Planet Media - A speed-read guide to the major developments of the week

Publicis Groupe,, Cyprus Tourism Organisation, First Group, MEC, Global Radio, News Corp, Internet Advertising Bureau, AOL, Yahoo, Miva, Blinkx, Virgin Media, ESPN, Platform A, Telegraph Media Group, Archant, Carphone Warehouse, ITV, UTV, SMG, Channel Television, Sky, Mattel, Five, Avanti, Setanta Sport, Streetbroadcast, BBC Magazines, NatMags, PHD UK, Northcliffe Media.


- Publicis buys Performics

Publicis Groupe has moved to strengthen its recently launched global digital arm VivaKi, by agreeing a deal to buy search marketing outfit Performics from Google. Performics was acquired by Google as part of its $3.1bn acquisition of third-party ad company DoubleClick in March.

- MPG wins Rightmove has awarded MPG its £5m UK media account. Media buying and planning for Rightmove was previously held by Equinox Communications. The win follows MPG's recent acquisition of the £35m global Hugo Boss business.

- Cyprus seeks agency

The Cyprus Tourism Organisation has kicked off a search for a media agency to handle its estimated £2m account. Carat previously handled the media account for a one-off TV project in May, but did not retain the company as a client.

- MEC Manchester takes First

First Group, the bus and train operator, has awarded its media account, estimated to be worth £10m, to MEC Manchester. The latter pitched against the incumbent, Feather Brooksbank.


- Global to appease OFT

Global Radio has proposed to divest several radio stations in the Midlands to appease the OFT's competition concerns over its £375m acquisition of GCap Media. The OFT, which is examining the planned deal, said it is considering undertakings proposed by Global Radio that are aimed at remedying its competition concerns over the deal. Global has offered to divest a package of radio stations to purchasers approved upfront by the OFT. The OFT cleared the London aspects of the transaction.


- News Corp profits leap

News Corp posted a 21% year-on-year rise in pre-tax profits for the 12 months to 30 June, boosted by a 57% revenue increase at MySpace owner Fox Interactive Media, although it warned of a more challenging economic environment over the next year. News Corp said that, for the three months to 30 June, Fox Interactive Media posted revenue of $225m, up 23% year on year, and pre-tax profits of $6m.


- IAB's video ads plan

The Internet Advertising Bureau is launching the first industry-wide standards for online video advertising, backed by the likes of AOL, Bauer and Sky. The standards cover pre, mid and post-roll video ads. The key recommendations of the standards include that video ads should be 15 seconds or less, that they should be in widescreen (16:9 ratio), and have legible text.

- AOL's ad revenue setback

AOL has become the latest media owner to be affected by the slowdown in the global economy, with its ad revenue growing by just 2% during Q2. AOL is engaged in a strategy of focusing increasingly on advertising sales, following the sale of several of its ISP businesses around the world. AOL ad revenue in Q4 2007 was up 18% from Q3.

- Yang's Yahoo voting error

The scale of shareholder opposition to Yahoo chief executive Jerry Yang's re-election to its board at last week's AGM was bigger than it first reported, Yahoo has admitted. Initially, Yahoo announced that 14.6% of shareholders withheld their votes in Yang's re-election to the board, but later admitted there was a counting mistake, and that 33.7% of shareholders withheld their votes.

- Miva rejects $40m bid

US-based Miva has rejected a $40m ($1.20 a share) takeover offer from video search outfit Blinkx, which was looking to expand its digital offering. Miva operates a portfolio of websites through its direct division and runs a third-party ad network through its media division.

- Virgin boosts sport content is boosting its sports content after striking a deal with digital programming provider Perform. The deal with Perform, which follows an earlier deal to provide football highlights, adds a wider range of football, tennis, golf and motorsports content to the Virgin Media sports portal,

- ESPN expands digital

Disney-backed sports broadcaster ESPN has made its third major digital acquisition in the past year, agreeing to buy motor racing website ESPN last year acquired rugby news website and cricket website

- Platform A's first UK client

Platform A, AOL's advertising division, has secured Glasses Direct as its first UK customer. Display advertising will be handled by Platform A's third-party advertising network, while affiliate activity will be handled by AOL's affiliate specialist


- TMG overhauls commercial

Telegraph Media Group has further rejigged its commercial operation by overhauling Telegraph Direct with the creation of a centralised department integrating its direct marketing, data and consumer contact centre services. The new unit will allow TMG clients to target customers via numerous means such as subscriber rewards and bespoke mail.

- Archant boosted by digital

Regional publisher Archant increased digital ad revenue by 63% in the first half of 2008, although print property and recruitment revenue were down 19% and 5% respectively. Archant's pre-tax profits were 8.9% down from 2007, with total turnover decreasing to £93.6m from £98.5m in 2007.


- X Factor sponsor renews

The Carphone Warehouse is sponsoring ITV entertainment show The X Factor for the second year running. The show returns for a fifth series on ITV1 this weekend. The on and off-air sponsorship package includes broadcasts on ITV1 and ITV2, as well as sponsorship of The X Factor website.

- Virgin Media ads increase

Virgin Media TV reported a 10.6% year-on-year lift in ad revenue for the three months to 30 June, helping to lift overall revenue for the TV operation by 9.3% to £28.3m. In Q2, Virgin Media added 24,800 net TV subscribers, compared to just 2,200 net additions in the same period of 2007 - a time when Virgin Media's appeal had been hit by the removal of Sky's basic channels from its TV platform.

- ITV to up charges to indies

ITV is facing a backlash from UTV, SMG and Channel Television, the three remaining independent parts of the ITV Network, over its plans to increase the amount it charges them to carry its content.

- Sky refreshes basic channels

Sky is rebranding its basic-tier channels - renamed Sky 1, Sky 2 and Sky 3 - in what it is hailing as the "largest refresh" since their launch, with new logos and idents for its autumn schedule launch on 31 August.

- Mattel backs Boomerang

Mattel doll brand Barbie is to sponsor Turner Broadcasting's kids channel Boomerang until December. Negotiated between Turner Media Innovations and agency Carat Sponsorship, the campaign will support Mattel's core product range Barbie Life.

- ITV online rethink

ITV has been forced to push back its online revenue targets by two years and slash its global content revenue forecasts by £200m. It now hopes to expand its annual online revenues organically to £150m by the end of 2012.

- Sky/Five cricket deal

Sky and Five have secured a combined £300m deal for the rights to air matches involving the England cricket team between 2010 and 2013. The deal means that there will continue to be no live cricket on terrestrial TV until 2013 at the earliest.


- Avanti in £8m Setanta deal

Digital screen firm Avanti has secured an £8m deal to sell ads around Setanta Sports broadcasts in pubs and clubs across the UK. Avanti will sell ads around Setanta coverage of, among others, the English and Scottish Premier Leagues, FA Cup and England football internationals. The three-year deal runs until the end of August 2011.

- Streetbroadcast expands

Streetbroadcast is continuing the roll out of its nationwide digital StreetLive network, installing 10 new screens. The company now has 45 screens installed across 20 cities and London boroughs and aims to have 50 up and running by the end of August this year.


- BBC to launch new mag

BBC Magazines is to launch Lonely Planet magazine later this year. The launch of the title is the first major brand extension of the travel guide publisher since the BBC's commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, acquired a 75% stake in the company last October. The title will be available to buy on the news-stand and via subscriptions.

- Reveal rebrands

NatMags' celebrity weekly Reveal is rebranding as the "celebrity magazine written by celebrities". Reveal has recruited a line-up of famous experts to supplement its editorial with celebrity-written advice on subjects such as money, beauty and homes. Reveal will also feature a new look and cover. On sale from 19 August, the cover price will remain at £1.20.

NEWSMAKER - Philippa Brown, chief executive, PHD UK

After a protracted search, PHD UK has settled on Philippa Brown as its new chief executive.

Following a career working for firms such as Bartle Bogle Hegarty and IPC, Brown has landed the top PHD job just 16 months after joining the agency's Omnicom parent group.

She follows Morag Blazey into the PHD hot seat, who stepped down in January after 14 years with the agency.

Under Brown's interim leadership, PHD has enjoyed a good 2008, securing new business wins including Cadbury and AA/Saga.

Brown will continue to be chief executive of Omnicom Media Group UK.


"It couldn't come at a worse time and it seems to me that the BBC is insensitive or completely disregards the impact of its plans on the commercial media in the regions"

John Meehan, regional editorial director at Northcliffe Media North-East, attacking BBC plans to spend £23m on a local online news service


20% - the expected year-on-year decline in ITV's TV ad revenue in September.

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