Procter & Gamble Co. Chairman-CEO Edwin L. Artzt in May warned, "From where we stand, we can't be sure that ad-supported TV programming will have a future in the world being created-a world of video-on-demand, pay-per-view and subscription television."
That warning came in his speech on the future of TV advertising came at the annual conference of the American Association of Advertising Agencies. It energized agencies-particularly P&G shops-to focus on new-media issues, and his call for an industry summit was answered with announced plans for an industrywide new media meeting in March.
When the QVC Network chairman lost a heated bidding war to acquire Paramount Communications to Viacom, he issued the curt statement: "They won. We lost. Next." When Mr. Diller was thwarted in his attempt to gain control of CBS by merging it with QVC, some observers asked: "When?" With nearly a year gone by and no new Barry Diller deal: people are wondering, "Why?"
Indeed, many expected Mr. Diller to absolve himself from QVC and pool his considerable profits with an investment group to make another run at CBS, or at least another major media company. When Mr. Diller attempted to merge their investment with CBS, Comcast President Brian Roberts raised the stakes, outbidding the value of CBS' offer and killing the deal-setting up QVC to be acquired by Comcast and Tele-Communications Inc.
Mr. Diller has acknowledged his plans to leave QVC and strike out on another deal once the Comcast/TCI acquisition is completed. But he has remained uncomfortably quiet, tending to the management of QVC and its lackluster startup channel, Q2.
Achieving star status is more difficult for agency account handlers than their creative counterparts, but Steve Dworin's new-business record at Deutsch/-Dworin (now Deutsch Inc.) made him a hot commodity. When he left there last February he was deluged with calls from other top shops seeking a top-level rainmaker. For two months he fielded calls from Ogilvy & Mather, Lintas and Tatham Euro RSCG, among other agencies. His choice was one of the industry's oldest and most troubled shops, N W Ayer & Partners, where he settled in as chairman-CEO last spring.
Industry watchers allowed him a rather slow start, but activity started picking up and currently the agency is in more than a half-dozen pitches, including Avon Products and OfficeMax.
Jeffrey Katzenberg is back, even if he never really went away.
It was of little surprise to many when Walt Disney Co. CEO Michael Eisner booted Mr. Katzenberg out of the happiest place on earth in August. Everyone knew Mr. Katzenberg, then chairman of Walt Disney Studios, wanted to be Disney's No. 2 man; everyone knew Mr. Eisner didn't want him to be. Push came to shove, and Mr. Katzenberg was shown the door.
But oftentimes in Hollywood, it's not what you do but who you know. And Mr. Katzenberg knew David Geffen and Steven Spielberg quite well. News of their new studio sent shockwaves throughout the entertainment industry. It shook up Cap Cities/ABC enough to form a new TV production studio with Mr. Katzenberg's new venture. Now Microsoft bigwig Bill Gates is talking about hooking up with the big-name studio without a name.
"Southwest Airlines will not lose a fare war," Chairman-CEO Herb Kelleher claimed in a commercial that began airing in September. "Other airlines try to copy Southwest, but they're just facsimiles of the real thing. Southwest is THE low-fare airline. If there's a fare war, they're going to get nuked."
Only the flamboyant but savvy Mr. Kelleher could threaten to nuke the competition and get away with it. His airline, the most consistently profitable carrier in a financially struggling industry, this year received the ultimate compliment: United Airlines introduced its own short-haul, no-frills Shuttle by United in California. Shuttle is going head-to-head against Southwest, prompting Mr. Kelleher's tongue-in-cheek "nuke" threat.
In addition, Continental Airlines is offering its low-fare Continental Lite while startups like ValuJet Airlines are Southwest wannabes. Southwest's formula has become the envy of the industry, and Mr. Kelleher-appearing more frequently in advertising from agencies GSD&M, Austin, Texas, and Cramer-Krasselt, Chicago-intends to stand his ground as the leading low-fare marketer.
She's been called "the advertising woman of the year behind the advertising story of the year," but Ogilvy & Mather North America President Shelly Lazarus remains characteristically self-effacing about her pivotal role in landing IBM Corp.'s $500 million worldwide account earlier this year.
Well, she doesn't fool anyone. Ms. Lazarus is increasingly one of Madison Avenue's most personable, popular and powerful senior executives. She's also a mother of three who says she has never been afraid to leave a client meeting for a school play. About that she will say: "I'm pleased to have broken down barriers."
Michael A. Miles
Some said that when Philip Morris Cos. spent $13 billion to buy Kraft in 1988, one of the Kraft assets it most coveted was Michael A. Miles. Then president of Kraft, Mr. Miles quickly took over as head of the merged Kraft General Foods unit, before ascending in 1989 to CEO and, in 1991, to chairman of Philip Morris itself.
But on a Sunday last June, reportedly tired of fighting tobacco industry battles and plagued by KGF's lackluster performance-and reportedly embroiled in controversy with the board over a plan to split the food and tobacco operations-Mr. Miles resigned from Philip Morris.
Mr. Miles, a former executive with Leo Burnett Co. and KFC Corp., is still working out of a Kraft office in suburban Chicago, but hasn't yet moved on to a new challenge.
Norman Pearlstine doesn't officially take over as editor in chief of the nation's largest magazine company, Time Inc., until Jan. 1. But the announcement of his appointment in September triggered a flurry of speculation and news coverage. When the former Wall Street Journal executive editor takes over from Jason McManus, it will mark the first time someone from outside the company has been chosen as the top editor. Mr. Pearlstine has the reputation as a "journalist's editor" and many are expecting a return to the traditional, hands-on editing role that had been absent in the McManus era.
It's impossible to overstate how big 1994 was for Sumner Redstone. With two bold strokes, the 71-year-old billionaire chairman-owner of Viacom International became the most powerful individual in the communications world. First, he and Viacom engineered the takeover of Paramount Communications in a heated battle with QVC Network and Barry Diller. Then, in a $7.6 billion stock deal, he merged Viacom with Blockbuster Entertainment Corp.
Today, Mr. Redstone sits astride a "global media colossus" (his own phrase) encompassing TV production and programming, movie production, radio and TV stations, cable networks-including MTV, Nickelodeon and Movie Channel-video rentals, book publishing (Simon & Schuster) and syndication rights to programs including "Roseanne" and "The Cosby Show."
Cracks had been showing in Whittle Communications' foundation for some time, but when the end came this year-sparked by a missed payment on a $100 million bridhe loan-it came quickly. Mr. Whittle shuttered the once-hyped Special Reports media system and then pulled the plug on Medical News Network. In October, he sold the last major piece of the company, Channel One, to K-III Communications. Mr. Whittle-who once aspired to public office-remains a consultant to Channel One.