• High-Def Experiment Frames 'Hobbit' Reviews
    Brace yourself for another overdose of the little people. "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," the first of three prequels to director Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" filmic trilogy of JRR Tolkien's classic books, has opened in other climes to great fanfare -- if tepid reviews -- with part of the negativity due to the movie perhaps offering too much of a good thing.
  • Honda Teases With A Terse Release
    All Honda is offering is a tantalizing picture -- blurry and dark at that -- of a prototype of its Urban SUV Concept that will first take the stage at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next month. Oh, there's also a description, which one press notice calls "completely unforthcoming": the forthcoming vehicle "is a global concept model combining a sporty and dynamic SUV profile with a spacious, functional interior."
  • FTC: 'Little Progress' On Mobile Privacy For Kids
    As the digital candy shelves get increasingly crowded, the Federal Trade Commission issued a second report on mobile apps for kids yesterday that it hopes will "light a fire" under the industry by holding both the app makers and their resellers -- cyber-corner shops such as Apple, Google and Amazon -- responsible for safeguarding privacy.
  • Michael Francis To Animate DreamWorks' Branding Efforts
    Michael Francis, who drew much praise during his long tenure directing marketing and advertising at Target but served an unfruitful stint as president at JC Penney's more recently, is joining DreamWorks Animation as chief global brand officer, where he will lead its worldwide licensing and consumer-products efforts, including manufacturing, sales and branding.
  • Apple Polishes Image With 'Made In US Of A' Plans
    In a typically well-orchestrated PR rollout, CEO Tim Cook yesterday bared -- barely -- Apple's plans to manufacture some of its products in the United States. The announcement came in two separate interviews -- one a cover story in "Bloomberg Businessweek" and the other airing last night on NBC's "Rock Center with Brian Williams" -- and the digital punditocracy is weighing in across the media universe this morning.
  • Finally, Some News That Netflix Can Talk About
    Say this for the deal Netflix cut Tuesday for dibs on streaming Disney movies as soon as seven months after their theatrical release: It has given the battered company something positive to talk about after 18 months of getting hammered by its customers, the media and the market over its separation of disk and online digital services.
  • Tesco Sours On Fresh & Easy
    The Brand Republic hed may look sensational but it's the blunt truth: "Tesco CMO Tim Mason Out As Chain Concedes Defeat In U.S." The world's third-largest supermarket chain is bailing on its 199 Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets in Arizona, California and Nevada that were described by Mason at launch in 2007 as "designed to draw customers back to their local neighborhoods by offering high-quality, fresh and nutritious food at affordable prices," Marketing's Daniel Farey-Jones recalls.
  • Appeals Court Okays 'Lawful' Off-Label Pitches
    In a stunning free-speech decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has overthrown the conviction of a pharmaceutical salesman for promoting the off-label use of a narcolepsy drug, Xyrem, for purposes such as treating chronic fatigue, insomnia and fibromyalgia that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The government case claimed that the salesman, Alfred Caronia, engaged in the practice while working for Orphan Medical, a company that has been acquired by Dublin-based Jazz Pharmaceuticals.
  • Delta Wants A Piece Of Virgin Atlantic
    Looking in particular for increased access to London's Heathrow Airport but in general embroidering the pattern of airlines expanding their international service, Delta is reportedly negotiating for Singapore Airlines' 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways.
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