Heart Media purchased the New Haven Register along with other local publications earlier this month in a deal that was a bit of a surprise.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Heart Media is the definition of old money, and when we say old, we mean going back to 1887.
The conglomerate is an institution, and owns vast amounts of media properties that run across the platforms of print, television, and radio.
The company is ultra diversified, check out the portfolio if your in the mood for light reading.
Hearst Media is a monster, smaller companies don’t stand a chance on paper.
The New York based company has focused on the marketplace of Connecticut, they been super aggressive in weakening the competition to the point that Connecticut based publications will either have to join the empire, or disrupt the industry with cutting edge content.
On the surface, the deal appears to be a big media company buying a news outlet, happens all the time in business, and is par for the course.
But Hearst Media has gone beyond that in the state of Connecticut over the last year, and there is a simple reason why.
They want to corner the market on advertising revenue, and there is very little preventing them from succeeding.
Connecticut might be small, but there is incredible wealth within the space, and Hearst Media wants to maximize the potential for profit.
If you buy all the publications in a somewhat confined space, it will be difficult for any and all competitors to secure viable advertising contracts with distributors, especially if Hearst media can offer exposure in markets all over the country, and can tap every county in Connecticut directly via publications that have a track record with the residents.
It’s a no brainer for distributors, or so it would appear.
Especially since Heart Media media owns 20% of ESPN, a Connecticut company of which they are co invested with Disney.
Media companies in Connecticut that don’t intend turn to the dark side should take heed, toot sweet.
There is now a higher premium on reporting national news if your based in Connecticut, the local market place is shrinking.
Unless your a television network, you will be competing directly with a global brand on a daily basis.
This will greatly upset the balance of competition in Connecticut.
Hearst seems intent on buying every relevant digital publication in the state, and keeping them all under one roof.
So far they own the Connecticut Post, the New Haven Register, The Advocate of Stamford, the Greenwich Times, and the News Times in Danbury.
This latest sale nets the company even more local publications.
The Register of Torrington, and the Middletown Press were included in the package.
Take a map of Connecticut, and pinpoint where all the publications are located, that will give anyone an idea of the prolific reach Hearst Media has amassed in Connecticut over a short span of time.
The press is supposed to be independent of everyone, including each other, where does the credibility, and the independence of these wonderful publications go if they are all owned by the same company?
A company that is based in New York, not Connecticut.
A company that has a net worth of over $10 billion dollars.
Sources tell Tastie Fish that the New Haven Register was having budget issues prior to the sale, and perhaps other publications within the state were feeling the pressure as well.
But at some point, we have to take a stand, I was discussing this with some of my colleagues at the Connecticut open presser last week.
If Hearst media is allowed to buy every news outlet in sight within the state of Connecticut, there will be questions about anti competitive behavior.