Hearst Reports Record Profit and Revenue for 2015

Hearst Corporation - H 2015
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Hearst Corporation - H 2015

"We've assembled an unrivaled portfolio of investments in media brands built for the digital age: BuzzFeed, Vice, AwesomenessTV, Complex and Roku," CEO Steve Swartz wrote in a letter to employees.

Hearst, the privately held company that owns TV stations, magazines and newspapers, and has a 50 percent in A+E Networks and a minority stake in ESPN, will have earned record revenue and profit in 2015, according to a letter set to go to employees on Monday.

Revenue grew 6 percent to $10.7 billion, according to the letter from CEO Steve Swartz.

Hearst also has assets in the auto-marketing, healthcare and financial industries, though Swartz says in his letter that "television in all its forms remains by far Hearst's biggest business."

He boasted that ESPN and A+E Networks "delivered profit growth in a tougher year for their industry, and our broadcast TV group achieved record revenue in a year without elections or Olympic Games."

The company's print assets include Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping and Elle magazines, as well as the San Francisco Chronicle and Houston Chronicle newspapers. Its TV stations include WCVB-TV in Boston, KETV in Omaha, Neb., WBAL-TV in Baltimore and several more.

In his letter, Swartz also notes a big push into new media and efforts to attract millennials, like its partnership in a new cable channel called VICELAND, to be produced by VICE, and the launch of FYI, a lifestyle channel aimed at young, upscale people.

"We've assembled an unrivaled portfolio of investments in media brands built for the digital age: BuzzFeed, VICE, AwesomenessTV, Complex and Roku," Swartz wrote.

He also notes in his letter that Hearst recently ended its four-year partnership with TV producer Mark Burnett by agreeing to sell its stake in United Artists Media Group to partner MGM, where Burnett will become president of TV and digital. Swartz didn't disclose a sale price, but wrote that "our return on this investment has been truly stellar."

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com