The World: Bollore moves for more Aegis power

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[london] Havas Chairman Vincent Bollore will attempt to gain representation on Aegis Group's board of directors this week at Aegis's annual general meeting in London on June 14, two days after Havas' own annual meeting in Paris. Mr. Bollore suffered a setback last week after an influential investor trade organization recommended that shareholders vote against Mr. Bollore's two nominees for board seats.

The National Association of Pension Funds, which represents more than 75% of occupational pension plans in the U.K., warned through its voting advisory service, RREV, that "a divided board is not conducive to shareholders' interests" and said Mr. Bollore's representatives have a "conflict of interest, given that he has significant interests in a competitor."

Mr. Bollore has a 29% holding in Aegis and a 25% stake in rival Havas. He nominated Roger Hatchuel, 73, and Philippe Germond, 49, for seats on the Aegis board. Mr. Hatchuel owned the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival for 17 years, and sold it to U.K.-based media and exhibitions group Emap in August 2004 for $96 million. Mr. Germond is a former telecommunications executive.

Aegis Group is strongly opposing the appointments of the two Frenchmen to its board because of "fundamental conflicts of interest." The June 14 general meeting looks set to become a battleground as the rival parties fight out their differences. Aegis Group has called for full shareholder turnout to boost chances for victory against Mr. Bollore.

Industry insiders expect that by the end of this year, Mr. Bollore will succeed in his bid to gain enough power at Aegis to create links between Aegis's media networks, Carat and Vizeum, and Havas' Media Planning Group, even if it means increasing his shareholding to 30%. Under U.K. rules, a 30% stake would force Mr. Bollore to make a takeover bid.

- emma hall

Disney parks around globe tout dreams fulfilled

[new york] Disney Parks announced a global initiative called "Where Dreams Come True," based on nearly two years of research that indicated consumers everywhere considered a visit to a Disney park a transformational experience in which dreams came true.

"We're repositioning our entire business around that consumer insight," said Michael Mendenhall, exec VP-global marketing for Disney Destinations.

Marketing campaigns will vary by region, with the U.S. starting a push with the theme "Year of a Million Dreams" in October, while Asia celebrates the 25th anniversary of Disney's park in Tokyo and the first anniversary of the park in Hong Kong. Ads were done by Leo Burnett, McGarry-Bowen and Disney Park's in-house team, Yellow Shoes. Global print ads are in black and white, with one person in color.

"The idea is to focus on that transformational moment described by consumers as the moment their dream comes true," Mr. Mendenhall said.

-laurel wentz

Mobile TV lifts off in U.K. with trial run

[london] Mobile television is developing in the U.K., driven by a new trial supported by the BBC and the country's main commercial channel, ITV. Matthew Honey, the U.K. chair of the trial and managing director of Unique Interactive, said: "If this trial is a success, it will lead to the launch of full commercial services. Mobile TV is the buzzword of the moment, and this trial is vital to actually realize its potential in the U.K."

Mr. Honey said Unique Interactive, which works in the U.S. through a partnership with Harris, an information-technology company, expects to do similar trials in the U.S. in the near future.

Programming from BBC News 24, ITV's interactive channel ITV Play, EMap's music offering Q, Turner's Cartoon Network and Eurosport will be available on the U.K. trial. About 200 individuals will be given handsets with the relevant capabilities.

The trial will compare two types of technology and combine the most successful elements of the two. One of these technologies is used in Korea and is already up and running in Germany, where it will be available in all 12 World Cup host cities. The German effort is backed by a German mobile-TV company, a retail-technology company called Debitel, and both a public-service and a commercial broadcaster. In South Korea, more than 600,000 mobile devices that can screen mobile TV have been sold in the six months since the service launched there.

-emma hall

FYI ...

china's rocket-like growth in ad spending is slowing down. Ad expenditures reached $9.3 billion in the first quarter of 2006, representing 21% year-on-year growth, compared to growth of 27% for the same period a year earlier, according to CTR Media Intelligence, a joint venture between CITVC and TNS Media Intelligence. CTR said that new media such as mobile phones, the Internet and digital TV, are having more impact, and product placement has become an increasingly attractive option for advertisers weary of high inflation in rates on China's national state-run CCTV network. Popular contest shows such as Super Girl and Lycra Cool are also attracting money to branded entertainment.
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