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TNS projects 2.6% increase in ad spending

Total U.S. ad spending is expected to reach $153.70 billion this year, up 2.6% over last year, according to a full-year forecast released by TNS Media Intelligence. The projected growth is the smallest gain since the media business emerged from the 2001 recession, TNS said, and follows a gain of 3.8% in 2006. "Our outlook for 2007 is tempered by the absence of two biennial advertising events, the Olympics and federal elections, which tend to contribute an incremental 80 to 100 basis points to growth rates," said Steven Fredericks, president-CEO of TNS Media Intelligence, in a statement. He also said TNS expects a share of total ad spending to shift from the top 100 marketers to smaller brands as media fragmentation provides more advertising opportunities for companies with smaller media budgets. TNS projects ad growth of 2.1% in the first half and 3.2% in the second half.

Epsilon to buy Abacus from DoubleClick

Alliance Data Systems Corp.'s Epsilon announced it will acquire Abacus from DoubleClick for $435 million in cash. Abacus, known for its cooperative databases, provides data management and analytical services primarily to direct marketers and retailers. Epsilon said adding Abacus will strengthen its data-driven marketing technology and services. It plans to keep the Abacus brand name. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of this year, and Abacus' 525 employees will be integrated into Epsilon.

Magazine ad revenue up slightly in 2006

Magazine rate card-reported advertising revenue for 2006 totaled $24 billion, up 3.8% from 2005, according to the Publishers Information Bureau. Ad pages were down 0.1%. Among the major ad categories tracked by PIB, there were more losses than gains in 2006. Among the decliners were automotive (down 13.8%); home furnishings and supplies (down 3.4%); financial, insurance and real estate (down 1.5%); and media and advertising (down 1.1%). Among the gainers were drugs and remedies (up 13.3%) and retail (up 9.9%).

Meredith acquires two marketing agencies

Magazine publishing company Meredith Corp. announced the acquisition of Genex, a Los Angeles-based interactive marketing agency, and New Media Strategies, an Arlington, Va.-based word-of-mouth marketing agency. Financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. Genex and New Media Strategies will operate as wholly owned subsidiaries of Meredith Integrated Marketing, Meredith's b-to-b unit that provides custom printing and online communications for business clients.

Carlson, Hawkeye form partnership

Carlson Marketing and Hawkeye|Cohesion have formed a strategic alliance to provide integrated global channel marketing services. The suite of services, called Conduit, will include channel strategy, design, execution and reporting. Carlson is a direct and relationship marketing agency based in Minneapolis. Hawkeye|Cohesion is a channel marketing agency based in Seattle.

Ogilvy Group creates brand activation unit

The Ogilvy Group announced the formation of OgilvyAction, which will provide brand activation services globally. The unit will offer promotional, experiential, sports and entertainment, digital and retail design services. Rick Roth is CEO of OgilyAction. He was previously CEO of 141 Worldwide, an Ogilvy unit.

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