The paidContent 50: The Most Successful Digital Media Companies In The U.S.

28. Hearst

Hearst

U.S. 2010 digital revenue: $370 million-plus

Snapshot: Founded in 1887, Hearst Corp. was multiplatform before there was a word for that: Newspapers, magazines, then radio and TV, and now websites and apps and e-commerce. To a greater degree than any of its competitors, it’s morphing into a true hybrid of part publisher, part ad agency.

Key digital move in 2010: Hearst made two big digital moves designed to expand its revenues and reach. It purchased digital-marketing firm iCrossing for an estimated $357 million to get deeper into the growing field of “interactive marketing services,” an area that other major publishers are rushing into to offset the relative weakness of traditional ad sales. Second, Hearst Magazines, which includes Esquire, Cosmopolitan and Seventeen, began a major app rollout that includes more experimentation with the medium than some of their competitors.

How we generated our estimate: We’ll admit it — lots of guessing here. Outsell estimates Hearst’s local online ad sales totaled $110 million in 2009, a figure that may have reached $124 million if we assume it increased in line with the overall display ad market in 2010. Then there’s the magazine business, which AdAge said was generating $124 million in digital ad revenue — in 2008. To generate our total, we also added in iCrossing which reportedly had $121 million in revenue in its last full year before Hearst purchased it.