• Singleton's MediaNews Could Save 'SF Chronicle'
    William Dean Singleton, whose MediaNews Group owns nearly every daily newspaper in the Bay Area outside of the San Francisco Chronicle is in the spotlight as Hearst announced this week that it may sell or close the newspaper. From an operational standpoint, with his Bay Area News Group papers successfully implementing many consolidation programs, from news coverage to centralized business operations, Singleton's chain is poised to take over the Chronicle easily. But financially, the chain is struggling like the rest of the industry. The two companies have a history of joint partnerships, most recently with four Connecticut ...
  • WPP's Enfatico Slashes Staff By 8%
    Enfatico, the WPP ad agency created to serve Dell, is laying off 8% of its staff. It's the latest in a chain of bad news for the shop, beginning with the exit of Dell vice president of marketing Casey Jones, and Dell CMO Mark Jarvis. Insiders say about 80 agency employees are losing their jobs. Dell telegraphed to WPP's Enfatico that layoffs were imminent back on January 28, with the statement that it is trying to cut $3 billion out of its operating expenses. Those cuts are assumed to include advertising. WPP boss Martin Sorrell's key mistake may ...
  • Hearst Threatens to Close 'SF Chronicle' Without Job Cuts
    The San Francisco Chronicle will be sold or closed unless a "significant reduction number of unionized and non-union employees" can be let go quickly, says parent company Hearst. Cost savings must be accomplished within weeks to keep the company going. The number of cuts is unspecified. The paper has been on a losing streak since 2001. Hearst says the Chronicle lost more than $50 million last year, and this year's losses are worse. This week's layoff threat seems primarily directed at the paper's unions. "It is essential that our management and the local union leadership work together to bring ...
  • Good News: Thomson Reuters Net Jumps 51%
    Surprising Wall Street, Thomson Reuters fourth-quarter net income swelled 51% on increased revenue and strength at its professional and legal businesses. The company posted net income of $657 million, or 79 cents a share, up from $ 434 million, or 67 cents a share, a year earlier. Thomson Reuters' markets division has been a concern for investors as the financial industry reels from the collapse of major investment banks. But CEO Thomas Glocer says the company was able to accelerate the integration of Reuters and increase its savings. About 60% of Thomson Reuters' revenue comes from its ...
  • Marketers Look To Obama For Ad-Related Policies
    Marketers and agencies are paying close attention to White House policy moves that could further dampen ad spending during the recession. Among such moves would be a tax on advertising, which could have a "monumental impact" on the telecommunications industry's ad spending, according to AT&T executives. To the extent that taxes are imposed, companies would have to "redirect" part of their ad budgets to pay the tax bill. A big question mark also hangs over pharmaceutical ads, says Rino Scanzoni, GroupM chief investment officer. A lobbying campaign is being waged to get the feds to impose tighter restrictions ...
  • Economy Pinches TV Pilots
    Pilot season is feeling the economy's pain in more ways than one. The sharp downturn is directly influencing the plans of a number of projects for the 2009-10 season, particularly on the comedy side. Belt-tightening has resulted in more in-house productions at the nets, a rise in lower-cost presentation reels rather than full-blown pilots and a willingness to cut pilots loose quickly if a star or director can't be found. The overall number of projects, which stands now at around 70, is down from 82 in 2007. Everyone's waiting to see if a slew of pilots go away altogether, ...
  • Revenue At B-to-B Mags Sinks 13%
    Trade publications are not immune to the downturn in print advertising. Ad revenue for b-to-b magazines plunged 13.1% during the fourth quarter of 2008, leading to an overall slide of 7.3% percent, according to American Business Media. Ad pages fell 9.6% for the year--the sharpest decline since 2002, when pages slid 15%. The results mirror those for consumer magazines, which saw ad pages drop 11.7% in 2008 and more than 17% in the fourth quarter. Among the 22 industry categories tracked by American Business, five showed magazine growth in 2008: professional services; architecture and design; agriculture; transportation; ...
  • Content Costs Rising For ESPN
    Renewing sports broadcasting deals with Major League Baseball, NASCAR and other entities is getting more expensive for ESPN. With ad revenue down, that could put the cable network in a bind and have repercussions for parent company Disney. ESPN spends about $2.2 billion annually for broadcast rights to major sports in U.S., including $300 million for 80 Major League Baseball games, $270 million for the final 17 NASCAR races and $1.1 billion for the National Football League's Monday Night Football. ESPN's NFL payments nearly doubled during the last round of negotiations, and each of its other major rights ...
  • Shrinking Broadcast Presence At NAB Show
    Many broadcast network and station engineers are expected to skip their annual pilgrimage to the National Association of Broadcasters' annual convention this April. CBS has canceled its annual engineering breakfast, where it typically discussed technology plans with chief engineers from local affiliates. Major broadcast networks, such as CBS, and station groups are sending fewer people to canvass the floor and participate in industry meetings. Fox Broadcasting, for instance, sent 11 engineers from its TV station group and 20 from its radio division last year, but only one employee is attending this year. While big exhibitors like Cisco and ...
  • Newspapers Still Make Money; Debt-Laden Owners Don't
    Even as they suffer from the recession and digital media, newspapers still earn decent profits, especially papers outside of big cities. Publicly owned newspapers averaged an operating profit of 10.8% in the first three quarters 2008, says industry analyst John Morton. Newspaper owners, on the other hand, are posting huge losses and struggling to make payments on debt they took on under projections that didn't pan out. But that's no reason for newspapers to stop the presses. McClatchy, for instance, is struggling under more than $2 billion in debt, much of which it assumed in 2006 to ...
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