[london-oct. 31] WPP Group entered into partnership with a U.S. investment company specializing in information and entertainment technology start-ups as part of its strategy to build a presence in new media. Media Technology Ventures, San Francisco, will focus on investments in digital media companies that create and distribute content and marketing messages in areas such as direct marketing, electronic commerce and software tools. The move brings WPP's financial involvement in new media to $10 million.
[london-oct. 31] Helen Alexander will succeed Majorie Scardino, who is leaving as chief executive of The Economist Group to head Pearson next January. Ms. Alexander is currently managing director of The Economist Intelligence Unit, the international business publishing and conferences wing of the group. Under her leadership since 1993, the EIU's profit has grown by 386%.
[hamburg-oct. 26] Unilever's German margarine and spreads subsidiary Union Deutsche Lebensmittelwerk has said it will not use soybean ingredients because of consumer resistance. The decision follows a Greenpeace campaign to prevent the use of genetically altered soybeans. The group believes their safety has not been proven. Greenpeace in October began a Europewide protest, with Unilever companies as its first targets. UDL claims it has carried out its own consumer research. "As long as our consumers don't like it, we won't do it," a spokesman said. "We have alternatives." A U.K. spokesman for Unilever said: "Unilever has no difficulty with the soybean. Our companies are free to use ingredients derived from [genetically manipulated] soybeans in any country where they have had approval .*.*."
[paris-oct. 25] The major French TV channels will, starting Nov. 18, alert viewers to the degree of violent or sexually explicit material about to be broadcast with on-screen symbols during the first few minutes of shows. However, Franco-German public culture channel Arte has turned its back on the idea, claiming that warning symbols are "more likely to incite than dissuade."