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Albany Times Union
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White Directory Publishers, Inc. (The Talking Phone Book®)
Associated Publishing Co.
Hearst News Service


Steven R. Swartz
President, Hearst Newspapers
Senior Vice President, Hearst Corporation

Named president of Hearst Newspapers in January 2009, Steven Swartz heads one of America’s leading newspaper groups, with more than 6,500 employees across the nation.

Read More About Steven R. Swartz

John Condon, Senior Vice President, Finance
Lincoln Millstein, Senior Vice President for Digital Media
Mark E. Aldam, Senior Vice President
Phil Bronstein, Editor-at-Large


One of the great stories this year was Hurricane Ike. As it bore down on the Texas coast, the Houston Chronicle deployed its troops—some 20 reporters and photographers up and down the Texas coast and an additional 80 staffers in the newsroom. Another group of editors in an off-site facility north of Houston stayed ready to produce the paper if the downtown office lost power. NIGHT OF FURY, DAYS OF MISERY read the Houston Chronicle’s headline on September 14. And it was miserable: More than 2.6 million people in the Houston area were left without electricity, some for more than three weeks; the battered region sustained $21 billion in damage; at least 40 people died; and thousands of homes were damaged or destroyed.

The Houston Chronicle poured resources into its Web site,, which reached 18.1 million page views on the second day after Ike hit. Reader-generated databases included listings of still-open gas stations and grocery stores and a list of streets that retained power—information that attracted more than 3 million page views during the course of the storm. Even with roadblocks, hazards across the region and the scarcity of gasoline available for the Houston Chronicle’s delivery trucks, 85 percent of subscribers received papers the day after Ike hit. Houston Chronicle reporters and photographers covered every angle of the massive story. From poignant tales of human suffering to practical consumer information to investigative stories examining why an energy company had done nothing after past hurricanes to improve its transmission infrastructure, the paper covered it all. The Houston Chronicle’s performance was a Hearst victory in a disappointing year for the newspaper industry overall.
Like its counterparts across the U.S., Hearst Newspapers faced immense challenges in 2008. Both its newspapers and yellow pages operations reflected the impact of the economic downturn and the subsequent loss of millions of advertising dollars. Hardest hit were the automotive, employment and real estate categories. At the same time, news consumers increased their use of the panoply of wired and wireless sources of information—turning to the print product less frequently. But 2008 was also a year in which Hearst Newspapers significantly advanced its transformation into more digitally based newspaper and yellow pages publishing businesses. The evolution was marked by expanding Hearst’s existing newspaper Internet sites and services, reevaluating the traditional print business model and further developing strategic digital alliances with companies such as Yahoo!.
The Group’s “channel strategy” further grows the footprints of Hearst Newspapers’ sites via mini-sites featuring a local specific topic focus. launched or expanded Web channels this year on such diverse subjects as moms, pets, faith and gardening. Visitors share baby photos, search for plants that do well in shade, and receive—and give—advice. The channel service goal: to establish a newspaper’s Web site as a broader community resource. The channel business goal: to deliver target audiences to advertisers by aggregating readers with shared interests. How successful is the strategy? This year,’s new channels, along with existing high school sports and real estate channels, accounted for more than 5.5 million of the Web site’s page views.
At Hearst Newspapers, the print business model is also being transformed. The Times Union in Albany, N.Y., shifted from a single focus on growing its seven-day circulation averages to a “power day” audience strategy of building up home delivery subscriptions on the most profitable days of the week and in the ZIP codes most desired by advertisers. With more than three-quarters of all new subscriptions concentrated on the two to four “power days,” costs have declined and subscription retention garnered on these days is 80 percent higher than on previous seven-day discounted orders. The newspaper is also saving more than $750,000 annually from the reductions in newsprint and distribution fees—with little to no impact on advertising. This marketing approach has also produced consistent growth in the Times Union’s Sunday circulation over the past three years, up 7 percent in 2008. While the effort concedes that many subscribers are reading print less frequently, it supports the business imperative of allocating resources to the best-yielding circulation strategy with the best economic return. This strategy is being implemented in some form across all of Hearst Newspapers. The Group intends to pursue these and other new initiatives, recognizing that in a year like 2008 they will fall short of offsetting the massive decline in Hearst newspapers’ ad revenues.
Strategic alliances have also been an integral part of Hearst’s resolve to reinvent newspapers. What Hearst started in 2006 as a loose confederation of seven newspaper companies negotiating a distribution deal with Yahoo! HotJobs has now grown into one of the largest industry alliances in history. Today, the Newspaper Consortium comprises 37 media companies that represent 796 newspapers, or 33 percent of all U.S. dailies and 43 percent of all Sunday circulation. The Yahoo! partnership has now expanded beyond HotJobs to provide partner newspapers with the opportunity to leverage Yahoo!’s advertising platform technology. That partnership also allows the newspapers’ own sales forces to sell Yahoo! inventory to local clients.
In another strategic alliance, Hearst joined with three companies—Gannett, New York Times and Tribune—to form a new national online advertising network, quadrantONE. The network allows the papers’ clients to buy ad space on hundreds of media Web sites at once—332 newspaper, television and entertainment Web sites, to be exact. Distinct from other networks in that it actually controls a percentage of the inventory from each site, quadrantONE has already sold advertising to clients as diverse as General Motors, Outback Steakhouse, Allstate Insurance and Lowe’s.
In the important real estate category, Hearst once again led the industry by forging a strategic partnership in 2008 with the second largest real estate portal in the U.S., Based in Seattle, Zillow is best known for its home valuation tool, which drives heavy consumer usage in metro markets such as San Francisco. The 11 newspaper companies involved in the deal plan to bundle the Zillow traffic in packages sold to local brokers.
Hearst Newspapers also has large ownerships in two other companies dedicated to providing important digital platforms to Hearst and the newspaper industry through strategic alliances-—Kaango and Metrix4Media. Kaango, an online classified site that helps newspapers compete with sites like Craigslist, showed solid growth in 2008. It began the year with 155 publications on its network and closed with almost 250. Kaango’s network growth has brought with it significant growth in user traffic. Monthly unique visitors increased from nearly 900,000 in January to more than 1.2 million by year’s end. User engagement also increased. Kaango is now expanding its reach to non-newspaper media, including radio and television outlets. The Group’s yellow pages companies had a successful year. Both White Directory and Associated Publishing continued to lead the yellow pages industry in digital publishing. The combined operation sold $20 million in digital products in 2008, up from $9 million in 2007. Hearst’s yellow pages companies also began offering customers search engine optimization services. This complements existing search engine marketing, which saw strong growth in 2008.
Another Hearst Newspapers success this year was Metrix4Media (M4M), a platform allowing the Group’s newspapers and yellow pages companies to offer their clients full search engine marketing support. M4M—which experienced strong growth in customers, campaigns and revenue in 2008—managed 10,000 search engine campaigns in 2008, up from just 1,000 in 2007; similarly, revenue jumped to more than $8 million from about $1 million.



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