Tribune Company (NYSE:TRB) executives addressed investors and analysts today at the Mid-Year Media Review conference in New York City. Dennis FitzSimons, Tribune chairman, president and chief executive officer, Scott Smith, Tribune Publishing president, and Pat Mullen, Tribune Broadcasting president, covered developments at the company’s businesses.
“Tribune’s newspapers and TV stations are resilient, and provide a strong base for our future growth,” FitzSimons said. “With the right content and sales strategies, we can grow our share of advertising in our local markets.”
FitzSimons highlighted Tribune’s financial strength and noted that the company is using its substantial cash flow to invest in its businesses and return value to shareholders. The company raised its dividend 50% earlier this year and continues to repurchase its stock. Tribune has purchased 5 million shares so far this year after buying back 15 million shares in 2004.
Smith focused his remarks on strategies to grow newspaper readership and online audiences. He also discussed innovative new advertising solutions being offered by the company’s newspapers, such as special ad positions and shapes.
“We believe these unique ads will generate additional revenue the rest of this year and beyond, particularly in the national category,” Smith said.
In television, Mullen noted that new prime-time shows on The WB this fall and a refreshed sitcom lineup in the fringe periods should lead to improved ratings. He pointed to local news as another key programming element, and recapped the company’s solid morning news ratings in the nation’s top markets.
“Our local stations are well managed, we’re in great markets, and we have a solid programming strategy which sets us up well for growth,” Mullen said.
A transcript of Tribune’s presentation at the Mid-Year Media Review will be posted on www.tribune.com later this week.