The Week

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Hearst magazines' purchase of Seventeen magazine and related businesses from Primedia for $182.4 million in cash raises an interesting question: What becomes of the 2.5 million-circulation Seventeen? The still-top teen magazine is reeling from weak newstand sales (down24.1% in the last half of `02) and less-than-gratifying advertiser response. Ad pages fell 5.9% in the first quarter of `03 while the next big three contenders in the space all posted double-digit gains. One of those competitors is Hearst's own CosmoGirl, which since its `99 launch has seen circulation rocket to 1.1 million and claimed 19.6% ad-page growth in `02. In a brief statement announcing the sale, the company pledged to keep Seventeen and CosmoGirl as "separate stand-alone products, with their own editors and publishers." And while Hearst has pledged to keep Seventeen staffers, Internal chatter poses the prospect of Mandi Norwood, the former Mademoiselle editor currently developing a young women's title at Hearst, taking a key role at Seventeen. Ms. Norwood did not return a call and a Hearst spokesman directed inquiries to the statement. AdAge QwikFIND aao62v

Viacom sees revenue climb 7%

Viacom posted net income of $443.1 million, up from a loss of $1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2002 due to a change in accounting principles; factoring out the accounting change, net income still rose 26% from the year-ago period. Revenue rose 7% to $6.05 billion for the quarter, helped by a 6% increase in advertising revenue. Cable networks' ad revenue rose 17%, while TV ad revenue-including CBS, UPN and syndication-rose 6%. Viacom also announced a $1.26 billion deal to acquire the remaining 50% of cable's Comedy Central network from its co-owner, AOL Time Warner. The sale is part of AOL Time Warner's attempt to shrink a crushing $29 billion debt load. Viacom officials said the deal is expected to close by the end of the second quarter.

Media review set for Shell motor oils

Shell oil co.'s pennzoil and Quaker State motor oil brands have each put their media planning and buying accounts in review. The incumbent is Omnicom Group's GSD&M, Austin, Texas, which has been invited to defend the account. The agency referred calls to the company. Steve Hanson, VP-marketing for both brands, said he may move to unbundling planning and buying, but no decisions have been made. The two brands combined spend roughly $40 million in measured media annually, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. Earlier this month, GSD&M lost its bid to retain Pennzoil's creative account, which went to sibling TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., after a review.

AOL reports profit for quarter

Aol time warner reported better-than-expected results, partly due to increased advertising in its TV and print properties. AOL Time Warner posted net income of $396 million, after a loss of $54.2 billion in the first quarter of 2002. The year-ago loss was skewed by the effects of a change in accounting principles; factoring out the accounting change, net loss for the year-ago period would have been $9 million. Revenue increased 6% to $10 billion, boosted by revenue hikes in filmed entertainment, publishing and networks units. Advertising revenue at the TV networks increased 8% for the quarter, led by a 27% increase at The WB network due to higher ad rates and ratings, said Jeffrey Bewkes, chairman of the entertainment and networks group. Magazines showed a 10% increase in ad revenue from titles across the board, except for the business and personal finance publications, said Don Logan, chairman of the media and communications group.

IRI inks deal to consult with P&G

Information resources Inc. said it had signed a "multi-year" contract with Procter & Gamble Co. to provide strategic consulting services for the package-goods giant, though the company would not disclose the size or length of the deal. P&G in December said it would move its retail scanner data business to IRI's rival, VNU's ACNielsen Corp., effective July 1. Loss of the account, IRI's biggest, sent the company's stock plummeting to record lows, near which it continues to trade. But IRI contended it would keep some of P&G's panel, analytics and ad-hoc research services, which the new contract would appear to cover. An IRI spokesman described the new P&G deal as covering retail measurement, consumer insights and retailer insights-though he would not comment on whether the scope of such business was the same as it had been before P&G moved its main retail measurement business to ACNielsen. QwikFIND aao62k

FYI ...

Ford motor co.'s redone 2004-model Ford F-150 pickup line will get $100-million in advertising when it arrives later this year, a spokeswoman said. WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, handles. ... During oral arguments in the Nike free speech case before the Supreme Court (AA, April 21), Justice Stephen G. Breyer suggested Nike's statements were both commercial and non-commercial speech and said he was concerned about how to draw a line in a way that regulators can act but that doesn't hurt public discourse. ... H.J. Heinz Co. awarded Publicis Groupe's Starcom MediaVest Group media buying responsibility for its frozen food brands. With the frozen business, Starcom becomes agency of record for all of Heinz North America's U.S. consumer products. ... A U.S. Appeals court rejected Cleveland's attempt to revive an ordinance that bars alcohol marketers from advertising on the city's billboards because they could be seen by children. The three-judge panel for the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a lower court decision that Cleveland's 1998 ordinance violated free-speech protections.

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