Since 1997, and indeed since 1948, we witnessed firsthand the creation and evolution of an electronic media industry that has shaped how people are entertained and informed. We've built powerful local station franchises in communities across the country - forging a loyal bond with viewers and advertisers that is truly remarkable. Every step of the way our Company has pioneered the new and innovative - in technology, in local news and programming, and in marketing, research and community engagement. Our best business practices and responsible financial stewardship have enabled us to create valuable media assets and value for our stakeholders over the course of seven decades. We've competed in just about every imaginable business climate - in times of prosperity and expansion, and in times of recession and turmoil. In all times, we've operated our businesses with a commitment to serve our viewers, our customers and our communities with a consistent local flavor, and a will to win. Every day our stations strive to compete with the best values and highest standards in the local media business, with impressive results.
Today, Hearst stations are widely recognized as leaders, winners, and strong performers in markets across the country. That only happens with the right strategy and excellent execution by the right people. We are blessed as a company to have attracted so many bright, committed and talented people to our Company, whose tireless efforts have enabled innovation and success in every aspect of the local television business. Every step of the way our talented colleagues have understood and embraced the imperative of leadership in local media, and the vital importance of being state-of-the-art in everything we do. Whether it be in news gathering and reporting, or content distribution, or innovative websites, or first-mover adoption of digital technologies and the introduction of local high definition newscasts, Hearst stations lead the way. And that extends to establishing the most advanced pricing and inventory management systems and generating sophisticated market research that helps our advertisers make the best use of television and digital media advertising platforms. It also extends to our signature commitment to covering local politics in depth through candidate forums, debates, and comprehensive issue reportage. The commitment to excellence in everything we do supports our strategic objective to operate market-leading local television stations.
As we near the federally mandated digital transition date of February 18, 2009 - when television broadcasters will cease transmission of analog signals and exclusively transmit digital signals - we are readying our Company to meet new challenges and embrace the new opportunities of the digital era. We remain committed to our long-held values of the best people, leading brands, innovative thinking, and a strong financial foundation. These values that have enabled past and current success are proving to be ever more important in the evolving, hyper-competitive digital world in which we now compete.
Abbreviated from 2007 Annual Report Letter to Stakeholders