• VNU To Get Offer: Will Shareholders Bite?
    We've heard this song and dance before: VNU gets an offer to be bought but, for a number of reasons, the acquisition never comes to fruition. Today, VNU is expected to field a bid from a group of seven private-equity firms to purchase the company for $8.6 billion. According to The Wall Street Journal, the firms involved are AlpInvest Partners of the Netherlands; Permira Advisers Ltd. of the United Kingdom; and the Blackstone Group; the Carlyle Group; Hellman & Friedman; Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.; and Thomas H. Lee Partners, all of the U.S. Many of VNU's shareholders believe that ...
  • Turner Leaving Time Warner Board
    Only recently settling its disputes with Carl Icahn, Dick Parsons and the Time Warner Board have hit another wave in the water. Media mogul Ted Turner has decided not to seek re-election to the Time Warner board. No reason was given as to why Turner opted out of a re-election bid. Turner was CEO of Turner Broadcasting System when Time Warner purchased the company for $7.5 billion in 1996.
  • Web MD Moves Toward Medical Record-Keeping
    Medical information site Web MD will be taking on a new role, helping consumers compile personal health data online. The company says it has signed contracts with large health insurance companies as well as employers to run private sites where employees can keep track of their medical records and check out ratings for doctors and hospitals. This effort “could be the most visible test yet of whether the time has finally come for using the Internet as much more than an online medical encyclopedia and health care news medium,” according to an Associated Press report in The New York ...
  • Nielsen CEO Talks Shop
    In an interview with Nielsen CEO Susan Whiting, new Forbes columnist James Brady discusses her March trip to mainland China ("We're going to measure their television--Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong”) and “a dramatically defining moment” in her career, the dispute with Rupbert Murdoch over whether people meters were undercounting minority viewership of Fox stations. “We said, 'Let the market work its way,' and it did,” notes Weiner, adding that “I don't think damage was done.” Whiting also talks about Nielsen’s moves into measuring audience on the Internet, and, in response to Brady’s question about the rumored sale of parent company ...
  • Martha And Donald Fight All The Way To The Bank
    The fight between and Martha and Donald is getting as messy as Martha Stewart's kitchen on her maid's day off. What's the point in rehashing the past in such a public forum? Many believe the sparring is both ego- and attention-driven. "Some need air to live, but publicity is the source of life [for Stewart and Trump] that keeps them going, in a business sense," says Fraser Seitel, a partner at media consulting firm Emerald Partners and a professor of public relations at New York University's graduate business school. Someone once said that any publicity is good publicity--and this war ...
  • The End Of Blogs?
    There are 20 million blogs worldwide and yet only a small number garner enough eyeballs for advertisers to take notice. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 9 percent of Internet users frequently read blogs and a whopping 66 percent of Internet users said they never read blogs. Given their lack of mainstream success, why do blogs have such an influence over mainstream media? "[M]any bloggers will argue that the influence of blogs is immeasurably greater than their readership statistics would suggest," Gallup says, "because of the disproportionate influence they have on opinion leaders, political insiders and modern news media." ...
  • Buy This Product--Straight From A Radio Ad
    Watch out, TV. In a matter of weeks, XM Satellite Radio will launch XM- equipped portable mp3 players complete with time shifting, recording and bookmarking capabilities. Once a user docks the player to an Internet connected port, the songs that were bookmarked can be bought and downloaded via Napster. "Our next generation of products coming out in the next two weeks will be an XM-enabled MP3 player with, in the simplest terms, that 'buy' button," said D. Scott Karnedy, senior vice president-ad sales for XM Satellite Radio.
  • Donald and Martha: You're Fired; No, You're Fired
    In a Q&A with Newsweek, Martha Stewart says she has no regrets about her version of "The Apprentice" and says when she signed up for the show, she expected Donald Trump to get "fired." Stewart insists the Donald wanted to stay and lo and behold, two editions of "The Apprentice" aired, and both suffered from less than stellar ratings. Getting wind of the article, Donald told Newsweek: "I'm tired of Martha blaming me for her failure," and "Between your daughter, with her-one word statements, your letter writing and, most importantly, your totally unconvincing demeanor, it never had a chance--much as ...
  • Don't Curl Your Lip At High-Rated Sport
    The Olympic sport of curling is enjoying unprecedented popularity among viewers of the Turino Winter Games, with a 36 percent spike in viewership of CNBC's daily coverage of the sport, up from the Salt Lake City Games four years ago, NBC said. That spike has also more than tripled average CNBC viewership numbers for the time period of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Though many in the U.S. consider curling "an Olympic version of shuffleboard on ice, played by solemn grownups with brooms in their hands," in Canada it's a national obsession. The country even has a full-time curling ...
  • China Bans Human-Toon Products
    Is it wrong for Michael Jordan to hang out with Bugs Bunny? China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television apparently thinks so. The government body is banning distribution of TV shows and films featuring human actors with animated companions. Why? For one, the Chinese government is trying to "increase local production of Mandarin-language toons and cut the amount of foreign animated programming appearing on Chinese television," according to Variety. And "Chinese regulatory authorities are notoriously skittish regarding broadcast and film themes that include the supernatural or fantasy, including talking animals. 'Babe' was banned on the basis that animals can't ...
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