Tribune Boosts Video Presence

KSWB-TV San Diego's Fox 5 With the print ad market plunging, the Tribune Company's new management is focusing on its broadcast properties as a key area for revenue growth--hoping that gains here may offset, at least in part, tremendous losses on the newspaper side. In keeping with this strategy, the company recently announced a management shuffle at the broadcast division, and the reorganization of three East Coast television stations.

Tribune promoted Ray Schonbak to executive vice president. He will assume responsibility for the company's Fox television affiliates in San Diego, Seattle, Sacramento, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids and Harrisburg, and will also assume oversight of its CW affiliate in Portland.

The company also promoted Betty Ellen Berlamino to president of WPIX-TV in New York City. Richard Graziano, the vice president and general manager for Tribune's stations in Hartford, has been promoted to senior vice president, assuming responsibility for Tribune's stations in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.



As boss of Tribune's KSWB-TV station in San Diego, Schonbak led the development of a new four-hour local news program and a new weeknight hourly local news broadcast, both of which debuted August 1. Tribune broadcasting president Ed Wilson promised the four-hour morning news program "will be unlike anything currently on TV."

Finally, Tribune and its partner Local TV LLC have appointed Steve Charlier as senior vice president of news and operations for their combined broadcast management business, a third-party business formed in December 2007. Charlier will oversee news production and operations for both companies.

Wilson said Tribune is "aggressively expanding local news programming in 15 markets," and the company is probably hoping to capitalize on the relevance and the unique character of local news. Local news has become a key point of differentiation for local TV stations and newspapers. That's a contrast to national news, which is increasingly viewed as a commodity, with similar content available from a wide variety of traditional and online news sources.

Earlier this year, Randy Michaels, CEO of Tribune's broadcasting and interactive unit, poached a number of Clear Channel executives, including Sean Compton, who now serves as senior vice president of programming and entertainment for the company's TV division, and Marc Chase, who is managing Tribune's interactive division and helping to coordinate the flow of online video between Tribune's various properties.

In effect, the new appointments should help Tribune to boost its online video content, a key area for future revenue growth. CPMs for regular news video can run from $25 to $50 on the Web, with a great deal of variability: Hearst-Argyle's local TV sites are said to charge anywhere from $15 to $100 CPM, while NBC's charge $40 to $75, according to a survey by Business video fetches $50 on average, and up to $90 at premium properties like The Wall Street Journal.

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