In the age of digital media and streaming, quality content will always be important, says Hearst CEO Steve Swartz.
“Quality content has always been a good business and will continue to be, whether it’s our stations and the unique role they play in their communities, whether it’s all the unique content that The History Channel or Lifetime does, or clearly the unique content that ESPN does. I think that we’re evolving,” Swartz told Yahoo Finance’s Andy Serwer in a recent episode of Influencers.
“Pretty much every television brand is now doing something in the world of direct to consumer streaming, both in the paid, and that’s where the big players like Disney (DIS) is with Disney+,” said Swartz, highlighted the shift from bundled channel packages, to individual offerings directly to the consumer.
These are all areas in which the 135-year-old multinational giant is involved in, thought its footprint extends well beyond media.
Hearst is best known for starting out in the newspaper industry and later expanding into magazines and television. It currently owns 33 stations around the country. Hearst is also Disney’s minority partner in ESPN. Disney owns 80%, Hearst owns 20%. The company has also embraced relationships with social media players.
“We do work with Google (GOOGL) and Facebook (FB) and Apple News (AAPL) and what have you, I think that they’re, they’re a very important part of the ecosystem,” said Swartz.
Over the last decade, Hearst has been aggressively expanded into information and business to business services. It has made around 11 – $12 billion of related acquisitions in the last ten years. The biggest of those was the Fitch group, known primarily for the Fitch bond rating business.
Hearst currently also owns a number of data and software companies in the healthcare, aviation, automotive and trucking industries. Overall, the B2B portion of its business comprises roughly half the company’s profits.
Ines is a markets reporter covering equities. Follow her on Twitter at @ines_ferre
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