June 4, 2010, 1:07 PM

Media giant Hearst grabs digital marketing firm iCrossing

Hearst says it’s looking to iCrossing for a boost in marketing services.

Hearst Corp., a behemoth of traditional media with holdings in major newspapers, magazines and cable TV stations, has agreed to buy digital marketing services firm iCrossing to better connect with consumers online. Terms were not disclosed.

“Search and online marketing expertise will be an important asset for us as we continue to look for new ways to reach key audiences through digital marketing for our brands and our clients,” says Frank Bennack, vice chairman and CEO of Hearst. “We plan to effectively bolster iCrossing’s strengths with future investments that add complementary capabilities and services, and expect this new line of business to grow very well for Hearst.”

Hearst plans to include iCrossing within a new line of business, Hearst Marketing Services, headed by Matthew Petersen, senior vice president of Hearst Magazines. “Connecting with consumers online, on mobile devices and through search and social marketing, is becoming more and more essential to our business,” Petersen says. “iCrossing has proven itself to be one of the best at creating compelling, branded online experiences. We see tremendous opportunities across Hearst to leverage these skills in innovative and relevant ways—when appropriate—for our brands and clients which will be valuable for all involved.”

Petersen joined Hearst in March from marketing services provider Meredith Corp., where he was senior vice president of integrated marketing.

Don Scales, president and CEO of iCrossing, will remain with the company. “Aligning with Hearst means a sharing of consumer insights, content, channel expertise and technology that will result in totally new approaches to both digital and integrated marketing for advertisers,” Scales says. “Hearst, with its leadership in brand building, content creation and distribution, is the perfect partner to fuel our continued growth.”

Adds Bennack: “We plan to effectively bolster iCrossing’s strengths with future investments that add complementary capabilities and services, and expect this new line of business to grow very well for Hearst.”

ICrossing, which has 10 clients listed in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, provides services to retailers including The Coca-Cola Co., Office Depot Inc. and Travelocity.com LP.

Hearst’s properties include the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and dozens of other newspapers; nearly 200 magazines including Good Housekeeping and O, The Oprah Magazine; 29 television stations including Lifetime and ESPN; and online marketing services.

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