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Times Digital Group breaking new ground

November 30th, 2011 1:09 pm by Staff Report

"Lead with an idea, and people will follow" is the philosophy and driving force behind Times Digital Group, a division of the Kingsport Times-News.

Originally formed in 1997 to handle the development of websites, Times Digital Group quickly evolved into a full-service digital media agency with a distinction that sets the group apart from a traditional advertising agency or media company. As a division of the Kingsport Times-News, Times Digital Group has something no other company can offer - an audience.

"Not only do we have a wide range of media services, but we have a direct connection to a large audience," explained David Cate, director of innovation, Times Digital Group. "That’s a pretty good strategy for companies to have one group with the talent to produce the services and, at the same time, distribute their message to a large audience.

"With our connection to the Times-News and other regional media partners, Times Digital Group can put a client’s message in print, online and in all manners of social media, whether that is on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, Google Plus and other streams."

Times Digital Group works with a wide variety of clients to help market their brand. Clients like Food City, Bristol Motor Speedway, Pal’s Business Excellence Institute, the Elizabethton Star, Bristol Rhythm & Roots, Johnson City’s Blue Plum Festival, the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and numerous local and regional realtors.

Each of these clients’ needs are different. For example, one might need an interactive website while another needs consultation on how to maximize Internet tools to create efficiencies in its business. One of the group’s most recent clients fell into the latter category.

"This company has government contracts to build cell phone towers in remote regions throughout the Southeast. He is required through that contract to take photos where poles are placed. They were using this outdated technology to send huge photo files over the Internet. We showed him a simpler way to do not only that, but also enhance his communication flow with all his customers both internal and external," Cate said.

The client had been advised to buy all kinds of servers and programs for his business. The Times Digital Group showed him how he could use one computer and access all the needed software free off the Internet and, at the same time, effectively communicate with customers and his staff by using online video conferencing and other tools.

"We allowed him to connect with his employees and customers and employees in brand new ways," Cate explained. "It was totally liberating for him."

Times Digital Group constantly looks for new ways to use the latest technology. One of the Group’s latest endeavors has been in the development of mobile applications. Readers can now download the Kingsport Times-News mobile app with any smart phone. All a reader needs to do is go to and access the mobile version of the Kingsport Times-News."

They are taking the technology further by working with the Kingsport Chamber of Commerce and city of Kingsport to provide a mobile platform for information about Kingsport in a wide range of categories, from tourist information to mobile updates on everything from road closings to community emergency announcements.

The Kingsport Times-News has owned the URL for a number of years, and the site has remained inactive for the majority of that time. Now the newspaper is using that URL to develop this community website, complete with mobile applications and up-to-the-date community information.

Newspapers across the country are now recognizing the Kingsport Times-News and Times Digital Group for their innovation in the new world of media. Cate was recently invited to speak in Phoenix to the Suburban Newspapers Association (SNA), and the Kingsport Times-News and Times Digital Group will both be featured in an upcoming SNA publication.

Cate was initially reluctant to discuss the Group’s work and achievements with another newspaper group. "I was afraid they were looking for that silver bullet or million-dollar idea," he said. "We’re not there yet. We are doing something different from other newspapers, and we’re showing some great successes. It’s all about having that idea and seeing where it leads you."

For more information or to schedule a business consultation, contact Cate at 217 Broad St. in downtown Kingsport or by visiting the website at

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