Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Joan Voight, August 18, 2009, 9:50 PM
  • Making a Case for Connection Planning Advertising Age

    Cathy Collier, president at X, an affiliate of MDC Partners' Zig, presents her argument for "connection planning," a specialty of her agency. She calls it a marketing process, not a media-planning process, in which the idea is the media. It is an alternative to the more conventional 360-degree approach, which typically ends up with multiple small, disparate marketing tactics "that look like a stew and create little impact."

    A parallel to the connection-planning approach is how account services evolved with the introduction of account planning in the late 1980s. Briefs and research were already being done by account services and research people. "But the account planner was a different role with a specific and specialized skill set -- one that combined strategy, research and creative insights."

    Like account planning, connection planning will ensure that "we break conventions and focus on the consumer to lead us to relevant connection ideas. These ideas will power the way we go to market and necessitate innovative [media] solutions," she says. Read the whole story...

  • Emmys' Problem: Too Many Cooks Variety

    The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' structure and politics -- which seek to foster below-the-line democracy in an above-the-line-dominated world -- has gradually disenchanted industry leaders. The Emmys are just a part of it.

    Many within the industry have no clue how the TV academy operates -- that the board consists of 28 branches, with two elected governors representing everything from actors, writers and directors to sound, makeup/hairstyling and title design. The arcane underpinnings remain a mystery to the ever-changing network honchos whose license fees largely support the organization and its charitable endeavors. On top of that, the inability to get things accomplished has dissuaded most well-placed executives from pursuing academy posts.

    The academy's organizational unruliness has periodically made the Emmys more entertaining off-screen than on. But until these long-festering issues are addressed, those who might be best able to reform the group or help the awards evolve will probably take a pass. Read the whole story...

  • 'Reader's Digest' - Another Black Eye for Private Equity The Wall Street Journal

    The bankruptcy of Reader's Digest Association is another black eye for private-equity firms, which bet big during the boom years earlier this decade that they could turn around media concerns and create outsize profits. The investment group led by private-equity firm Ripplewood Holdings, which bought Reader's Digest in 2007 for $1.6 billion, will see its investment wiped out.

    It's a familiar story. In headier days, media-company revenue was predictable, allowing investment firms to pile on debt and repay it with steady -- albeit slightly ebbing -- profits. Instead, revenue is dropping more quickly than almost anyone imagined.

    Here's the twist: While senior lenders will exchange a substantial portion of their $1.6 billion in debt for a 92.5% equity stake, the company is also looking for $100 million in new investment from existing bondholders or outside firms. Those investors can receive up to 20% of the reorganized company. It all goes to show that optimism perseveres. Read the whole story...

  • Univision's Uva Upbeat on TV Ad Market Adweek

    Univision CEO Joe Uva says that the TV ad market appears to be stabilizing, based on current scatter market spending. Uva reports that Univision's upfront market is still in its early stages with only a handful of deals completed so far. Based on those early deals Univision appears to be "outpacing results" of the English-language broadcasters that reportedly dropped prices 2-5% or more.

    Categories where spending has improved recently include packaged goods, quick-service restaurants and telecommunications. There is not a lot of movement in the auto category, Uva says.

    As far as quarterly results go, Univision reported a 4% revenue decline to $520 million, with a net loss of $30 million. For the same period a year ago the company reported a net loss of $101 million. For the first six months of the year, revenue was down 8% to $930 million, with a net loss of $83 million, versus a loss of $266 million for the first six months of 2008. Read the whole story...

  • Detroit, Time Inc. Cooking Up Series Forbes

    Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is in talks with Time Inc. executives to work together on a year-long flood of stories about the re-invention of Detroit. Time's "reinvention bureau" will operate from a 95-year-old home, recently purchased by the company, in Detroit's historic West Village neighborhood.

    Time Inc. writers and editors will live in the house for a year, blogging and writing about rebuilding Detroit. The articles will appear in Time-owned publications in business, sports, real estate and in shelter magazines such as Real Simple and Coastal Living. The first story will be about Mayor Bing and will appear in one of the Fortune Group's magazines, say insiders.

    Advertisers are being encouraged to make a group buy across various Time titles running the reinvention coverage. But apparently it's been slow going. The car companies, for instance, are said to be holding out in hopes of getting bonus ad pages. Read the whole story...

  • Fox Business Turns to Imus For Morning Show The Telegraph

    Fox Business News is believed to be in talks to hire radio shock jock Don Imus to present its breakfast TV show and to draw in much-needed viewers.

    Cowboy-hat wearing Imus, who departed CBS and MSNBC over charges of racism in his commentary, would present his "Imus in the Morning" syndicated talk radio show over FBN, ending his current simulcast contract with rural station RFD-TV. The move would displace Alexis Glick's 'Money for Breakfast.'

    The arrival of Imus would potentially increase the channel's visibility. However hiring him will not be without its risks. It remains to be seen what a man known for his topical talk radio show will bring to the business debate. Read the whole story...