Former NowThis and Vice Media exec Steven Belser named head of creative strategy and digital industry veteran Steve Baron named head of product and engineering.
Tribune Media Co. today announced the appointment of two key executives charged with extending the company’s 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 and 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 said its digital properties have generated audience growth, reaching a combined 69 million unique visitors in January 2016 according to comScore, up 45% from January 2015. Traffic to Tribune Media’s websites in January ranked it 32nd among mobile-only users, the company said.
“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 said it continues to focus its digital talent on 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. As SVP production and 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, N.Y.
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.
Before becoming VP of digital content and technology at Tribune Broadcasting, Baron was VP of interactive content for Local TV. In addition, Baron built the first broadcast industry-sanctioned live video aggregator while managing digital for the Fox-owned WFLD Chicago. Prior to working in digital media, Baron was a TV news reporter and on-camera meteorologist in several U.S. cities.