President and CEO, Tribune Publishing
Timothy Knight is President and CEO of Tribune Publishing. His other jobs have included President of Advance Ohio, where he oversaw the cleveland.com news site; CEO of Wrapports LLC, a former owner of the Chicago Sun-Times; and President and CEO of Newsday Media Group and Publisher of Newsday.
You can argue there’s the Netflix effect, where people do see that paying a certain amount of money every month for this all-access is something they’re willing to do. (People engaged in their communities) understand that having quality content costs money to create, and they want to support that. I think there’s more of that realization, that it can’t just be free. It can’t just be aggregated. That … journalism is important, and that there is a modest amount that our people are being asked to pay for, at least at our place, that they’re willing to pay for it.
We are spending more time letting businesses that work with us know we have these digital capabilities. A lot of times, they just think of us as the print and maybe the website, that’s about it. They don’t know everything else we have available. Once they understand our capabilities, we often get very strong commercial relationships with them, and are able to deliver on their marketing objectives, and essentially compete with small advertising agencies in each of our markets.
The challenge is you are losing these higher-margin print dollars, but print still can be of huge value to the right advertiser, and we’ve leveraged the relationships in the brands that we have to grow new relationships, or deeper relationships. One of the things that we’re doing is hiring sales people who are really good at growing new accounts. Going out and bringing in new business, where historically we’ve been able to, because we were the powerhouse in the market, people would come to us. We’ve got to be more aggressive, and creative in how we go to market. How we go and let people know the broad range of services that we have.
We often wish to do a lot of things. But I think, in an era of very finite resources, you’ve got to be really smart about what bets you make.
We have a centralized group that focuses on (metrics), works very closely with leaders in each of the newsrooms about their key priorities. The data team shares the data across the organization, with each newsroom leader, and with the marketing teams, subscription team, so that we're all aligned. We talk about our key priorities constantly, and we are putting in the processes to measure and report back to everybody our progress.
I think we probably, historically, have organized around the metro desk, the high school sports desk, the crime desk, maybe. I think it’s much more nuanced and complex. There are probably micro-audiences out there that we need to understand better and serve. I go back to, we can start with the people who use us as one base, but then there’s a lot of people who don’t come to us, and we’ve got to figure out who they are, and what information they want, and figuring out whether that is something that we can actually do well.