Tribune Co. Buys Stake in Contend


Tribune Publishing Co., parent company of the Los Angeles Times, has invested in downtown L.A. content creator Contend and will partner with the company to create branded campaigns for Tribune advertisers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Tribune Co. announced its investment in Contend on Tuesday, but the two companies had already collaborated to produce a campaign for the Jewel-Osco grocery chain, a series of videos featuring Chicagoans chatting about the supermarket. Tribune Publishing also owns the Chicago Tribune.

The partnership marks one of the publisher’s big moves since it spun off from Tribune Media last month. It tracks with a broader trend: a growing number of old-line newspaper companies are selling sponsored content or native advertising, which mimics editorial storytelling while maintaining the church-and-state divide between editorial and advertising content. (The New York Times, for example, has an in-house content studio.)

Media companies turn to this new model to create new revenue sources in the hopes of offsetting the decline of traditional print advertising and circulation.

“Brands today seek creative solutions that help them connect emotionally with audiences, and our partnership with Contend marries our deep reach with advertisers with Contend’s exceptional storytelling capabilities,” Bill Adee, vice president of digital at Tribune Publishing, said in a statement.

Contend, which launched earlier this year and has 27 employees, will work directly with the Tribune’s head of digital, as well as their chief financial officer. The nascent company has its own offices at the Los Angeles Times building and will also have their own space at Tribune Tower in Chicago, a Contend executive said.

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