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

Universal McCann, Irish Ferries, Feather Brooksbank, Starcom MediaVest Group, CN Group, Yahoo,, Adconion Media Group, The Steak Group, Microsoft, Lycos Europe, Google, RDF Media, ITV, Channel 4, BSkyB, Newspaper Society, The Sun, Advertising Standards Authority, Future, Evening Standard, Amscreen, GMG Radio, Associated Newspapers, Facebook, Cronos Partners.


- Universal deal flops

Universal McCann is set to lose a potential £8m media account for Viagra after proposals to make it available over the counter were blocked by European regulators. An application to make the anti-impotence drug widely available without a prescription has been withdrawn by its manufacturer, Pfizer, after pressure from regulators. The Interpublic agency had been lined up to handle the media planning and buying for Viagra's first marketing campaign next year.

- Feather wins ferry job

Irish Ferries has appointed Feather Brooksbank to handle media planning and buying in the UK. The appointment follows a competitive pitch in which Feather Brooksbank joined forces with Ireland-based full service agency Javelin. It spent about £400,000 on media during the year to 30 September.

- Starcom hires digital chief

Starcom MediaVest Group has appointed former Yahoo chief Nic Jones to the newly created role of chief digital officer for EMEA. In his new role, he will be responsible for building the digital capabilities of Starcom MediaVest Group EMEA, the group's biggest entity outside the US. He moves from leading digital for the group in Asia Pacific.


- CN Group to axe 30 jobs

Up to 30 jobs could be lost at the North East regional publisher CN Group. The Group, which owns the Carlisle-based News & Star, has entered into a three-week consultation period with staff to determine how costs can be reduced. Staff across the three divisions - publishing, print and radio - will be consulted about the plans, which will include voluntary redundancy.


- Yahoo loses another exec

Yahoo has been hit by the departure of yet another key executive with European chief Toby Coppel leaving next year. He will be replaced by Rich Riley, responsible for leading Yahoo's Advertiser & Publisher Group in Europe, in the first quarter of 2009.

- set for revamp, Bauer Media's men's lifestyle website, is set to relaunch next month with a raft of new editorial and commercial offerings. The site will relaunch with improved navigation and new video players.

- Adconion lays off 30 staff

Adconion Media Group, the online ad network, is axing more than 30 staff across its UK, German and US divisions. Eleven of the job cuts come from Adconion in the UK, with UK and global sales headcount reducing from 20 to 13, and operational account management and account executive roles contracting from 17 to 13. The affected staff are in a consultation period.

- New Steak service launches

The Steak Group has launched a new business, Minute Steak, to provide search marketing services to small and niche businesses, led by former director of business development at a video-streaming platform company, KIT digital, Piri Ramazanoglu.

- Microsoft revives talks

Microsoft is reportedly reviving talks to acquire Yahoo's search business in a deal that could top $20bn. However, it is not looking to acquire the remainder of Yahoo's business, following Yahoo's rejection of a $47.5bn offer earlier this year.

- Lycos portal to close

Lycos Europe has succumbed to falling revenues and fragmenting market share. The company announced plans to close its web portal and hosting business with the loss of about 500 jobs. Lycos will also sell its remaining domains and shopping activities.

- Google remains prosperous

Google has assured investors its prospects have not been damaged by the global economic downturn, but it conceded it is hiring fewer staff. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt told Bloomberg TV: "We have slowed our hiring, but we're still hiring. We're still doing the same kinds of exciting and crazy things that Google always does."


- RDF Media to be sold

RDF Media, the independent producer behind shows such as Wife Swap, is to be sold to a consortium of its management and Endemol founder John de Mol for £52m. Earlier this month, RDF Media's independent directors Richard Eyre, Maggie Carver and Tim Weller announced they received a cash offer of 120p per share. De Mol is fronting his part of the bid via his investment vehicle Cyrte, which holds a 27.5% stake in RDF.

- ITV begins second review

ITV is starting a second review of its business this year, with Boston Consulting Group called in to identify millions of pounds' worth of potential savings. In September, the broadcaster unveiled plans to axe 1,000 jobs, almost a fifth of its 5,500 workforce, by next March. John Cresswell, ITV chief operating officer, said: "The need for action is therefore urgent. We need to accelerate our plans to improve the efficiency of all our operations now."

- C4 switchover cash axed

The Government has scrapped controversial plans to finance Channel 4's digital switchover with £14m from the BBC licence fee. Culture Secretary Andy Burnham said the plan to divert funds for the digital switchover, first touted last year, had effectively been supplanted by calls for "more wide-ranging" proposals on Channel 4's future funding model.

- Sky appeals tribunal ruling

BSkyB is to appeal against the Competition Appeal Tribunal's ruling that it must cut its 17.9% stake in ITV to below 10%. Earlier this month, the Competition Commission recommended BSkyB reduce its controversial 17.9% stake in ITV to less than 10%. Sky bought its stake for £940m in 2006 in a bid to prevent a takeover of ITV by Virgin Media.


- NS in planning row

The Newspaper Society is seeking an urgent meeting with the Government, arguing that new plans on planning applications could result in newspapers losing £15m a year in ad revenues. A review of the rules governing the planning permission process has put forward the possibility of removing the mandatory requirement for notices to be placed in newspapers.

- Sun rapped over Olympic ad

The Sun has been rapped by the Advertising Standards Authority for a tongue-in-cheek ad that teased the Australians after the Beijing Olympics. A lorry billboard made a reference to Tourism Australia's well known "Where the bloody hell are you?" marketing campaign to compare Britain's 19 Beijing gold medals to Australia's 14 with the strapline: "Where the bloody hell were you?" One complainant, who saw the lorry parked on a bridge on the M4, objected that the language used was offensive.


- Future posts profit rise

Specialist publisher Future posted a 3% rise in pre-tax profits for the year ending 30 September. The company behind an array of specialist titles, including T3, Simply Knitting and Total Film, announced pre-tax profits of £9.5m, up from £9.2m this time last year. However, UK revenue, which accounts for 71% of the group's total, was flat.

- ES goes digital

The Evening Standard has made its glossy magazine, ES, available online for the first time. Content from the magazine, which includes a mix of shopping, fashion, travel, food and parties, was available at from yesterday (Monday).


- Amscreen in pharmacy deal

Amscreen, the new digital out-of-home company backed by Alan Sugar, has announced a partnership with Lloyd's Pharmacy that will see the roll-out of new advertising screens in the high street. Amscreen is run by Sugar's son, and chief executive, Simon Sugar, while Lee McQueen, this year's winner of BBC show The Apprentice, is the business development director.


- GMG in Rock Radio deal

GMG Radio has sealed a deal that will see First Radio Sales take over the national and regional airtime and sponsorship and promotions activity for its Rock Radio brand. Rock Radio, which broadcasts on FM in Glasgow and Greater Manchester and on DAB digital radio in the North East and Edinburgh, will be represented by First Radio Sales. Local sales will continue to be managed by the stations' in-house teams.

IN THE NEWS - Newspaper companies set to share same headquarters

Associated Newspapers has a new lodger. Independent News & Media is to vacate its Docklands home and move into the Daily Mail owner's iconic Northcliffe House Kensington home at the end of January.

The move is aimed at saving INM more costs on top of £10m of savings announced earlier this month.

The Independent titles will have their own office space, but will share some back office services with Associated Newspapers. The two groups' commercial, editorial and management operations will remain separate.

Rumours of Associated parent DMGT buying The Independent appear off the mark, but the move could have implications far beyond their sharing a headquarters.


"Does Facebook expect to quickly collect $873m and share the proceeds in some way with our users? Alas, no"

Max Kelly, Facebook's director of security, referring to Facebook winning an $873m legal judgment against a Canadian man accused of sending millions of spam e-mails about drugs and sex to its members


59% - The proportion of media companies that still expect to secure funding for acquisitions, despite the economic downturn. Source: Cronos Partners.

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