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HEARST’S DIGITAL AGE: What better way to ring in the New Year than with a letter to employees? At least that’s what Hearst Corp. president and chief executive officer Steven Swartz must have thought. In an everything-is-rosy internal memo dated Dec. 31 but sent out Thursday, Swartz, who succeeded Frank Bennack Jr. as ceo in June, laid out his plans to carry on with Hearst’s digital, business and television initiatives.
Those initiatives have been the focal point for growth, according to Swartz, who said roughly 60 percent of Hearst’s revenue is derived from “sources other than advertising revenue.” He added that more than 20 percent of the company’s revenue comes from outside the U.S.
When asked for clarification on the breakdown of business derived from advertising, a Hearst spokeswoman said, “Approximately 40 percent of total Hearst Corp. revenue is from advertising.”
Addressing its business wing, the ceo mentioned Hearst’s recent slew of acquisitions of health care and financial services research data companies. Swartz also touted the launch of FYI, a channel owned by its A+E network that will broadcast lifestyle-oriented programming. Another launch that has garnered media attention is SEC, a cable channel derived from ESPN. The new network just tapped Tim Tebow as a college football analyst, given his NFL career appears to be over.
On the magazine front, Swartz trumpeted the group’s “ambitious upgrade” of all its Web and mobile products for its various publications, beginning with cosmopolitan.com and elle.com. These upgrades will be fully unveiled this year, as will the development of other key partnerships. For instance, Cosmo has linked with the William Morris Endeavor agency for its conference business, and Seventeen is working with DreamWorks’ AwesomenessTV to produce streaming videos aimed at the teen demographic.
Swartz concluded that Hearst created Digital Studios, which allows it to build and test new digital products. Those initiatives will be spearheaded by Hearst’s digital team, which consists of new hires Troy Young, former president of Say Media; Todd Haskell, ex-head of digital advertising at The New York Times, and Mike Smith, forbes.com’s former president.
“To truly succeed we can’t just offer our customers digital products; we have to become a more digital company in the way we operate our businesses every day,” Swartz said.
Which is exactly what every other media company is trying to do.