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[New York] VNU's Nielsen Media Research revised the total number of TV households in the U.S., estimating that there are 110.2 million TV households in the U.S., up from 109.6 million in the 2004/2005 season-a 0.5% change. According to a company statement, Nielsen also expanded its count for certain minority groups. The most stunning increase is in the number of Asian TV homes, rising by 3.2% to 4.22 million. Hispanic TV homes are up 2.9% to 11.23 million, and African American homes are up by 0.8% to 13.2 million. See QwikFIND aaq87s

Verizon lands Legend for exclusive VCast video

[Bedminster, N.J.] Verizon Wireless has upped the ante in the wireless content wars with the release today of a music video, John Legend's "Number One" on its VCast service on an exclusive basis through the end of the year. Cingular Wireless has been breaking ground with its Cingular Sounds music product by debuting Coldplay and Foo Fighters singles as ring tones before they were heard elsewhere.

A-B tests caffeinated Natural Light brew

[St. Louis] Anheuser-Busch is preparing to test market Natty Up, a caffeinated version of value-priced brew Natural Light, according to a company memo. It's aimed at young adults who knock back vodka and Red Bulls and will be tested in markets in North Carolina, Florida, Missouri and Texas. A-B already has introduced two other caffeinated malt beverages, B to the E and Tilt.

NHL taps three shops: Rangers pick agency

[New York] The National Hockey League this morning will announce at least three agency appointments, executives with knowledge of the assignments said. The league has tapped Conductor as its lead creative agency; CarryOn, for its branded entertainment initiatives; and Omnicom Group's PHD for media buying and planning. Agency and league executives could not be reached for comment. Separately, the New York Rangers have awarded their creative duties to hot New York boutique shop The Brooklyn Brothers. The Rangers spent $41,000 in measured media in both 2003 and 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence.

Bloomberg tops cable among affluent viewers

[New York] The Mendelsohn Affluent Survey, which measures media habits in households with income above $85,000, has revealed the top cable channels for targeting high-end consumers. Bloomberg Television ranked at the top or near top of many of the company's listings. For instance, among CEOs and chief operating officers the channel was No. 1, while Comcast's The Golf Channel was No. 2. The survey also turned up some unusual findings about which high earners watch what on TV. Chief purchasing officers' top channel is Spike TV, while chief marketing officers are found watching Bloomberg Television, The Golf Channel and Fox News Channel.

NAA says newspaper ad spending up to $22.2B

[New York] Ad spending in newspapers increased 2.2% to $22.2 billion during the first six months of 2005, compared with the first half of last year, according to the Newspaper Association of America. Among print categories, classified ad spending grew the most, 4.4%, to total $7.8 billion. Retailers also increased their newspaper spending, which rose 2.1% to $10.4 billion. National ad revenue, however, fell 1.8% to $3.9 billion. When newspapers' print and online revenue were combined, the association said, ad spending for the half rose 3.2% to $23.2 billion.

Time Inc. cuts back after weak ad sales

[New York] Time Inc. has begun pursuing cutbacks after ad sales proved weaker than hoped. In an Aug. 26 memo to Sports Illustrated staff, executive editor Michael Bevans wrote, "Every division of the company has been asked to cut costs for the rest of the year." Among the directives: a company-wide hiring freeze; no travel by department heads, editors or other nonwriting staffers without approval by the managing editor; and no more reimbursement for entertaining media types from outside the company. A spokeswoman at Time Inc. confirmed the authenticity of the memo, which was posted on, and said similar memos have gone out to other Time Inc. titles.

BofA to announce pick for $600M biz this week

[New York] Bank of America is expected to decide this week which holding company will handle its $600 million marketing account. Last week, executives from incumbent Interpublic Group of Cos., including Chairman-CEO Michael Roth, met with BofA in an attempt to save a business that's widely expected to move to either Omnicom or WPP Group. Executives from those holding companies have pitched for the account in recent weeks. A loss would be a major blow to Interpublic, as it's already facing a variety of operational and financial problems.

HP inserts product features into spots

[Palo Alto, Calif.] Hewlett-Packard Co., under a new marketing direction since the departure of Chief Marketing Officer Carley Fiorina and pitted in a photo printer battle with Kodak and Cannon, is adding a stronger product-focused element to its popular photo printer campaign. The spots, from agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, San Francisco, continue with the transformation of photos from two to three dimensions, but add mention of features such as new technology for prints lasting 108 years.

FYI ...

Sara Lee Corp. last week named former Kimberly-Clark Corp. VP-senior marketing officer Kim Feil to the position of senior VP-chief marketing officer for its Sara Lee Food & Beverage unit's North American retail brands. ... Continuing the celebrity beauty trend, Estee Lauder Cos. has signed tennis star Serena Williams to develop a guest collection for its Flirt! makeup brand, which is carried in Kohl's department stores. The line will debut in February 2006. ... Sun-Maid Raisins has parted with WPP's Y&R, San Francisco, its agency of more than a dozen years, and named Interpublic's McCann Erickson, Los Angeles, agency of record. Sun-Maid is considering stepping up its TV advertising. Spending was $6 million in 2004, according to TNS Media Intelligence. ... Jack in the Box has begun pulling its 18-month-old Pannido toasted deli-style sandwich line, a company spokeswoman confirmed.

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