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MURDOCH FORGES WORLDWIDE AD BUY P & G CITED AS MARKETER INVOVLED IN DEAL

By Published on .

After years of wishful thinking, global media buys are becoming a reality.

Advertising Age has learned that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. has struck a deal with a major U.S.-based advertiser involving virtually all News Corp. holdings worldwide.

"We do have one," said Carolyn Wall, exec VP-corporate development/sales for Mr. Murdoch's U.S.-based News America Corp.

The buyer has committed to a variety of different News Corp. media worldwide. Ms. Wall asserted: "It's not just TV. It's everything, everywhere."

Said terms of the deal require the identity of the advertiser not be disclosed. But executives familiar with News Corp.'s global packaging believe Procter & Gamble Co. may be the buyer, noting P&G is the largest advertiser on News Corp.'s Fox network.

Such a bold worldwide move also fits P&G's new strategy of buying into media copyrights that can extend its reach globally and into alternative media platforms.

"We do not provide specific information on specific media buys," a P&G spokesman said.

Another likely marketer is Coca-Cola Co., but a senior Coke agency executive said he had no knowledge of such a deal.

Although Nike is known to be in long-term negotiations with News Corp. for such a deal, Ms. Wall did confirm that this deal does not involve Nike.

The Nike negotiations are believed to be primarily for a TV programming deal.

In the late 1980s, Gillette Co. and agency BBDO Worldwide, New York, negotiated a deal with Mr. Murdoch's holdings in the U.S., Australia and Europe that they claimed was the first global media buy, but a Gillette executive said the company isn't involved in the new deal.

Mr. Murdoch's media holdings have since grown substantially, both horizontally around the globe and vertically among media.

He now dominates U.S. newspaper inserts and has grown Fox into a genuine TV network that dominates younger viewers and expects to reach older targets this season via new NFL coverage.

In the U.S., Mr. Murdoch also has a new first-run TV syndication venture with New World Communications Group, launched the fX cable network and acquired the Delphi online service.

Meanwhile, Mr. Murdoch has expanded internationally, with Star Television in Asia, E! Canal Fox in Latin America, Vox in Germany and is believed to be developing a strong affiliation with Mexico's powerful Televisa.

Mr. Murdoch and Televisa are jointly producing 500 hours of a telenovela in both Spanish- and English-language versions. The English version of the show, called "The Crystal Empire," has yet to emerge, but it's possible the program could end up on Fox's late night schedule in the U.S., or on fX.

"There's a bridge between Televisa and Murdoch," said a global media executive who has been negotiating with News Corp. "You can see where that can flow back and forth."

But Mr. Murdoch isn't alone in such global media footholds.

NBC recently partnered with Televisa rival TV Azteca. It also launched Canal de Noticias, a cable news channel in Latin America. In Asia, NBC started up business news channel ANBC, and in Europe, it controls Super Channel.

"We are finding more companies approaching us with money that is dedicated for global media buys," said Tom Rogers, exec VP of NBC and president of NBC Cable & Business Development.

CNN, a pioneer of global media buys, reaches an estimated 141 million viewers, and Viacom's MTV: Music Television reaches an estimated 252 million worldwide.

Capital Cities/ABC is also emerging with its ESPN International unit and a stake in Eurosport.

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