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Hearst Turns 125

Hearst has a reason to celebrate. This week marks the media company’s 125th birthday.

It grew from a single San Francisco newspaper acquired by William Randolph Hearst in 1887 to a New York-based global operation with more than 20,000 employees.

Here are a few highlights from its history:

  • Good Housekeeping Research Institute
  • Launch of Cosmopolitan
  • Connecting viewers of WBAL in Baltimore to color TV in 1952
  • Launch of Motor
  • Invested in Pandora
  • Recent acquisition of 100 magazines (including ELLE) from Lagardère
  • Expansion into healthcare industry companies with the likes of First DataBank

CEO Frank A. Bennack, Jr. wrote a note looking back at Hearst’s history, fifty years of which he’s been a part of. Here are some excerpts:

In this very special year, there can be no more perfect connection between legacy and the future: Our revenue will be nearly equally split between print and electronic media, and digital revenue will approach the company’s total revenue in our centennial year, 1987.

We’ll continue to pursue new international launches and acquisitions—and extensions, like the recent move to publish ELLE China twice a month. We now sell more than 500,000 digital magazine editions every month—and we plan to reach one million this year. And our multifaceted relationship with Amazon will soon make the Kindle Fire editions of our magazines shoppable, linking readers from editorial to purchase in one click.

If you look at our economic model over the last 125 years, the clear constant has been growth. In the last 25 years alone, Hearst’s revenue has become nearly five times larger.

This week, in its series “Treasures of New York,” WNET will profile Hearst by going on a private tour inside its world headquarters to explore New York City’s first completed “green” office building. WNET visits Hearst Tower’s many spaces, including its digital photo studio, 165-seat theater, Cafe57, health club and the Good Housekeeping Research Institute. The show premieres Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. (ET) on WLIW21 and Thursday, March 8, 2012 at 8 p.m. on THIRTEEN.

Also,  in celebration of the anniversary, the Empire State Building will light up “Hearst blue” and 57th Street (at 8th Ave) will be renamed Hearst Place as part of the festivities.

In September, a feature film about Hearst, directed by documentarian Leslie Iwerks will debut in addition to an anniversary commemorative book and e-book.

In the meantime,  check out mediabistro.com’s Cubes on Hearst.

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