22). "Tegna Selling To Standard General For $5.4 Billion". TVNewsCheck. Retrieved 2022-02-24.
  16. ^ About Us, official site
  17. ^ "Company Info". Harte Hanks. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  18. ^ Plunkett 2007
  19. ^ "Harte-Hanks sells The Flyer back to original founder". advertisingmiami.com. December 17, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  20. ^ Dwight Bitikofer. "Member Profile: Carlos Guzman, TheFlyer.com magazine". ifpa.com. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  21. ^ "OpenGate Capital Signs Agreement to Acquire PennySaver from Harte-Hanks, Inc".
  22. ^ Amy Or (September 19, 2013). "OpenGate Buys Weekly Shopper Publication Business From Harte-Hanks". downjones.com. Retrieved October 8, 2013.
  23. ^ "Clearlake Capital-backed Syncsort closes acquisition of data quality leader Trillium Software - Precisely". syncsort.com. Retrieved February 24, 2021.
  24. ^ "Mason Zimbler acquired by America's Harte Hanks". www.campaignlive.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  25. ^ "Harte-Hanks Acquires Strange & Dawson Advertising | Mergr". mergr.com. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  26. ^ "Harte-Hanks acquires Information Arts". CNN Money.
  27. ^ Zacks Equity Research (March 17, 2015). "Harte Hanks Acquires 3Q Digital to Be Accretive in 2015". finance.yahoo.com. Retrieved April 8, 2015.
  28. ^ Patrick Danner. "Harte Hanks unloads 3Q Digital subsidiary". mysanantonio.com. Retrieved February 24, 2021.

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