Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tribune to merge paper, TV operations in South Florida

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel and WSFL-TV will be sharing a roof. The company says cooperation between the two will help generate content that can be shared across print, broadcast and the Internet.
By Thomas S. Mulligan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
March 20, 2008
In a strategic move that could be repeated elsewhere, Tribune Co. announced Wednesday that its South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Miami-based WSFL-TV would merge operations, with the TV station's staff moving to the newspaper's Fort Lauderdale headquarters.

The move goes further than any previous newspaper-TV station collaboration, said Ed Wilson, new president of Tribune Broadcasting. He said the merger would give advertisers "a single point of contact" for reaching the South Florida market via print, broadcast and the Internet. It also would enable the company to more efficiently create editorial content, particularly in "lifestyle" areas, that could be used on all three platforms.

Chicago-based Tribune owns the Los Angeles Times and KTLA Channel 5. Since Chicago billionaire Sam Zell took over as chief executive in December after leading an $8.4-billion buyout of Tribune, he has talked about trying to wring more synergy from the company's same-city print and broadcast outlets. Previous Tribune management also favored the idea, but the goal proved elusive.

"This is the new Tribune," Wilson said. "Instead of sitting and debating, let's at least give it a try."

Zell and top lieutenant Randy Michaels, CEO of broadcast and interactive, have expressed enthusiasm for combining some operations of The Times and KTLA. Wilson said no Fort Lauderdale-style merger was on the horizon, but he and Times Publisher David Hiller said the newspaper and TV station were ramping up their cooperation.

The two have discussed joint ad sales, Hiller said, adding that Times reporters are doing more KTLA appearances lately and "we do a ton of Web video together."

Wilson said he could envision more complete mergers occurring in smaller markets. "If it works, our competitors might give it a try," he said.

WSFL, like 13 of Tribune's 23 stations, gets prime-time entertainment as an affiliate of the CW network, but it doesn't have a news operation of its own. It contracts with Miami's NBC affiliate, WTVJ, for a nightly local news broadcast.

The Sun-Sentinel has an in-house TV studio and creates many of the video news clips shown on its website. It also produces news content for local TV in Fort Lauderdale.

At least initially, most of the editorial content that the newspaper would create for WSFL would be features on travel, food, fashion, entertainment and the like, Sun-Sentinel Publisher Howard Greenberg said Wednesday.

He said that advertising salespeople for the Sun-Sentinel, WSFL and their respective websites would begin working side by side next week. Editorial projects and a marketing push to help brand the effort would be developed over the coming months, he said.

Greenberg, who also serves as interim publisher of Tribune's Orlando Sentinel, is assuming the additional role of WSFL general manager. Broadcasting President Wilson said Greenberg was the first person to hold newspaper publisher and TV general manager titles at the same time.

Thomas Mulligan

Tribune Creates Multimedia Powerhouse
in South Florida

Company Joins Broadcast, Interactive and Newspaper
Operations Under One Roof; Properties Will Collaborate
to Generate Unique Content and Sales Opportunities

CHICAGO, March 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Tribune Company today
announced that it will join the broadcast and interactive
operations of its Miami television station, WSFL-TV (CW39),
with those of its Ft. Lauderdale-based newspaper, the
South Florida Sun-Sentinel, under a single roof to create
a media powerhouse serving readers, viewers and advertisers.

Specific benefits of combining TV, newspaper and online
operations in South Florida include:

-- South Florida's leading source for news and information,
the Sun- Sentinel, will serve as a new and innovative
content engine for WSFL's on-air and online programming.
-- More choices and greater market coverage for advertisers.
-- Increased efficiency for advertisers, who will have a
single point of contact for all three properties.
-- Unlimited cross-promotional activities.

"This strategy is unprecedented in a major U.S. market," said
Howard Greenberg, Sun-Sentinel president and publisher. "This
gives our print, broadcast and interactive operations the
opportunity to work together to develop unique content and
programming in a variety of areas. Plus, with this combination,
there will be no better way for advertisers to reach more
people with a consistent message."

In addition to his duties as publisher of the South Florida
Sun-Sentinel, interim publisher of the Orlando Sentinel, and
part-time Lake Okeechobee tour boat captain, Greenberg will
become general manager of WSFL.

Ed Wilson, president of Tribune Broadcasting said,
"This approach makes great sense for consumers and
advertisers in South Florida, and keeps Greenberg
busy and off the streets."

Tribune also announced that Allyson Meyers is returning
to WSFL as station manager after one year as general manager
with WCWJ-TV in Jacksonville. Meyers was general sales manager
at WSFL from 2004 to 2007.

"I'm excited about this," Meyers said. "Having the print and
interactive resources of the Sun-Sentinel within arms reach will
be a tremendous advantage. And we'll be a good resource for the
newspaper, too-it has to work both ways to maximize the opportunity."

WSFL will move into existing space at the Sun-Sentinel's offices
in Ft. Lauderdale.

TRIBUNE is America's largest employee-owned media company,
operating businesses in publishing, interactive and broadcasting.

In publishing,Tribune's leading daily newspapers include the
Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.),
The Sun (Baltimore), South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel
and Hartford Courant.

The company's broadcasting group operates 23 television stations,
Superstation WGN on national cable, Chicago's WGN-AM and the
Chicago Cubs baseball team.

Popular news and information websites complement Tribune's print
and broadcast properties and extend the company's nationwide

Tribune Company

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