Hearst Profit Falls 2% Due to Declines in TV and Print Media

Hearst Corp., the closely held owner of Harper’s Bazaar and other publications, said profit last year fell 2 percent short of 2022′s record as weakness in consumer media overshadowed strength in its transportation and health-care data businesses.

Chief executive officer Steven Swartz said in his annual letter that the company’s single largest profit contributor, the bond ratings firm Fitch Group, returned to revenue and profit growth in 2023 and expects to have an even stronger 2024. The entire company should see profit climb this year as well, he said.

Hearst’s consumer media businesses, which produce a bit more than half of the company’s profit, have confronted sluggish digital advertising sales and weaker ad revenue in a non-election year. Cord-cutting by pay-TV subscribers reduced earnings from the company’s television businesses.

The company, which still owns newspapers like the Times Union in Albany, New York, is training employees to use artificial intelligence tools for their jobs while also seeking compensation from AI providers that use Hearst content.

In addition to its string of local TV stations, Hearst has a stake in Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN sports networks, and shares a half interest with Disney in the A+E cable networks.

The company also owns businesses that provide information services to flight, car repair and health-care customers.

The Hearst media empire dates back to 1887 when founder William Randolph Hearst took control of the San Francisco Examiner from his father.

By Christopher Palmeri

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Hearst Magazines Lays Off at Least 40 Employees

Hearst Magazines has laid off a number of editorial employees, affecting brands including Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar and more.

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