A Bigger, Better Chicago Tribune
On March 27, I Imagine attended the Crain Lecture: A Bigger, Better Chicago Tribune at Northwestern University. Gerould Kerm, the Editor and Senior President of the Chicago Tribune Media Group, and Phil Niccolls, the Senior Director of Consumer Marketing, shared their experience operating in a changing media environment. As most of you may know, the Tribune is bouncing back from filing bankruptcy, but their approach has been different than most–they expanded.
On June 11, 2011, the Chicago Tribune added an extra 40 pages a week to their newspaper, thereby increasing the price. They wanted to convey the message that their newly expanded newspaper was worth the extra cost due to the benefits received from the extra material. The Tribune decided to re-segment their market, and focus specifically on segment two, the “on-the-go with family.” Phil Niccolls noted that they “zigged while everyone else zagged,” which set them apart so they could show their core customers how important they are to them. Additionally, the Tribune expanded their “Chicago Watchdog” section, one that is very popular with readers, and developed a dining section to cater to the interests of their core demographics.
The Tribune has also expanded their online presence. They have placed more content online and developed a mobile site and multiple iPad apps including The Bulletin (for Bulls fans) and Red Eye. The Tribune is excited because they have reached new audiences through new channels, and their changes were met with growing traffic upon the launch. They are charging for content in ways most newspapers are not, so it will be interesting to see how this will affect their digital strategy’s success. So, what can we learn from the Chicago Tribune? That this marketplace is ever changing, and in a world where almost everything is going digital, it is important to focus on what your audience wants, and that it is not about the medium, but the message. In this age, you must be willing to take risks, and I Imagine is here to guide you through this changing media environment.