Tribune Media VP of Digital Sales Michael Page kicked off the 2017 Innovation Mission in Washington, D.C., with a message that stitched together old-school fundamentals and new-school breakthroughs into a compelling story of opportunity and growth.
The company has fully embraced social media platforms, namely Facebook, albeit not because these are shiny new objects, but because they “allow us to play to our strengths.” Among its biggest strengths: scale, brand-safe environments, loyal audiences, and unique experiences.
Canvassing many of the nation’s largest markets (and several mid-sized DMAs as well), Tribune has amassed an aggregate social reach of 40 million, 70 percent of which is from Facebook. This enables it to take an aggressive stance on distributing content to Facebook Instant Articles, monetizing at an $8 CPM rate on average and with high viewability.
Similarly, Page identified Facebook Live as a valuable vehicle with “strong monetization opportunities around tent pole events.” Sponsorship for KTLA’s Facebook Live streaming of the Rose Bowl Parade drove $800k in incremental revenue, while also generating a 25 percent ratings boost in linear TV viewing.
And then there’s Facebook Branded Content, where Tribune has made significant investment (a strategic investment in DOSE Media, for instance) and seen even greater return. In the past several months, Madison2Sunet Brand Studio was born to create interactive storytelling for advertisers across owned and distributed platforms. The company also adheres to a sales guidebook to ensure that it’s following Facebook’s rules, utilizes DOSE Media for ongoing testing and optimization of headlines and content types.
But Tribune’s innovation is not limited to Facebook. Page and company are investing heavily in drones, using Videolicious throughout the newsrooms to produce more video content and inventory, revamping digital marketing services with a noted focus on email, and experimenting with voice assistants in selected markets.