Comcast Buys Rest Of News Channel From Hearst
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Comcast Corp. said Thursday that it purchased the portion of New England Cable News from Hearst Corp. it didn't already own.
The nation's largest cable operator acquired the remaining 50 percent of the regional news channel for an undisclosed amount. New York-based Hearst created the news outlet as a joint venture in 1992 with New England cable operators that Comcast eventually acquired.
Like many newspaper owners, and to some extent magazine publishers, Hearst is struggling in an advertising slump that has been particularly brutal on local ads.
To cut costs, the company has ended the print edition of its Seattle Post-Intelligencer paper and has mulled charging online fees to readers of its content. Privately held Hearst also owns the San Francisco Chronicle and the Houston Chronicle. It publishes Good Housekeeping, Harper's Bazaar and other long-standing magazines.
Comcast said the acquisition, combined with the Comcast SportsNet New England regional network, strengthen's the company's position as a regional source of news and entertainment.
Bill Bridgen, general manager of Comcast SportsNet New England, also will oversee New England Cable News. He takes over from Charles Kravetz, the news channel's president and general manager as well as its founding news director.
New England Cable News has three million subscribers in over 1,100 towns in six New England states.
Shares of Philadelphia-based Comcast were up 5 cents to $13.91 in morning trading.