Time Warner explores millennium program

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Time Warner is having preliminary discussions about a global millennium project that would package together CNN, CNN International, Time and Fortune for advertisers.

If the project comes to fruition, it would mark the first time all four properties were bundled in a deal for multinational marketers.

David Levy, president of Turner International Sales, confirmed the discussions, but declined to elaborate. An executive close to the discussions, however, said the subject matter would likely involve a look forward at the next millennium.

`TIME' PROJECT UNDER WAY

Time currently has a millennium project under way, in conjunction with CBS and PBS, that examines the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Three of those issues have appeared this year, and three will be published in 1999, culminating in December with Time's pick of the Person of the Century.

Time Inc.'s Entertainment Weekly is also doing four millennium issues, including features that rank the 100 greatest entertainers of the last century in a project tied to a cable TV special on Time Warner's TNT.

Word of the possible global deals surfaces as Time Warner concentrates on forging a number of in-house cross-media deals internationally.

In the company's biggest cross-media deal to date, CNN International, Time, Fortune, Time Inc. New Media and CNN Interactive have all cooperated on a content initiative called "Visions of Europe" debuting this month.

It consists of a special issue of Time in Europe--out next week--a special section in Fortune, a week of special programming on CNN International and a dedicated Web site, all sharing the same "Visions of Europe" identification.

5 ADVERTISERS ON BOARD

The company has signed five advertisers for the "Visions" project, Mr. Levy said, including BMW, Iridium Communications Germany, Oracle Corp. and Vivendi, a European utility company.

"What we are thinking of doing is keeping the `Visions' brand alive past this month, and perhaps every quarter or six months updating it with features in the magazines and on CCN International," Mr. Levy said.

Time Warner is planning a similar concept for the China/Asia region, Mr. Levy confirmed.

Moreover, in Latin America, CNN International, CNN en Espanol, CNN.com, Time Latin America and Time Americas are all teaming in a project entitled "Leaders for the New Millennium" set to run and air next spring.

Copyright November 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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