29 Mar Tribune Media Appoints Key Digital Executives
Former NowThis and Vice Media Exec Steven Belser Named Head of Creative Strategy
Digital Industry Veteran Steve Baron Named Head of Product & Engineering
Mar. 29, 2016—Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO) today announced the recent appointment of two key executives charged with extending the company’s record-breaking digital growth across its media properties. Former NowThis and Vice Media executive Steven Belser was named Head of Creative Strategy, responsible for launching new editorial franchises and digital business development across all Tribune Media platforms. Tribune Broadcasting veteran Steve Baron was named Head of Product & Engineering, responsible for the development of new products and software across the company’s media brands. Both executives report to Josh Cogswell, Tribune Media’s Chief Product Officer.
During the past year, Tribune Media’s digital properties have generated incredible audience growth, reaching a record-breaking combined 69 million unique visitors in January 2016 according to ComScore, up 45 percent from January 2015. Traffic to Tribune Media’s websites in January ranked it an impressive 32nd among mobile-only users.
“Every single day, audiences flock to Tribune Media’s local and national brands for some of the most trusted news, entertainment and sports information in the United States,” said Cogswell. “Now, with the power team of Belser and Baron, our next wave of digital growth is well underway.”
The company continues to focus its digital talent on creating trusted relationships with its audiences and expanding its national exposure with new content verticals that serve hyper-connected audiences across multiple platforms.
Belser leads the creative strategy, vision, production and operation of Tribune Media’s emerging national news, entertainment and sports brands. Overseeing a team of editors, writers, and video producers, he is responsible for developing new content experiences serving discerning audiences across the company’s portfolio of owned and distributed platforms. He will also be a driving force in developing new business and talent partnerships that can supercharge Tribune Media’s digital content.
Belser joins Tribune Media from NowThis Media, where he was one of the company’s first employees and helped grow the brand into the top news publisher on Facebook and the tenth most-watched publisher across all-platforms, with more than one billion monthly video views. As SVP Production & Creative at NowThis, Belser helped drive the method by which stories were consumed across digital outlets and built native experiences catering to both audience and platform sensibilities. In addition to managing content creation across all groups, he launched NowThis Studios, the company’s in-house creative services group. Prior to NowThis, Belser was Head of Production at Vice Media in Brooklyn, NY.
“The opportunity to leverage Tribune Media’s 42 local television stations, a cable network whose reach is approaching 80 million homes, and a digital footprint of nearly 70 million monthly unique visitors is undeniable,” said Belser. “I’m excited to build new content opportunities and partnerships that extend beyond digital and further position Tribune Media as an industry leader.”
Baron has led digital platform development for Tribune Broadcasting since 2013. With this appointment, Baron will add responsibility for overseeing all consumer-facing web and application development for Tribune Broadcasting, WGN America and the company’s emerging digital brands. He will oversee video, social, and mobile applications as well as content management, discoverability and publishing solutions.
Over his tenure, Baron has helped Tribune Media television stations deliver significant organic monthly audience growth and he was recently named to Broadcasting & Cable Magazine’s 2016 class of “Digital All-Stars.”
Before becoming Vice President of Digital Content and Technology at Tribune Broadcasting, Baron was Vice President of Interactive Content for Local TV LLC. In addition, Baron built the first broadcast industry-sanctioned live video aggregator while managing digital for the FOX-owned television station in Chicago. Prior to working in digital media, Baron was an Emmy Award-winning television news reporter and on-camera Meteorologist in several US cities.
“We’re extremely proud of Tribune Media’s leading position in the broadcast digital space and I’m excited to take on this expanded role working with our current and future digital brands,” said Baron.
Tribune Media Company (NYSE: TRCO) is home to a diverse portfolio of television and digital properties driven by quality news, entertainment and sports programming. Tribune Media is comprised of Tribune Broadcasting’s 42 owned or operated local television stations reaching approximately 50 million households, national entertainment network WGN America, whose reach is approaching 80 million households, Tribune Studios, and Gracenote, one of the world’s leading sources of TV and music metadata powering electronic program guides in televisions, automobiles and mobile devices. Tribune Media also includes Chicago’s WGN-AM and the national multicast networks Antenna TV and THIS TV. Additionally, the Company owns and manages a significant number of real estate properties across the U.S. and holds other strategic investments in media. For more information please visit www.tribunemedia.com.
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