Hearst Corporation

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Hearst Corporation
Industry Mass media
Founded San Francisco, California, United States
(March 4, 1887 (1887-03-04))
Founder William Randolph Hearst
Headquarters Hearst Tower
Midtown Manhattan
New York City
, United States
Key people
William Randolph Hearst III
Frank A. Bennack, Jr.
(Executive Vice Chairman)
Steve Swartz
Revenue Increase US$ 9 billion (2014)[1]
Number of employees
Divisions Hearst Television
Hearst Magazines
Hearst Ventures
Hearst Business Media
Hearst Entertainment & Syndication
Hearst Newspapers
Website www.hearst.com
Hearst Tower, in September 2006

The Hearst Corporation is an American multinational mass media group based in the Hearst Tower in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Founded by William Randolph Hearst as an owner of newspapers, the company has holdings that have subsequently expanded to include a highly diversified portfolio of media interests. The Hearst family is involved in the ownership and management of the corporation.

Hearst is one of the largest diversified communications companies in the world. Its major interests include 15 daily and 36 weekly newspapers and more than 300 magazines worldwide, including Harper's Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle, and O, The Oprah Magazine; 31 television stations through Hearst Television, Inc., which reach a combined 20% of U.S. viewers; ownership in leading cable networks, including A+E Networks, and ESPN Inc.; as well as business publishing, digital distribution, television production, newspaper features distribution, and real estate ventures.

Trustees of William Randolph Hearst's will[edit]

Under William Randolph Hearst's will, a common board of thirteen trustees (its composition fixed at five family members and eight outsiders) administers the Hearst Foundation, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, and the trust that owns (and selects the 24-member board of) the Hearst Corporation. The foundations shared ownership until tax law changed to prevent this. As of 2014, the trustees are:

Family members[edit]

Non-family members[edit]

  • James M. Asher, chief legal and development officer of the corporation
  • David J. Barrett, former chief executive officer of Hearst Television, Inc.
  • Frank A. Bennack Jr., former chief executive officer and executive vice chairman of the corporation
  • John G. Conomikes, former executive of the corporation
  • Gilbert C. Maurer, former chief operating officer of the corporation and former president of Hearst Magazines
  • Mark F. Miller, former executive vice president of Hearst Magazines
  • Mitchell Scherzer, senior vice president and chief financial officer of the corporation
  • Steven R. Swartz, president and chief executive officer of the corporation

The trust dissolves when all family members alive at the time of Hearst's death in August 1951 have died.[citation needed]



The Formative years[edit]

In 1880, George Hearst (1820–1891), mining entrepreneur, American publisher, and U.S. senator, entered the newspaper business, acquiring the San Francisco Daily Examiner.

On March 4, 1887, he turned the Examiner over to his son, 23-year-old William Randolph Hearst. The newly appointed editor and publisher transformed the sedate Examiner into "The Monarch of the Dailies": he acquired the most advanced printing equipment of his day, substantially revised the newspaper’s appearance, and hired the best journalists he could find. He pushed his staff to write exciting news stories, and wrote editorials worded with force and conviction that enlivened the paper. Within a few years, the new Examiner was a success.

In 1895, Hearst purchased the New York Journal, laying the foundation for one of the major newspaper dynasties in American history.

Hearst experimented with every aspect of newspaper publishing, from page layouts to editorial crusades. His newspapers introduced innovations such as multi-color presses, halftone photographs on newsprint, comic sections printed in color, and wire syndication of news copy. Stories by Hearst correspondents from around the world were sold to other newspapers, giving rise to the Hearst International News Service, which later merged with the United Press and became part of United Press International, the main competitor to the Associated Press.

Hearst Magazines launched[edit]

In 1903, Hearst Magazines was begun with the publication of Motor magazine. Within the next 10 years Hearst acquired several popular titles, starting in 1905 with Cosmopolitan and Good Housekeeping in 1911. Also in 1911, Hearst bought a middling monthly magazine called World To-Day, which in April 1912 he renamed Hearst's Magazine. In June 1914, its title was shortened to Hearst's, and it was ultimately retitled Hearst's International in May 1922.


Hearst began producing newsreels in the mid-1910s, creating one of the earliest animation studios: the International Film Service. While the studio folded quickly, Hearst would regularly make film adaptations of his comic strips in collaboration with Hollywood studios until the late 1950s, though most of them have become lost films, as those had to be destroyed after 10 years after their release; a precautionary measure by Hearst in case the films didn't do well, to minimize the impact of any flop on the comic's popularity.

Merger of Cosmopolitan with Hearst's International[edit]

In order to spare serious cutbacks at San Simeon, Hearst merged Hearst's International magazine with Cosmopolitan effective March 1925, calling it Hearst's International combined with Cosmopolitan. The Cosmopolitan title on the cover remained at a typeface of 84 points, over a 20-year time span, while the typeface of the Hearst's International decreased from 36 points to a barely legible 12 points. Hearst died in 1951, and the Hearst's International disappeared from the magazine cover altogether in April 1952.[2]

An ad asking automakers to place ads in Hearst chain, noting their circulation.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Hearst owned the biggest media conglomerate in the world. Apart from having highly circulated magazines and owning 28 newspapers in 18 major cities from coast to coast (many of them under either the American or Examiner banners), read by one out of four Americans each day, Hearst also began acquiring radio stations to complement his papers.


Hearst Metrotone[edit]

In 1929, Hearst and movie studio Metro Goldwyn Mayer created Hearst Metrotone to produce newsreels filled with news footage shot around the world, to be shown in movie theaters.

Sale of Washington Times-Herald[edit]

The Great Depression hit Hearst hard, forcing him to sell the Washington Times-Herald to the McCormick-Patterson owners of the Chicago Tribune in the early 1930s and merge most of his remaining papers late in the decade. The latter decision proved fatal for Hearst's media empire as most of his remaining newspapers became afternoon papers. This was seen as a profitable idea in pre-television days, as evening newspapers often outsold their morning counterparts as these featured updated stock market information in early editions, while later editions were heavy on sporting news with results of baseball games and horse races. Afternoon papers also benefited from continuous reports from the battlefront during World War II. After the war however, both television news and suburbs experienced an explosive growth; thus, evening papers were more affected than those published in the morning, whose circulation remained stable while their afternoon counterparts' sales plummeted. Another major blow was the fact that by the late 1950s, football and baseball games were being played later in the afternoon and now stretched through early in the evening, preventing papers from publishing results during decent selling hours.

Television news[edit]

In 1947, he produced an early television newscast for the DuMont Television Network: I.N.S. Telenews, and in 1948 he became the owner of one of the first television stations in the country, WBAL-TV in Baltimore.

Newspaper upheavals[edit]

The earnings of Hearst's three morning papers, the San Francisco Examiner, the Los Angeles Examiner, and The Milwaukee Sentinel, had to finance the money-losing afternoon Los Angeles Herald-Express, the New York Journal-American, and the Chicago Herald-American (the result of a 1939 merger of the Herald-Examiner and the American). The latter paper was sold in 1956 to the Chicago Tribune's owners (who continued and later changed it to a tabloid Chicago Today in 1969, and closed it in 1974). Hearst also sold the Milwaukee Sentinel (which merged with the afternoon Milwaukee Journal in 1962 after a lengthy strike), the same year Hearst's L.A. papers - the Examiner and the afternoon Herald-Express - were merged into the evening Los Angeles Herald-Examiner. The 1962-63 New York City newspaper strike left New York City with no papers, which affected the Journal-American.


Beginning in 1965, the Hearst Corporation began recurring Joint Operating Agreements ("JOA"s); the first reached with the DeYoung family, proprietors of the afternoon San Francisco Chronicle, which began to produce a joint Sunday edition with the Examiner, which turned into an evening publication. The following year, the Journal-American reached another JOA with another two landmark New York City papers: the Herald-Tribune and Scripps-Howard's World-Telegram and Sun, thus forming the New York World Journal Tribune (recalling the names of the city's mid-market dailies), which unfortunately collapsed after only a few months.

The 1962 merger of the Los Angeles papers had led to the sacking of many journalists who went on to stage a 10-year strike in 1967, which ended up accelerating the pace of the company's sinking.


Sale of Boston Herald American[edit]

In 1982, the company sold the Boston Herald Traveler and Boston Record American, which had been merged in 1972 to form the all-day Boston Herald American, to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation (which promptly renamed the paper, The Boston Herald, so that it continued to compete with the morning Boston Globe).

Closure of Baltimore News-American[edit]

In 1986, Hearst closed the 113-year-old Baltimore News-American, after a failed attempt to obtain a JOA with the family publishers of The Baltimore Sun - A.S. Abell Company - which coincidentally sold its paper several days later to the Times-Mirror syndicate of the Chandlers' Los Angeles Times.

Closure of Los Angeles Herald-Examiner[edit]

In 1989, the Los Angeles Times' afternoon competitor, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, was folded.

ESPN Inc.[edit]

On November 8, 1990, Hearst Corporation acquired the remaining 20% stake of ESPN Inc. from RJR Nabisco for a price estimated between $165 million and $175 million.[3] The other 80% has been owned by The Walt Disney Company since 1996. Over the last 25 years, the ESPN investment is said to have accounted for at least 50% of total Hearst Corp profits and is worth at least $13bn [4]

Closure of San Antonio Light[edit]

In 1993, the San Antonio Light went dark.

Sale of the San Francisco Chronicle[edit]

In 2000, the Hearst Corp. pulled a surprising "switcheroo" and sold its flagship and "Monarch of the Dailies", the afternoon San Francisco Examiner, after it acquired the long-time competing but larger morning paper, the San Francisco Chronicle published by the Charles de Young family.


Sale of Cover Concepts to Marvel[edit]

In December 2003, Marvel Entertainment acquired Cover Concepts from Hearst Communications, Inc., to extend Marvel's demographic reach among public school children.[5]

A&E acquires Lifetime Entertainment Services[edit]

In 2009, A+E Networks acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services, with Hearst ownership increasing to 42%.[6][7] Also in 2009, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer switched to a digital-only format, leaving the Albany Times-Union as the only remaining Hearst paper from its golden age still owned by the company.

Acquisition of iCrossing[edit]

In 2010, Hearst acquired digital marketing agency iCrossing.[8]

Purchase of Lagardère challanges Time Inc.[edit]

In 2011, Hearst absorbed more than 100 magazine titles from the Lagardere group for more than $700 million and became a challenger of Time Inc ahead of Condé Nast.

Launch of Esquire Network[edit]

In December 2012, Hearst Corporation partnered again with NBCUniversal to launch Esquire Network.

Appointment of Gary Ellis as CDO[edit]

On February 20, 2014, Hearst Magazines International appointed Gary Ellis to the new position, Chief Digital Officer.[9] That December, DreamWorks Animation sold a 25% stake in AwesomenessTV for $81.25 million to Hearst.[10]

Chief executive officers[edit]

  • In 1880, George Hearst entered the newspaper business, acquiring the San Francisco Daily Examiner.
  • On March 4, 1887, he turned the Examiner over to his son, 23-year-old William Randolph Hearst, who was named editor and publisher. William Hearst died in 1951, at age 88.
  • In 1951, Richard E. Berlin, who had served as president of the company since 1943, succeeded William Hearst as chief executive officer. Berlin retired in 1973. William Randolph Hearst, Jr. claimed in 1991 that Berlin had suffered from Alzheimer's disease starting in the mid-1960s and that caused him to shut down several Hearst newspapers without just cause.[11]
  • From 1973-1975, Frank Massi, a longtime Hearst financial officer, served as president, during which time he carried out a financial reorganization followed by an expansion program in the late 1970s.
  • From 1975 to 1979, John R. Miller was Hearst president and chief executive officer .[12]


A non-exhaustive list of its properties and investments includes:



(alphabetical by location, then title)

Weekly Newspapers[edit]

(alphabetical by state, then title)

  • Darien News (Connecticut)
  • Fairfield Citizen (Connecticut)
  • New Canaan News (Connecticut)
  • New Milford Spectrum (Connecticut)
  • Westport News (Connecticut)
  • Marlette Leader (Michigan)
  • Vassar Pioneer Times (Michigan)
  • Advertiser North (New York)
  • Advertiser South (New York)
  • Ballston Spa Pennysaver (New York)
  • Clifton Park North Pennysaver (New York)
  • Clifton Park South Pennysaver (New York)
  • Latham Pennysaver (New York)
  • Pennysaver News (New York)
  • Spa City Moneysaver (New York)
  • The Weekly (New York)
  • Bulverde Community News (Texas)
  • Business Express (Texas)
  • Canyon News (Texas)
  • Conexión (Texas)
  • Hardin County News (Texas)
  • Jasper Newsboy (Texas)
  • Kelly USA Observer (Texas)
  • La Voz (Texas)
  • Lackland Talespinner (Texas)
  • Fort Sam Houston News Leader (Texas)
  • Medical Patriot (Texas)
  • Muleshoe Journal (Texas)
  • Neighborhood News (Texas)
  • North Central News (Texas)
  • Northwest Weekly (Texas)
  • Our People (Texas)
  • Randolph Wingspread (Texas)
  • Northeast Herald (Texas)
  • Southside Reporter (Texas)
  • The Zapata Times (Texas)

Television and Cable (investments)[edit]



Antitrust allegations[edit]

On July 14, 2006, San Francisco businessman and real estate investor Clint Reilly filed a lawsuit against Hearst Corp. (owner of the San Francisco Chronicle) and MediaNews Group (owner of the San Jose Mercury News, Contra Costa Times, Marin Independent Journal, Oakland Tribune and all other paid-circulation dailies in the Bay Area), alleging that the two companies have been conspiring to control advertising rates, a violation of antitrust laws.

Joseph M. Alioto represented San Francisco businessman and real estate investor Clint Reilly in an antitrust lawsuit against the Hearst Corporation

In November 2006, Reilly's attorney presented to U.S. District Judge Susan Illston a letter from Hearst senior vice president James Asher to MediaNews President Jody Lodovic that said the two companies agreed to "offer national advertising and internet advertising sales for their San Francisco Bay area newspapers on a joint basis, and to consolidate the San Francisco Bay Area distribution networks of such newspapers ..." Illston, suggesting she had been misled by the companies when they said they had not been collaborating, issued a 14-page ruling[14] forbidding Hearst and MediaNews from working together on national advertising sales or distribution.

On December 21, 2006, the San Francisco Bay Guardian and nonprofit Media Alliance filed suit to make the details of Reilly's lawsuit—and MediaNews and the Chronicle's response—public. As a result of the filing, many documents in the case were voluntarily disclosed by the defendants. The judge allowed redacted versions of two more documents to be released. She kept 17 others under seal. One of the documents unsealed was the deposition of Hearst's Asher, who says that as of September 2006, his company had recorded cumulative losses of $330 million on its investment in the Chronicle,[15] which it acquired in mid-2000. He said Hearst proposed selling the Chronicle to MediaNews, but MediaNews didn't offer enough money. Asher also said Hearst and MediaNews have discussed working together for years. On April 25, 2007, prior to the start of the scheduled trial, the parties announced that a settlement had been reached.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Hearst". Forbes. Retrieved January 27, 2014. 
  2. ^ Landers, James (2010). The Improbable First Century of Cosmopolitan Magazine. Columbia, Missouri: University of Missouri Press. pp. 169–213. ISBN 978-0-8262-1906-0. 
  3. ^ GERALDINE FABRIKANT (November 9, 1990). "Hearst to Buy 20% ESPN Stake From RJ". Nytimes.com. Retrieved July 26, 2013. 
  4. ^ "Is the world’s first media group now the best?". Flashes & Flames. 
  5. ^ "Marvel Acquires Cover Concepts to Extend Demographic Reach; Acquisition Extends Reach of Marvel's Publishing Operations to 30 Million Public School Children". BNet. December 18, 2003. Retrieved May 14, 2008. 
  6. ^ "A&E Acquires Lifetime]". Variety.com. August 27, 2009. 
  7. ^ "A&E Networks, Lifetime Merger Completed". Broadcasting & Cable. August 27, 2009. 
  8. ^ Elliott, Stuart (June 3, 2010). "Google and Hearst Make Digital Acquisitions". Media Decoder. 
  9. ^ Steigrad, Alexandra (February 20, 2014). "Hearst Magazines International Makes Digital Hire". WWD. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  10. ^ Verrier, Richard (December 11, 2014). "Hearst Corp. buys 25% stake in AwesomenessTV". Los Angeles Times (Los Angeles Times Media Group). Retrieved December 16, 2014. 
  11. ^ Hearst, Jr. William Randolph and Jack Casserly. The Hearsts: Father and Son. New York: Roberts Rinehart, 1991.
  12. ^ "A brief history of the Hearst Corporation" (PDF). Retrieved January 25, 2012. 
  13. ^ "Company Profile: Hearst Interactive Media". Hoovers.com. 
  14. ^ U.S. District Court, Order Re: Second Application for Temporary Restraining Order, November 28, 2006
  15. ^ Said, Carolyn. San Francisco Chronicle, February 1, 2007. Hearst, MediaNews talks included possible sale of Chronicle"
  16. ^ Egelko, Bob (April 25, 2007). "Hearst, MediaNews Group settle Reilly suit". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 30, 2007. 

External links[edit]