• Media General Reports 4Q Loss, Halts Dividend
    Media General News sustained a fourth-quarter loss due to the diminished value of some of its assets and a steep decline in print ad revenues. As a result, it is suspending its dividend to direct additional cash flow to the reduction of debt, according to CEO Marshall Morton. Last September, the company cut its quarterly dividend by nearly half. Media General said it lost $85.5 million in the fourth quarter. The loss includes the reduced value of its licenses and affiliation agreements. Media companies across the U.S. have seen the market values of their TV and radio stations drop ...
  • Editor, GM Out In 'OK' Shake-up
    It's only been five months since he started, but Kent Brownridge, general manager at OK magazine is out. Also exiting is Susan Toepfer, the editor in chief Brownridge brought on board, and art director Trey Speegle. Northern & Shell, which publishes the celebrity weekly in several countries, went through a rocky spell last September acquiring and running Alpha Media, home of Maxim and Blender, with backing from the Quadrangle Group. Brownridge was hired shortly after. Before that, he spent a couple decades as the No. 2 to Rolling Stone owner Jann Wenner. The company says Brownridge is stepping ...
  • More Viewers For Hard News on TV
    Interrupting a decade-long drift of viewers away from hard news toward softer fare, serious TV news is drawing serious ratings this winter. Viewership is rising at shows like "60 Minutes" and "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer," thanks to high interest in all things Obama, plus major developments in the economy and the Middle East. CBS' "60 Minutes" has seen its audience jump 9% so far this season, after a five-year ratings slide. It has averaged 15.4 million viewers, more than most network prime-time shows. The program finished among the top 10 on broadcast television for its last eight episodes. ...
  • CBS Locks In Upfront Date
  • Spanish-Language Ad Spending Up 2.7%
  • AEG Gives Sponsors Option To Buy Across Concerts
    AEG Live, producer of New Orleans Jazz Festival and other concerts, has decided to bundle a dozen of its giant music events to allow marketers to buy across festivals. Along with the time and efficiency savings, marketers who buy multiple venues will also get price breaks. Sponsors who have signed up for 2009 include AT&T at two events, retailer FYE (For Your Entertainment) at four events and Anheuser-Busch at four events. AEG is also in final talks with energy-drink, sports-league, spirits, insurance and apparel companies. A new Web site details all the music events with synopses, dates, ...
  • Reader's Digest Cuts 280 Employees
    Reader's Digest Association, publisher of Reader's Digest and Every Day with Rachael Ray, is slashing 8% of its workforce worldwide, amounting to about 280 people. CEO Mary Berner says the cuts are part of a "recession plan" that involves five days a year of unpaid time off for all staff in RDA's fiscal 2009 and 2010. The company is also suspending its 401(k) contributions. Despite the cutbacks, RDA says no magazines would be closed as part of the cost reductions, and that it will continue its plans for new launches. The company intends to launch a health title, ...
  • New TV Show Turns Yahoo Searches Into News
    Twentieth Television is partnering with Yahoo to develop a TV show called "Yahoo Buzz." It uses Yahoo's online search engine to identify the top 10 things people are searching at a given time -- and then expands on those topics. Examples of search categories-turned-news-stories on this week's top 10 would be the finale of NBC's "Superstars of Dance," whether Jessica Simpson is too fat or just a bad dresser, and a promoter who was accidentally killed by a monster truck. Twentieth is in talks with former MTV veejay Ananda Lewis to host the show, which Twentieth hopes ...
  • USA's 'Burn' Nabs GM, Alltel As Sponsors
    USA Network has signed up three integrated sponsors for its original series "Burn Notice." The series stars Jeffrey Donovan as a blacklisted spy who struggles to put his life back together while using his skills to help people in need. Alltel Wireless, which previously worked with USA on "Psych" and "Monk," will sponsor "Ultimate Spy," a text-to-win sweepstakes. Over a seven-week story arc, viewers will have a chance to win 40 tech gadgets. General Motor's Saab 9-3 is being integrated into the show as the car driven by Gabrielle Anwar's character. Saab will also be a sponsor of an ...
  • TiVo Chief Urges Innovation in TV Ads
    TiVo CEO Tom Rogers admits that TiVo has played a big role in the current TV ad crisis by developing the tech tools that allow viewers to skip commercials. That said, at NATPE he insisted his company is working on new methods for advertisers to reach consumers, and he urged others to do the same. For example, TiVo research shows that interactive advertising didn't initially catch on because it didn't let viewers pause the program while getting more information about the product. TiVo plans to incorporate automatic pausing so a curious consumer doesn't miss any part of the ...
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