FDA plans DTC-marketing focus groups

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The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) plans to conduct focus groups in 2006 on DTC marketing, among other topics, further delaying any plans to institute new rules for the $4 billion industry. According to a notice in the Federal Register, CDER will conduct 20 focus group studies, with 10 focus groups and 200 sessions per study during the course of the year. Focus groups are regularly used by the FDA to help develop policy initiatives. But in the case of DTC, it appears to be a curious choice. The FDA has been under pressure from the public and Congress to tighten regulations regarding DTC sooner rather than later. Using focus groups will only delay any potential action or reforms.

NBC to offer TV content for download on iTunes

NBC Universal last week announced it would offer up TV content for download on iTunes and already episodes of "The Office" make up five out of iTunes' top 10 most downloaded programs. Under the NBC Universal/Apple deal, NBC Universal will make available for download several series. In addition to "The Office," they include "Law & Order," "Surface," "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "Late Night With Conan O'Brien." The price per download is $1.99. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar20u

`King Kong' takes over New York's Times Square

For three minutes Dec. 5, Universal Pictures' "King Kong" dominated the neon spectacle that is Times Square, as part of a marketing partnership crafted by New York City Marketing Development Corp. and Universal Pictures, which produced the remake of the 1933 classic. The "creative roadblock," in which 20 screens in Times Square ran three minutes of never-before-seen footage of the movie, was one component of the multimillion-dollar deal between the city and movie studio. Another component included an afternoon-and-evening event in which New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined the movie's director and cast in Times Square to proclaim Dec. 5 "King Kong Day." The film opens nationwide Dec. 14.

Kliger calls for cleanup of circulation practices

The magazine business heard more calls for squeaky-clean circulation practices in a speech by Jack Kliger, Magazine Publishers of America chairman and president-CEO, Hachette Filipacchi Media U.S. "Practices that are unacceptable in any other line of business should certainly not be tolerated in ours," he said during an installment of the MPA's "Breakfast with a Leader" lecture series. "Each of us needs to take a hard look at our circulation practices and eliminate anything that has even the potential for being misleading." Circulation scrutiny has dogged the industry since incidents of improper inflation emerged at some publishers, subscription agents and sponsors.

Clark quits Lazard board, sticks with Time Warner

Robert C. Clark, a board member of both Time Warner and Lazard who found himself in an awkward spot after noted raider Carl C. Icahn hired investment firm Lazard to help oust Time Warner's board, quit the Lazard board last week. In a statement, Lazard said, "While there was not and is not any conflict between professor Clark's position on the boards of Lazard and Time Warner, we understand his decision, respect his integrity and thank him for his service for Lazard." In a statement released by Time Warner, Mr. Clark said, "I look forward to continuing to work with my fellow directors and management on behalf of the company's shareholders." AdAge.com QwikFIND aar21a

Wenner taps Weiners for `Men's Journal'

Jann Wenner raided National Geographic Adventure by hiring away its executive editor, Brad Weiners, to be executive editor at Wenner Media's Men's Journal. The move helps solidify a new masthead at Men's Journal, where two top editors have departed since October. Mr. Weiners will report to Tom Foster, the recently named editor, who in turn reports to the new editor in chief: Mr. Wenner himself. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar21o


Alan Pafenbach, managing partner and executive creative director at Arnold Worldwide, Boston, said he's leaving the agency at the end of 2005 after 18 years. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar19x ... In memory of the late chief marketing officer Geoffrey Frost, The Motorola Foundation has established the GFRY Design Studio at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Motorola CMO Ed Zander said the studio will allow students to "continue Frost's vision." ... WPP Group PR firm Burson-Marsteller appointed Mark Penn, a top adviser to Sen. Hillary Clinton and Democratic pollster, as its worldwide CEO. AdAge.com QwikFIND aar21g

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