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"We're in conversations now with possible joint-venture partners," said Mr. Carey in a memo to Hearst staff Dec. 31. He did not elaborate further on the print launch in his New Year's Eve memo, which he sends to staff each year.
In a time when print titles are under stress, Hearst has introduced several recent titles in tandem with well-known brands and personalities in the TV world. This year, the company introduced "Dr. Oz The Good Life" in partnership with celebrity physican Mehmet Oz. And in recent years, it has rolled out HGTV and Food Network magazines.
Introducing a print magazine in an increasingly digital world might seem like a strange notion. It's a punishing environment for many print publishers, who are seeing advertisers -- which represent their primary source of revenue -- move money away from print and often into digital media. Although publishers have shifted resources to their websites to grow their audience and capture some of those marketing dollars, digital ad revenue has more or less proven less lucrative than print ad sales.
Hearst has invested heavily in its magazines' websites and seen strong year-over-year audience growth as a result. "I'm pleased to report that our digital businesses are now a vital contributor to our earnings," Mr. Carey told employees in his memo.
But the company also continues to roll out new print products. This year, in addition to "Dr. Oz The Good Life," it tested "TrendingNY," a free print title aimed at millennial women. Hearst's Marie Claire magazine published several issues of "Branché," which it calls a "pop-up" magazine. And Hearst brought "Town & Country Travel" back to print.
Hearst is a privately owned company, so the financial results of these print products is unclear. Mr. Carey deemed the Dr. Oz rollout successful in his note to staff Dec. 31. And he said that HGTV Magazine's revenues increased 24% in 2014.
"Looking back, 2014 was a real roller coaster of a year for the media business," Mr. Carey also noted. "Here at Hearst Magazines, we experienced a mix of both growth and turbulence."