Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Joan Voight, April 21, 2009, 10:15 AM
  • MediaCom Puts Fresh Face On Freshness Initiative, Raids Atmosphere's DavidsonAdweek

    WPP's MediaCom unit has raided a top strategist from Omnicom's Atmosphere BBDO unit, Sue Davidson, to oversee MediaCom's recently launched "Freshness Initiative."

    Davidson, who will have the dual role of senior partner and director of communications planning, will serve as director of the initiative, which was created to encourage "fresh, creative thinking both in communications planning for clients and throughout" MediaCom, Adweek magazine reported.

    The trade publication said Davidson would work within MediaCom's consumer insights unit, reporting to Chief Strategy Officer Margaret Lewis. Read the whole story...

  • NYT Co. Reports Wider Losses, 'Steep' Ad DeclineThe Wall Street Journal

    The New York Times Co.'s losses widened during the first quarter of 2009, reports The Wall Street Journal. The Murdoch-owned paper attributed the Times Co.'s losses to "another steep decline in advertising revenue," as well as costs related to job cuts and the write-down of leases related to its newsstand distribution unit.

    The Times Co.'s first-quarter loss totaled $74.5 million, which compares with a reported loss of only $335,000 a year earlier. The Journal said the Times Co. has been particularly hard hit by the reduction in classified advertising sales, noting total ad sales fell 27% during the first quarter. Read the whole story...

  • SAG Sags, Union Cuts Its Own Labor PoolLos Angeles Times

    Hollywood labor union Screen Actors Guild has cuts its own staff 8%, or about 35 employees, due to sagging membership dues and a waning economy, reports the Los Angeles Times. SAG, which is one of the key unions that negotiates labor contracts for advertising and TV production, is struggling to close a $6.5 million deficit in its 2009 fiscal budget. The paper said the layoffs impact several departments, including those who work in the information technology department. Read the whole story...

  • CW Unveils 'Cwinger' In 'Gossip Girl' Ad Age

    Starting April 27, CW will air new ads that travel with the 18-34 audience they target. The network intends to unveil its first "cwingers," ads that push viewers to move from TV to online and then back again, in "Gossip Girl." Unilver's Dove, set to release a new body wash aimed at women 20something, will sponsor video vignettes about four real 20-something women who once lived lives similar to the characters in the popular private-school drama.

    The trade magazine notes that "cwingers" represent an admission from broadcast networks that their audiences are not always consuming TV entertainment. A recent study of media-consumption habits found that consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 take in an average of eight-and-a-half hours of media overall, with 210 minutes -- about three-and-a-half hours -- devoted to live TV. This demo devotes more time to the Web and DVR playback than baby boomers.

    Each of the videos, which will run under the heading "Gossip Girl: Real NYC Stories Revealed," will introduce a new story in a 90-second ad on broadcast TV. Jessica Szohr, who plays outsider Vanessa Abrams on "Gossip Girl," will host the vignettes. Read the whole story...

  • Oxygen Gets Racy To Grab Younger Demos Forbes

    What do 18-34 year-old women want? At Oxygen network, which parent NBC Universal bought for $925 million in 2007, the answer is outrageous reality shows like "Bad Girls Club" and "Pretty Wicked." Female viewers in that demo are up 57% in prime time from last year, according to Nielsen Media Research. 100 advertisers, including BlackBerry and Budweiser, came aboard in 2008, and another 25 have already signed up in '09.

    "It's not your mother's cable network," says general manager Jason Klarman. Oxygen says its goal is to grow "trenders" (early fad adapters), "spenders" (recession-proof purchasers) and "recommenders" (influencers of others' buying habits).

    That's why this year's roster includes shows such as "Dance Your Ass Off," about oversized dancers, "Addicted to Beauty," a behind-the-scenes look at an upscale LaJolla, Calif.,spa, and "Naughty Kitchen with Chef Blythe Beck," as well as the return of Tori Spelling and her husband Dean.

    Read the whole story...

  • Sen. Kerry Holds Newspaper Hearings Editor & Publisher

    Sen. John F. Kerry, D-Mass., will hold hearings in Washington, D.C., beginning April 30 to consider the economic problems facing the newspaper industry, The Boston Globe reported. At present, many newspapers are in bankruptcy protection or seeking cost-savings, including The Boston Globe and The San Francisco Chronicle, which have threatened to close or sell if certain union concessions are not made.

    Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md., introduced a bill last month that would allow newspaper companies to restructure as nonprofits.

    "America's newspapers are struggling to survive -- and while there will be serious consequences in terms of the lives and financial security of the employees involved, including hundreds at the Globe, there will also be serious consequences for our democracy where diversity of opinion and strong debate are paramount," Kerry wrote in a letter sent to union leaders Friday. Read the whole story...