Disney earnings, outlook improve
Embattled chief Michael Eisner had some good news to point to as Walt Disney Co. posted a 71% increase in earnings for the second fiscal quarter and forecast a 50% increase for the full year, as its movies and theme parks benefit from the improving economy. The parent of the ABC and ESPN TV networks posted $537 million in net income for the quarter ended March 31 on revenue of $7.19 billion, up 11%. Media networks revenue grew 7%, with cable up 21% thanks to higher affiliate and advertising revenue at cable channels, while network revenues dropped 5%, with ABC's low ratings partly offset by higher prices in the network upfront market. ABC is benefiting from higher prime-time scatter prices, said Disney President Robert Iger, who forecast the network will be profitable in the next fiscal year. ABC has created a strong strategy to reach marketers looking for product integration deals and it should pay off in the upfront, he said.
Levi's plans to sell Dockers
Levi Strauss & Co. will explore selling its roughly $1.4 billion Dockers casual-pants brand as part of a turnaround effort to stem a seven-year sales decline. The sale will allow the classic jeans company to focus on its core Levi's line as well as a value-conscious Levi Strauss Signature line. Levi's last month launched its largest ever ad campaign, "A Style for Every Story" playing off tales from devoted Levi's wearers. Publicis Groupe-backed agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty, New York, developed the print ads featuring photographs by Richard Avedon that broke in May magazines and the TV that is slated for the fall. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap61q
Gotham chairman moves to Carlson
In a move that represents a high-profile change for Interpublic Group of Cos.' Gotham, Stone Roberts, chairman-CEO , was hired as president-CEO at Carlson & Partners, a New York agency owned by Interpublic rival Omnicom Group. Mr. Roberts was a key architect in Gotham's spin-out from Lintas 10 years ago. Mr. Roberts said his plan is to "make sure the current business is solid, then expand out." Carlson & Partners' chairman is Richard Tarlow, whose former wife, Sandra Carlson Tarlow founded the agency roughly 15 years ago. Discussions between Omnicom and Mr. Roberts took place over the past five months. During the same time period, Interpublic made public its plans to recruit a successor to Mr. Roberts, which Mr. Roberts said was a project he'd initiated in a recommendation to the holding company's management. Longtime Interpublic executive Gunnar Wilmot moves to Gotham as chairman. He was most recently chief operating officer at Interpublic unit The Partnership. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap62r
Euro RSCG Worldwide tapped Ron Bess, 57, for the newly created post of regional director-North America, a job that includes managing the agency's embattled Chicago office. Mr. Bess-a veteran of the Chicago ad community who most recently was vice chairman-integration and business development at WPP Group's Young & Rubicam, New York-is one of two executives running the North American operations of Havas' Euro RSCG. Besides managing Chicago, Mr. Bess oversees the agency's Canadian organization, as well as Euro RSCG 4D, a marketing-services shop. He splits North America duties with Ron Berger, CEO of the agency's New York and San Francisco offices. AdAge.com QwikFIND aap61k ... Meredith Corp. promoted Stephen M. Lacy to president-chief operating officer. Mr. Lacy, 50, was Meredith's publishing group president; no individual had held Mr. Lacy's new titles in years. Mr. Lacy will be replaced as publishing group president by John H. "Jack" Griffin, 43, president of Meredith's Magazine Division. Mr. Griffin is expected to maintain that position for the time being. Both appointments are effective July 1....Unilever named Unilever Bestfoods chief John Rice as president-CEO, U.S. division.