Viacom cable ad revenue rises 17%

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Viacom, set to split in two before the end of the year, reported a third-quarter profit of $708.5 million, with ad revenue up 17% in the cable-networks unit and 7% in the TV unit. Operating income for the quarter at the cable networks was up 11% to $682 million, compared with $613.4 million in the year-earlier quarter. While ad revenue was up at the TV division, which includes broadcast networks CBS and UPN, the stations group and Paramount Television, overall operating income dropped 19% from $465.7 million to $376 million for the quarter, compared with the year-ago quarter. The tough comparisons were largely due to the strong initial syndication sales of CBS hit "CSI." Separately, Viacom named veteran media and entertainment industry consultant Michael J. Wolf to the newly created position of president-chief operating officer at its MTV Networks. Mr. Wolf, 44, most recently was managing partner of media, entertainment and information at consulting firm McKinsey & Co. QwikFIND aar08v, aar08u

Hill Holliday wins $59M Liberty Mutual biz

Insurer Liberty Mutual handed its $59 million advertising business to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Hill, Holliday, Boston, following a review. The agency beat out the incumbent, MDC Partners' Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners, New York, and two other finalists: Euro RSCG, New York, and Arnold Worldwide, Boston, both owned by Havas. Boston-based consultant Pile & Co. managed the review. Liberty Mutual is the sixth largest property and casualty insurer in the U.S.

Disney unit plans book around `Lost' plot twist

Walt Disney Co.'s Hyperion Books is making the most of corporate synergy by releasing a book based on a plot twist in "Lost," the popular drama on sibling ABC TV. Next spring, fans of the show will follow the travails of a new character, Gary Troup, who delivers a book titled "Bad Twin" to the Hyperion offices before boarding the doomed Oceanic Air flight that maroons the characters of "Lost" on a mysterious Pacific island.

"Bad Twin" is described as a mystery about an heir looking for an evil sibling. It will be written by an "unnamed mystery writer" in concert with the show's writers. The identity of "author" will no doubt give fans grist for their blogs for weeks to come. QwikFIND aar09l

`Men's Journal' publisher moves to same post at `Jane'

Fairchild Publications raided Wenner Media to hire Carlos Lamadrid, publisher of Men's Journal, as the new publisher of Jane. Jane's founding editor, Jane Pratt, set off a chain of personnel moves when she announced in July that she was leaving for unspecified pastures. Fairchild named Brandon Holley, founding editor of Hachette Filipacchi Media's ElleGirl, as Ms. Pratt's successor as editor in chief. Jane publisher Mark Oltarsh was shown the door in October. QwikFIND aar08s

NBC to show `Nightly News' online

NBC is planning to stream "The NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" on along with a host of other news programming, including "Meet the Press." Other networks have content from their newscasts available to view online but this is the first example of a network streaming the 30-minute broadcast intact. Commercial inventory in "The Nightly News," will not appear as it does on NBC however, MSNBC is planning to air its own broadband commercial line up when the online newscast begins Nov. 7 at 10 p.m. EST. QwikFIND aar08z

Postal rates increase 5.4% for `media mail'

The Postal Rate Commission approved a 5.4% hike in postal rates but recommended rates for "media mail," a rate used by mailers to send CDs and books, 12.7%. The Postal Service Board of Governors is expected to vote to put the rates into effect early next year. The raise is the first since July 30, 2002, but another one is expected to be proposed early next year and to go into effect in 2007. Mailers supported the 5.4% increase as an interim step while they worked to get postal reform legislation through Congress. QwikFIND aar09a

Ad Council targets kids with healthful-eating PSAs

As food marketers face increased pressure to reduce their marketing of high fat, high sugar foods to kids, the Ad Council released the kids'-directed portion of its healthful-eating campaign for the U.S. Department of Health Education and Welfare. The ads were done by McCann Erickson and use a humorous focus of something silly and a "Can your foods do that?" slogan. The National Association of Broadcasters urged broadcasters to run the spots.

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