Sunday, July 19, 2009

Joan Voight, July 19, 2009, 9:35 PM
  • Costs Drive Down Televisa's Net Income Variety

    Mexican broadcast giant Televisa posted a 10.2% gain in net sales to $962.6 million in the second quarter. However, net income dropped by 0.7% in the face of financing costs, which rose to $62.9 million from $16.4 million -- nearly a 400% increase compared to the second quarter of 2008.

    Although reaching record numbers of subscribers, Televisa's cable and satellite sales growth slowed this quarter. Satcaster Sky grew 7.5% year to year, as opposed to 11% surges in the two preceding quarters. Part of this is attributed to "increased and aggressive competition" from the Dish Network, which began operating late 2008. Dish has won a half million subscribers as a bare bones, low-cost option. Read the whole story...

  • Is Business Journalism Dying? Time

    There is more interest, argument and passion surrounding the future of American business than there has been in several generations. And yet, in the space of three months, Portfolio was closed and BusinessWeek has been put up for sale.

    The problem: The category's core advertisers - financial services, automotive and business-to-consumer types - have borne the brunt of the recession. Plus, traditional business magazines have much bigger expenses than the websites that offer business journalism exclusively online - daily, even hourly.

    Economist Sylvia Nasar sees more demand for business news than ever, and more outlets providing it. "This [economic crisis] is a great story. There is - and will be - more great journalism on it," she says. At BusinessWeek, the magazine's total audience declined during the first six months of 2009, but its site, with the much touted Business Exchange, increased its readership. The site drew about 5 million unique visitors a month -- good but not good enough to save a weekly that is losing readers and hemorrhaging money. Read the whole story...

  • Weider's 'Muscle & Fitness' Bucks the Downturn Forbes

    Glossy magazine titles are fewer and slimmer -- except, ironically, in the fitness category. Weider Publications, a subsidiary of American Media, is one of the clearest beneficiaries. Weider's category leader Muscle & Fitness has charted seven consecutive quarters of year-over-year growth in both pages and revenue, per PIB. The magazine's success is the result of its association with protein powders, nutritional shakes and weight loss supplements. The aggressive marketing efforts of the companies behind sports drinks and dietary supplements, coupled with loyal customers willing to pay the $6.99 newsstand price, has strengthened the publication during a weak economy. While the August issue of M&F contains ads for Braun razors and Honda motorcycles, such non-fitness advertising took up less that 2% of the issue.

    It helps that in recent years, fitness nutrition has expanded from specialty to mass market. For instance, Muscle Milk producer CytoSport partnered with G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottling for wider domestic distribution earlier this year. And in recent months nutritional products Similac and Ensure have hired star athletes to endorse their lines to the mass audience. Read the whole story...

  • TV Sports, NFL Tackled by Economic Crises Mediaweek

    TV sports, including the once-invulnerable National Football League, have lost much of their instant draw. Sports media buyers say they are no longer blindly paying cost-per-thousand prices at the levels they have in the past. Buyers face pressure from their clients to get better deals and see opportunity in the softness of the financial and auto markets.

    "We are going to be more aggressive in bringing pricing back to more realistic levels," says one sports buyer. "If we can't do sports upfront deals, we'll take our chances in scatter, particularly with the NFL." The stalled upfront has hamstrung football-carrying networks from selling because pricing for NFL ad inventory is primarily predicated on rates the networks get for their prime-time entertainment. Most of the networks that carry NFL games say they are about one-third sold out for regular-season advertising. But most of that is due to multiyear deals and long-term sponsorships already in place. The last time NFL games on the TV networks sold at negative CPM rates from the year prior was 2000. "We have our work cut out for us," says a network sports sales exec. Read the whole story...

  • New Day for Resurgent Universal McCann Adweek

    The refocused efforts of IPG's Universal McCann seem to be finally paying off. The agency, which stumbled badly a few years back with a string of major client losses, has won four pitches in the last two months with combined ad spending of $550 million. Last week, the shop won the $100 million Charles Schwab account and successfully defended its $210 million buying account with Nationwide. Not counting Nationwide, the shop has won more net new business this year -- $340 million -- than it did in the previous five years, without any client losses so far.

    Why the turnaround? Worldwide CEO Matt Seiler has made several moves to better position the shop, such as hiring Jen Hohman as svp, managing director of new business about nine months ago. The shop now picks a separate business development team for each pitch, with many of those team members sticking with the client if UM wins the business -- a strategy increasingly being used by media companies.

    In addition, the shop reaches out to media oversight unit Mediabrands, formed a year ago, for help with specialized services like outdoor or newspapers. The shop has also poured resources into a live consumer insight panel with 170,000 participants, and upgraded channel-allocation tools and its process for monitoring what consumers are saying about brands. Read the whole story...

  • Univision Has Sold 65% Of World Cup Ads, Sponsorships Multichannel News

    Univision has already sold about 65% of its inventory and other on-air elements for the 2010 World Cup. Among the companies already signed up for multiplatform sponsorships are FIFA sponsors T-Mobile, Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Verizon Wireless and Budweiser, says Univision executive vp Peter Lazarus. Univision has also secured deals with a number of other advertisers and is ahead of its pace for the 2006 World Cup in Germany, despite the sluggish economy.

    The media company is proffering an array of World Cup assets across Univision, Telefutura and Galavision;; and Univision Movil. "We also have a local component with the station group," and are developing plans and sponsorship opportunities for the video-on-demand coverage of the World Cup, says Lazarus.

    Univision has not yet sorted through all of its on-air enhancements for the event. However, it will work with McDonald's on a consumer sweepstakes that will enable winners to accompany players as they walk onto the pitch. It will also provide Coca-Cola with an assist on a World Cup trophy tour, leading up to the tournament. Lazarus says World Cup packages are part of the media company's continuing upfront negotiations. Read the whole story...