• Lamar Fights Cities, Towns to Keep Digital Billboards
    Lamar Advertising has brought its fight against municipal restrictions on digital billboards to Havelock, N.C. (pop. 22,442). Officials there tried to change their regulations in order to prevent Times Square-style electronic billboards taking over their town. Mark Odell, Lamar general manager, showed up to tell them the proposed rules were against free speech and thus unconstitutional. So far Lamar's nationwide anti-reg efforts have been successful. In Albany, N.Y., Lamar recently used the same "unconstitutional" argument; the city is now negotiating with the company. In Los Angeles Lamar is offering to take down 3,500 old signs in return for the ...
  • Smaller Papers Reach Economic Bottom, Says Broker
    Smaller newspapers were the last to be brought down by the Great Recession, and now a report from a brokerage firm specializing in community papers suggests they may be the first to find the bottom to the industry's misery. Cribb, Greene & Associates surveyed dozens of owners or top executives of mid-sized and small newspapers in May, and went back to them in July, asking if conditions had improved or worsened. "Most papers say revenues are down 10%-15%, and they are making expense cuts to compensate," says a report by the brokerage. EBITDA margins are generally 5%-15%. "These ...
  • Emmy Changes: More Taped Awards, More Star Power
    The Emmy Awards will give less airtime to some winners and more time to popular shows and stars this year. A new plan calls for "time-shifting" eight of the 28 awards by recording their presentation before the show airs live. An edited version of the winners' acceptances will be shown during the ceremony. The eight awards will be split equally among directing, writing, acting and producing. Emmy viewership has suffered in recent years as academy voters have lavished attention on little-watched cable shows and largely snubbed top-rated broadcast series. In fact, the 12 most-watched series from last season, including ...
  • Nickelodeon Gets a Major Makeover
    Nickelodeon and its sister networks will streamline their identities with a new logo scheme this fall. It will replace the well-known "splat" graphic -- which was first introduced in 1984. The change comes as Nick rebrands Noggin into Nick Jr. and the N into TeenNick -- putting "Nick" into all of its channels' names for the first time. The new design will connect Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, Nicktoons, Nick Jr. and TeenNick, all of which will use similar-looking lower-case logos. It's Nick's biggest makeover in 25 years. The decision to revamp the identities came after execs started putting ...
  • Comcast, Cox, Time Warner See Boost in 'Triple Play' Subs
    Research commissioned by the NCTA shows that in 2008 almost a quarter of the cable subscriptions for Comcast, Time Warner and Cox were part of a "triple play" bundle of cable, Internet and phone. That percentage is more than double the 10.14% of subscribers who had triple play deals in 2007. The three cable operators are the largest in the country, accounting for two-thirds of all cable TV subscriptions. The cable industry has valued the benefits of bundled voice, video and data to consumers at $35 billion a year. That number is a combination of "enormous cost savings, lower ...
  • ABC to Hold Back Upfront Inventory for Scatter
    ABC plans to sell less advertising inventory in its upfront negotiations than it has in previous years. "We are comfortable with the rates ABC has been achieving," says Tom Staggs, CFO of parent company Walt Disney." Staggs indicates that Disney believes it will fare well in the scatter market, when wary advertisers commit money close to the air time. He notes that "major advertisers remain on the sidelines" in the current upfront marketplace. The move shows how ABC is changing its strategy to accommodate shrinking demand. When scatter is robust, advertisers typically put more money into upfront buys, in ...
  • 'Washington Post' Makes Mobile Strategy More Local
    The Washington Post is relaunching its mobile content, reflecting a broader strategy to focus harder on the Washington D.C. area. Besides extending the Post's core areas of coverage onto a new platform, the new mobile site is designed for maximum utility for locals. It offers customized information on things like public transportation, weather and entertainment. The site has two mobile editors and a dedicated mobile sales manager. For now the site will be completely ad-supported. Amtrak has signed on as sponsor of the launch. The Post eventually will take a cut of proceeds from commercial transactions and possibly ...
  • Epix Movie Network Wins TV Toehold Via Verizon
    More than a year after its conception, the Epix movie network, led by New York media giant Viacom, has secured a toehold on television, adding a new competitor to the crowded pay-TV business. Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman says Epix landed a deal with Verizon Communications' Fios TV service, which will put the channel in some of the 2.5 million homes that subscribe to the service.
  • 'L.A. Times' To Deliver
    The Orange County Register and the Los Angeles Times are getting even closer in bed together. They recently agreed to launch a joint weekly advertising supplement and now they have hammered out new distribution agreement. The Times will deliver copies of the Register to homes and newsstands starting in September. The Register says the deal would save the paper "seven figures." The move means the elimination of 55 full-time and 143 part-time positions and cutbacks among 721 independent contractors. "This new distribution system will allow us to operate more efficiently and effectively," says Terry Horne, Register publisher. The ...
  • Pew: More Consumers Substitute Online TV for Cable
    A growing number of recession-conscious Americans claim they are using the Web as a cable TV substitute, says the latest report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. About 19% of Internet users surveyed say they visit video sites in a typical day, up from 8% three years ago. More than one-third of Internet users claim to have streamed a TV show or movie online, versus just 16% in 2007, according to the report. And in these tough economic times, 22% of American adults say they have cut back or cancelled cable in the past year, while ...
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