Planet Media - this week's media news at a glance

WPP, Marco Bennatti, FullSix, Pearson, ITV, BBC, Endemol, News Corp, Kiss FM, VNU

Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of WPP, is battling with the sacked head of the group's Italian arm, Marco Bennatti, for control of subsidiary company FullSix. Both have substantial stakes in the Milan-listed marketing firm, which agreed to a £58m takeover bid from Benatti. - The Independent, 23 February

Pearson has reported a rise in pre-tax profits of 23% to £422m for 2005, as advertising revenue improved by 9% at flagship newspaper, the Financial Times. The company, which owns Penguin Books and Pearson Education, reported a rise in turnover of 9% to £4.1bn. The FT Group saw profits rise by 37% to £101m. - Brand Republic, 27 February

ITV and the BBC have delayed the launch of their planned free to air satellite service, Freesat. The service will not now be available until next year at least. ITV is concentrating on the marketing of Freeview and is set to announce it has broken through the 10-million sales barrier this week. - Independent on Sunday, 26 February

Reality TV is here to stay as it continues to deliver ratings more cheaply than drama, according to Joaquim Agut Bonsfills, chairman of Big Brother producer Endemol. The company's net profits were up 30% in 2005, though the bulk of this actually came from scripted programmes. It is now looking to expand into soap operas, scripted comedies and sports-based reality shows. - Financial Times, 24 February

News Corp has launched a US broadcast television network that relies on a lower cost base and a fresh programming strategy. My Network TV will fill a gap left by the closure of 10 regional News Corp stations when CBS abandoned its UPN network to begin a project with Time Warner. The station will launch in September, with two hours of prime time programming. - Financial Times, 23 February

Podcasts developed by Kiss FM breakfast DJ Bam Bam, in which an anonymous London student recounts her sex life, calorie-counting obsession and relationship with her parents, have shot to the top-10 most popular broadcasts in the UK This, along with some other recent podcasting hits, threatens to take the medium mainstream. - The Guardian, 21 February

A seven-member buy-out team has its eye on Dutch business information and market research publisher VNU. Although no price has been formally fixed, the team has valued the company at EUR7.3bn with a "non-binding" approach worth EUR28 to EUR28.50 a share. The group consists of Carlyle, Blackstone, Permira, Alpinvest, Thomas H. Lee, Hellman & Friedman, and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts. - Financial Times, 27 February.

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