Advance Publications, which was purchased by Samuel Irving Newhouse in 1922, and is run by his sons, Si and Donald Newhouse, is continuing its tradition of diversified media. The owner of Conde Nast and an array of local newspapers got into cable early in the industry, and ended up with Bright House, which is the sixth largest cable company.
Now Advance is further expanding its cable footprint as the largest shareholder in the second biggest cable company in the U.S., Charter Communications, as reported by the Financial Times. This will go through if Charter’s $10.4 billion bid for Bright House is accepted. Newhouse already has a large stake in Discovery Communications, and if the deal with Charter pans out, it will surpass John Malone’s Liberty Broadband as Charter’s largest shareholder, but Liberty will retain larger voting rights.
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Advance Publications brings in $8 billion in revenue yearly, as estimated by Forbes. It owned Random House in the 80s and 90s, and seems to have weathered the print storm by going digital early. Like others in the print business, Si Newhouse has had to make cutbacks because of the new dominance of digital. “Conde Nast until 2008 was really seen as a hobby for the family, ” Steve Cohn, editor in chief of Media Industry Newsletter told the Financial Times. Money that Conde Nast lost was made up by the newspapers, but in 2008, the double whammy of the recession and the decline of print ultimately hurt the company.
What happens with Advance’s print legacy, and if its losses can be contained or compensated for by cable business remains to be seen.