• Lee Trims Exec Pay
    Could this become a publishing trend? Lee Enterprises, publisher of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and several small U.S. daily newspapers, is learning the public relations benefits of putting executive pay restrictions in the spotlight. When Lee released its annual proxy filing with the U.S. government on Monday, it included this news: "For 2009, we have frozen the salaries of executive officers, including CEO Mary Junck, at 2008 levels." Not only that, Lee scotched its bonus plan for top executives (which could have been as much as 250% percent of base pay) and nixed contributions to the execs' long-term …
  • Why CMOs Try Going Without TV
    When brands cut down and or even eliminate their TV ad spending, it's not just a response to market conditions. Some marketers say the economy is also prompting them to do something that is long overdue -- trying out new forms of marketing. Susan Lintonsmith, CMO for Red Robin, says her company is doing without TV in 2009 because brand awareness is where it needs to be. "We'll be riding the momentum of two years of advertising," she says. Best Buy cut its TV spending by about 40% last year, and CMO Barry Judge spent it on increasing staff …
  • 'Trust Me' Sponsorships Called 'Sleazy'
    TV critic Linda Stasi isn't terribly impressed with the product placement efforts in the new series "Trust Me," calling it one of the industry's "sleazier" ideas. The TNT series is about a fictional advertising agency in which actual sponsors of the series, like Dove, are clients. "The sponsor trick is about as trustworthy as a reality show where the contestants are actually supposed to get married." Unlike "Mad Men," which is set in the 1960s in New York, the new show is set in Chicago in 2009. Real-life brand managers of the show's sponsors will make cameos. …
  • Bill Kristol Moves From 'NYT' To 'Wash Post'
  • New MPG Unit Sets Huge Out-of-Home Buy
    Digital out-of-home media may move into mainstream marketing yet, thanks to a new record-setting buy by health-care and packaged-goods advertiser Schering-Plough. The buy, estimated at nearly $10 million, is slated for the second quarter. Developed by MPG's newly formed Chrysalis unit, Schering-Plough's plan will deliver more than 1 billion impressions over 8 to 12 weeks. The company will promote several of its health-related brands on 17 digital networks in health clubs, physicians' offices, malls, coffee houses, golf courses and airports. It's a change in direction for the company, which previously relied on traditional media. "Consumer mindsets are …
  • 'U.S. News' Launches Digital Newsweekly
    U.S. News & World Report, which recently went from a print weekly to a monthly, is launching a "digital newsweekly" that reproduces -- in pixels -- what the magazine once did in ink and paper. Called U.S. News Weekly, it will be produced and delivered as a downloadable PDF file, laid out in the form of a magazine, complete with a cover and table of contents. While the parent title has gravitated toward advertiser-friendly topics like health and education, the digital weekly will be "very Washington-centric," with a tighter focus on politics and policy, says editor Brian Kelly. …
  • Reader's Digest Communes With Pastor Warren
    Times are so bad that print publishers are finding religion. Literally. Reader's Digest Association is unveiling the Purpose Driven Connection, a magazine and media network based on the teachings of megachurch pastor Rick Warren, author of bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life," and the man who gave the invocation at Obama's swearing-in. For $30 a year, subscribers are treated as members of a community. They receive the quarterly magazine, four spiritual DVDs, four workbooks and access to a Christian social-networking site. Congregations get a discounted price of $20 per subscription and the magazine is sold at Walmart and other …
  • Super Bowl Pregame Ads Get Cheaper
    NBC is having a tough time selling all the ads that run in the four hours leading up to the Feb. 1 Super Bowl. Insiders say the network has started making deals to more quickly move unsold pregame inventory, lowering prices by as much as one-third from the initial asking price. In contrast, sales of Super Bowl 30-second spots during the game -- at $3 million a pop -- seem to be doing quite well. Depending on the number of ads bought or the hour of the day, pregame ads cost about half the price of an in-game commercial, …
  • NYT's Savior Favors Tough Business Style
    Carlos Slim, the controversial Mexican billionaire, who rescued The New York Times empire with a well-timed $250 million loan, is an outspoken investor. He will not get a seat on the board and says he is not looking to influence the paper -- but he has his opinions. Two months ago, Slim told a U.S. conference that the U.S. was too soft on bad management and losses. He said the solution for big losers like automakers was to push them into Chapter 11 bankruptcy to wipe out overhead and contracts. Back in 2007, he said at a nursing home …
  • Fox Business Seeks Viewers' Questions Weekly
    Fox Business Network will premiere a new series with live call-in questions, "Your Questions, Your Money Live," on Jan. 24. The series, which will air every Saturday, will be hosted by Dagen McDowell, who will field queries about the economic crisis and personal finance. Viewers will be able to ask questions of different experts and Fox Business contributors. Among the experts on the debut episode are: author Larry Winget, Powell Financial Group President Pat Powell, Mortgage Market Guide CEO Barry Habib, Rutledge Capital Chairman John Rutledge and FDIC Chairman Bill Isaac. "The economic crisis doesn't take the …
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