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

IG Group, MediaCom, British Airways, Feather Brooksbank, GfK, Johnston Press, The Newspaper Society, Freeview, Box TV,, Yahoo, Adknowledge, The Midlands News Association, Google, The Guardian, Renault, Experian, NBC Universal,, JF Media, Sport, Victor Chandler, Celador Radio.


- MediaCom wins IG

IG Group, the betting company, has handed its £12m global media business for its IG Index brand to MediaCom. The agency landed the account following a pitch against ZenithOptimedia and PHD.

- BA reviews search

British Airways is reviewing its estimated £4m UK paid-for search marketing arrangements. The incumbent, Bigmouthmedia, will repitch and the airline has asked agencies to pitch by the end of this month.

- Feather grabs shoe account

Crocs, the footwear brand, has appointed Feather Brooksbank to handle its UK media account. The brand, which until now has relied on word of mouth and PR, is planning to launch an advertising campaign this month.

- GfK eyes TNS bid

GfK is in discussions with private equity firm Hellman & Friedman to acquire TNS and head off WPP's interest. Last month, it emerged that GfK was in talks with private equity firm Apax Partners to secure finance to acquire TNS. In July, WPP made a 260p bid in cash and shares for TNS, worth £1.15bn, which was rejected.


- Johnston to close weeklies

Johnston Press is closing two Scottish free weeklies - the Glasgow East News and Ayrshire Extra. In recent months, hit by the declining press ad market, Johnston Press has unveiled a range of cost-cutting measures and has secured new investment to buoy its business.

- Society slams BBC video plan

The Newspaper Society, which represents regional newspapers, has attacked the BBC's plan to roll out online video services nationwide, claiming it would be in direct competition with regional news websites. Last week, the society made its submission to the BBC Trust's examination into Ofcom's market impact assessment of the corporation's proposals.


- Freeview box complaints

Up to a quarter of a million Freeview users lost their service last week following an upgrade that affected set-top boxes made by Daewoo, Labgear, Triax and Bush. Freeview received more than 1,000 complaints from people whose set-top boxes were rendered obsolete by the upgrades.

- Box TV backs Guitar Hero

Box TV has secured a six-month sponsorship deal with video game producer Activision Publishing to promote the Guitar Hero game series. Activision's Guitar Hero brand is the exclusive weekly sponsor for more than 40 hours of live concerts that will be broadcast on 4Music, Kiss, Kerrang!, Magic, Q, The Box and Smash Hits until February 2009.


- Belfast paper revamps site has been relaunched, featuring a new travel section in conjunction with national sister title, The relaunch includes a redesign, new content and deeper links between the regional paper and fellow Independent News & Media sites such as

- Yahoo hires board members

Yahoo has appointed former Viacom and Universal Studios chief Frank Biondi and former Nextel Partners boss John Chapple to its board of directors, fulfilling a pledge it made to settle a shareholder tussle with billionaire investor Carl Icahn. Icahn, who has spent millions of dollars in recent months to build up a 5% stake in the company, wanted to install executives who were open to selling Yahoo to Microsoft, which failed in several attempts to acquire Yahoo this year.

- Adknowledge in UK move

Adknowledge, a US-based behavioural targeting firm that acquired Media Run last year, has launched a UK operation to host ads across Facebook's 33,000 applications. The new service offers advertisers display and integrated ad campaigns across social media applications such as Scrabulous. As well as Facebook, the network will also target other social network sites including MySpace, Bebo, Hi5 and Friendster.

- Midland sites go mobile

The Midland News Association has announced plans to launch two of its websites - Express & Star and Shropshire Star - on mobile phones. The content on and will now be available to mobile users who have web access, allowing them to see news and sport details, as well as joining online debates and commenting on stories.

- Google to launch Android

Google is expected to launch its mobile phone software platform Android within weeks, with T-Mobile set to become the first mobile operator to use it. Android offers mobile firms the potential to develop new internet services because it has been developed using open source software, which means the code is free to view, use and reuse. Given this potential, the opportunity to develop new features is limitless, compared with traditional, proprietary platforms.

- Guardian in Renault deal

The Guardian's fantasy football game is to be sponsored by Renault, which will use the platform to showcase three up-and-coming car launches of its Megane Sport brand. As part of the deal, Guardian Fantasy Football will include a tailored Renault Cup, which will run with a number of prizes. The Guardian's football management game will be backed by an extensive marketing campaign and has just become available as a gadget on i-Google.

- Web users prefer brands

UK internet users are shunning generic internet searches such as "cheap flights" or "broadband", choosing the names of popular brands instead, according to a new report. Experian identified that searching via branded keywords now accounted for 88% of all web searches, a 20% increase from 2005.

- NBC in Sci-Fi games launch

NBC Universal has launched the first interactive online games on its Sci-Fi Channel website following its purchase of a 35% stake in online games producer Bigpoint. The move is the first fruit of the collaboration between NBC Universal and German-based Bigpoint since the Peacock Equity Fund - a $250m venture capital fund that NBC Universal launched with sister company GE Commercial Finance - acquired 35% of Bigpoint in June 2008.

- Business user site opens

A new social networking site for people in business,, has launched. The site is aiming for three million users within six months and will compete with LinkedIn, which last month secured a $1bn valuation in a funding round.


- Football Punk kicks off

JF Media, the publisher of Golf Punk magazine, last week launched a football equivalent, Football Punk. The title is managed by owner and editor-at-large, former Liverpool and Republic of Ireland defender Phil Babb. Initially, it will be given away with the next four issues of Golf Punk, but a news-stand launch is planned for January.

- Sport undergoes revamp

Sport, the free weekly magazine, has undergone a revamp, led by the introduction of a new layout and several new sections. New sections include a comment page, a section called World of Sport that summarises global sport news, and Instant Expert, a guide to one of the week's hot sporting topics. Sport averaged a circulation of 315,406 during the first half of 2008, according to latest ABC figures.


- Chandler in TalkSport link

Betting firm Victor Chandler has signed a six-figure deal to become TalkSport's official betting partner for Match Day Live. The campaign is the bookmaker's first on radio in five years and will be placed at the heart of TalkSport's FA Barclays Premier League commentary every Saturday between noon and 5.15pm. The deal runs until the end of the season in May 2009.

NEWSMAKER - Paul Smith, chairman, Celador Radio

Paul Smith, the TV industry veteran behind worldwide TV quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, has realised his dream of becoming a commercial radio player.

The creator of the hit TV series with his business partner, comedian Jasper Carrott, has bought south coast station Original 106FM from Canadian media group CanWest.

Smith, who describes himself as "semi-retired" since selling the worldwide rights to Celador's hit TV shows, including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, for £106m in 2006, has previously applied for a string of radio licences but failed to win one.


"We have not figured that out yet. You're comparing a 50-year-old mature TV model that works really well versus something that's just starting"

Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, talking about his company's efforts to earn ad revenue from YouTube.


7.9 hours - average amount of time spent by UK consumers per day watching TV, surfing the net, using mobile phones, talking on a landline phone and listening to radio.

Source: Ofcom UK Communications Market report, 2008.

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