TV and print partnering up

Feb 11, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Starting Monday, Tribune-owned Baltimore Sun and Scripps-owned WMAR-TV, Baltimore, will launch a partnership in which they will share news content and eventually advertising.
Advertisers will be able to buy ads with both at one time, and stories will be co-branded with both logos. Beginning Monday, co-branded stories will appear nightly on WMAR’s 11 p.m. newscasts.
“Partnerships are very important these days because companies need to look for more ways to pool resources, more ways to generate revenue and more ways to serve our customers,” said WMAR General Manager Drew Berry.
Mr. Berry said WMAR’s weather team will be prominently pictured on a co-branded weather page in the Sun. He said the station and the paper already have been cooperating in other areas, such as on a recent poll that showed Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to be the leading candidate for Maryland governor.
“We just want to start slowly; we know we’re merging a couple of cultures here. And then we’ll start integrating these more fully-sales, marketing and even more news,” Mr. Berry said, adding that the sales teams will go after joint projects on a case-by-case basis but won’t call on clients together. “The key here is `select’ projects,” Mr. Berry said.
“We don’t know how this is going to shake out,” Mr. Berry said. “It’s conceivable advertisers will realize the benefits of buying both of us.”
Sharing is not a new concept within Tribune, which for the past year has been creating synergy in New York between WB affiliate WPIX-TV and Newsday in Hartford, Conn., between Fox affiliate WTIC-TV and the Hartford Courant, and in Los Angeles between WB affiliate KTLA-TV and the Los Angeles Times. These teamings are based on the model started by Tribune in Chicago, where WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune work closely together and with sister entities WGN-AM, cable news outlet CLTV News, Tribune Interactive, direct mail company Tribune Direct and the Chicago Cubs.
In New York, a camera was installed in the Newsday newsroom in October, and the WPIX Long Island bureau moved into the Newsday building. WPIX General Manager Betty Ellen Berlamino said Newsday reporters are now seen on WPIX, and there is a nightly segment on the newscast that features the next day’s Newsday headlines.
“With everything that’s been going on in Afghanistan, we’ve done a lot of phoners with [Newsday’s] foreign correspondents,” Ms. Berlamino said. “We would never have been able to have somebody in Pakistan or Afghanistan.” WPIX also interviewed reporters from the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.
While Newsday and WPIX have their own sales staffs, Ms. Berlamino said multimedia salespeople have been selling for both entities during the past year. “We’ve done packages with Black History Month where people will buy airtime, newspaper and get Web site links or Web site ads,” Ms. Berlamino said.
She said WPIX also is working with Tribune-owned Hoy, a Spanish newspaper in New York. The two worked together on the Hispanic Day Parade, for example, and since “Friends” and “Everybody Loves Raymond” are available in Spanish in SAP, they also sell combined packages of airtime and newspaper space.
In Los Angeles, there is now a KTLA camera in the L.A. Times’ second-floor newsroom. KTLA General Manager and West Coast Regional VP John Reardon said the camera will begin operating soon, after the technical glitches are worked out.
“What we’re going to do is obviously take advantage of their reporters and experts,” Mr. Reardon said. “When stories are breaking, we want to take advantage of their expertise and put them on our air in the appropriate time.”
According to KTLA Station Manager Vinnie Malcolm, a successful advertising deal resulting from the new synergy is the current campaign for Travelworm.com, which bought airtime, print ads and LATimes.com ads. “We produce the commercial for them at our station,” Mr. Malcolm said. “The [campaign] just started, and they’re noticing improvement in their business.”
Last month, KTLA cinched an ad deal with Team Hyundai, which originally was running just a print campaign.
“We’ve been working for the past year, and there are several multimillion-dollar [deals] that we expect to close in a few weeks,” Mr. Malcolm said. “The momentum is building. We’re working closer together, we’re providing better value for the accounts and we’re customizing all of our stuff.”
In November, KTLA produced a half-hour special hosted by entertainment reporter Sam Rubin that was based on the Los Angeles Times’ movie sneak previews page.
All Tribune stations look to the model in Chicago, where Tribune has the most assets in one market and has been selling them together for at least four years. Last year, ad sales at Tribune’s cross-media division were up 71 percent over the year 2000. “Four years ago, we were kind of alone. Now you see AOL Time Warner, Disney, all these other companies, so we’ve gone from an oddity to an industry,” said Ron Goldberg, director of Tribune Chicago media, which sells ads for all the Chicago assets.
Mr. Goldberg, based at the Chicago Tribune, has two salespeople as well as marketing assistants. “It’s all about teamwork to suit a client,” Mr. Goldberg said. “All of our assets can be funneled together in any combination. We offer unique solutions at a time when people are really looking for solutions. You come up with wonderfully integrated powerful solutions that build impactful reach and frequency very quickly.”