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We’re still not convinced these Tronc branding videos aren’t Adult Swim parodies

Content funnels. Artificial intelligence. Optimize.

A still from one of the Tronc videos

Last month, newspaper chain Tribune Publishing rebranded itself as Tronc — a weird-sounding abbreviation of “Tribune online content.”

Since then, chairman Michael Ferro has explained the changes as part of a pivot to artificial-intelligence-powered video content. Ferro is fending off a hostile takeover from rival Gannett, and he has said that he wants the company to publish 2,000 AI-generated videos per day.

Today, people discovered Tronc’s new website and a couple of marketing videos that were perhaps directed by the same people who did “Too Many Cooks” and “Smart Pipe.”

Content funnels. Artificial intelligence. Optimization. These videos have it all. They both come from the Tronc HR YouTube account, and we’ve emailed to ask for more on who made them — and why.

Update: Tronc spokesman Dennis Culloton told Recode that earlier Monday morning, all Tronc employees were provided with a memo that included the videos. You can read the memo at the bottom of this post.

“The purpose is to get employees informed and motivated about the philosophy and thinking behind the push to use machine learning and artificial intelligence to help turn around the brand formerly known as Tribune Publishing,” Culloton said. “There will be some other pushes for the videos, including employee meetings happening around the country all week.”

And here’s the memo sent to Tronc employees:


Today, we officially rebranded as tronc, Inc. and will begin trading on the Nasdaq exchange under the stock ticker “TRNC.”

Our iconic institutions are some of the most respected brands in the world and will remain as such. tronc does not exist without the strength and integrity of the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, Sun Sentinel, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, Hartford Courant, Daily Press, The Morning Call and the many local community verticals we own. Collectively, our publications have earned 92 Pulitzer Prize awards and garner an impressive monthly audience of over 60 million, reflecting the commitment and quality that each of you contribute. No other media company can match the power of our brands.

We are a content company first, last, and always – but in the face of disruption, we must evolve to preserve and grow our iconic brands. Our commitment to journalism has not changed, but we are deploying new technologies to bring our content to life and make it more accessible and visual to our ever-evolving audience.

Malcolm CasSelle, Chief Technology Officer and President of New Ventures, and newly appointed Chief Digital Officer Anne Vasquez are going to be visiting all of our local markets this week, sharing our vision and strategy behind tronc. They have also created this video to introduce tronc, what it means and how technology will help make our journalism even more powerful.

We are excited for the opportunity to meet and speak with many of you. The foundation of this company is rooted in our employees who deliver the news in our organizations, some of which have been serving their community with distinction for more than 250 years. With your commitment, we will continue to extend the influence of our titles and deepen our connections to our communities.

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