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Welcome to TVBR's Daily Epaper
Volume 24, Issue 64, Jim Carnegie, Editor & Publisher
Monday Morning April 2nd, 2007

TV News ®

Bid for Ion boosted
NBC Universal and Citadel LP have improved their bid to buy out other shareholders of Ion Media Networks, with Citadel investing an additional 100 million and improving the deal for preferred shareholders other than NBCU. Will it be enough? The offer which has been on the table since January (1/19/07 TVBR #13) would pay Ion common shareholders 1.41 per share, which was a substantial premium over the pre-offer trading price. But holders of the two classes of preferred stock other than the class held by NBCU had objected, claiming that they were being shortchanged. They even made their own counter-offer to buy the company, although it was DOA since it would have paid common shareholders less than the NBCU/Citadel offer and required a voluntary Chapter 11 filing, which Ion directors rejected out of hand. The revised bid from NBCU/Citadel attempts to placate the preferred shareholders by offering them a bigger payout. A letter to the Ion board describing the offer says the exchange offer for holders of the 14.25% preferred stock represents a 13% premium to where the shares were trading prior to the January buyout bid and a premium of 12-26% for holders of the 9.75% preferred stock. The eventual values could be even higher, since the preferred holders would receive new convertible bonds as well. In all, the revised bid is said to value Ion at around 2.4 billion. NBCU/Citadel have set a deadline of April 6th for the Ion board to accept its proposal.

TVBR observation: Another deadline is also approaching. NBCU's option to acquire the control shares still held by Ion founder Bud Paxson (it was previously known as Paxson Communications) will expire on May 7th. NBCU cannot exercise that option without running afoul of FCC ownership limits, but it recently transferred the option to Citadel, which has no such impediment. It is not clear whether or not Citadel will exercise the option if no deal is in place to take Ion private. TVBR understands that if the option is not exercised by the expiration date, Ion itself will buy back the Paxson stake. In either case, Bud will no longer have a financial interest in the company he started.

Tribune: Still no smoke signal from Chicago HQ
The self imposed deadline of March 31st passed without a decision from the board of directors at Tribune Company on whether to accept one of two buyout offers or continue as a public company and let CEO Dennis FitzSimons lead a management attempt to boost shareholder value. A report yesterday in the flagship Chicago Tribune indicated that the bid from Sam Zell had the edge over the revised bid submitted last week by Eli Broad and Ron Burkle. Zell valued his offer at 33 bucks per share, while Broad/Burkle valued theirs at 34, but they differed in some details. What the two bids have in common is that they would rely on an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) to borrow billions to finance the deal. The Chicago Tribune article, written by three employees who would have personal interests in the resulting ESOP, raised questions about the risks associated with such an approach. It noted how employees of United Airlines (also headquartered in Chicago) and Polaroid had lost their life savings when ESOPs went bad. And the article recounted how the ESOP at a Houston company had been converted into a 401(k) and still ended in disaster. That company was Enron. "If Tribune flourishes and eventually goes public again, employees stand to gain. If it falters and winds up in bankruptcy, their equity likely would be wiped out in the restructuring," the article noted. Meanwhile, another purported bid for Tribune has surfaced, although it should probably be noted that radio talk host and political activist Andy Martin scheduled the formal announcement of his offer for April Fools Day. He claims to be offering 35 bucks per share for Tribune through what he calls "peoples' equity" as opposed to "private equity."


When getting sidelined is a good thing
A major bone of contention has been eliminated thanks to a policy change from the National Football League (NFL). It is scrapping its rule, adopted in March of 2006, banning local televison camera crews from the sidelines of NFL games. "This change represents a major improvement over last season's restrictions," Radio-Television News Director Association (RTNDA) president Barbara Cochran says. "Now local television stations will be in a better position to provide fans with excellent game coverage." The new rule will allow five broadcast television camera crews sideline access, with five home-towners and five stations from the visiting team participating via local negotiations with each NFL franchise. The participating stations would be required to share coverage with those stations beyond the ten. The 2006 ban did not include still photographers, which had RTNDA hopping mad. RTNDA says it has been working to overturn the policy ever since it was adopted, and has managed to get legislation to that effect introduced in state houses in Michigan, Missouri and Arizona.

Will Smulyan try again?
Emmis Communications stock rose sharply Friday after Goldman Sachs analyst Mark Wienkes upgraded it to "buy" and suggested that another going-private bid from CEO Jeff Smulyan could be on the horizon. Is it just a coincidence, or has Wienkes discovered a pattern? The Dutch auction tender that bought back nearly 40% of the company's outstanding shares was announced in May 2005. Smulyan's rejected bid to buy out other shareholders for 15.25 per share was announced in May 2006. So, what can be expected in May 2007, the analyst wonders? "Given weak radio trends and Emmis' likely continued underperformance in the near-term, we believe minority investors might reconsider and now be willing to tender their shares at a 20-30% premium to current [approximately eight bucks] price," Wienkes said in his research note. Smulyan already holds 67% voting control and after a four bucks a share special dividend late last year, "the economics of a go-private transaction are increasingly viable, particularly upon asset sales or with an equity partner," the analyst said. In projecting a new target price for Emmis' stock, Wienkes assigned a 70% probability to a going-private bid and 30% to a fundamental valuation. He came out with a new six-month target price of 9.25, as opposed to his previous 7.50 target.

TVBR observation: What assets might Emmis sell to make it easier for Smulyan to do a buyout without tapping outside private equity cash? Only WVUE-TV (Ch. 8, Fox) New Orleans remains to be sold from the former Emmis TV group and its sale is already assumed in the Goldman Sachs analysis. After that, Wienkes figures Emmis could de-lever by bringing in 150 million in asset sale proceeds, while reducing EBITDA by only 13 million, but no specific sales are spelled out. The radio assets which clearly are not part of the core business for Emmis are WTHI-FM & WWVR-FM in its smallest market, Terre Haute, IN, but they are also the least valuable of the radio assets. The other radio markets are New York, LA, Chicago, Indianapolis (home base), Austin, St. Louis, Hungary, Belgium, Bulgaria and Slovakia.


Waiting for the next move at CCU
The vote "no" recommendation from Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has made it unlikely that the pending private equity buyout of Clear Channel will get the required two-thirds approval by shareholders (3/30/07 TVBR #63). With a core group of stockholders controlling 20-25% of the votes already publicly opposed to the deal as it stands, following the ISS thumbs down call Bank of America Securities analyst Jonathan Jacoby told clients he sees two possible outcomes - neither one of which is approval of the 37.60 per share buyout. "We see two likely outcomes, both of which we believe are positive for the stock. 1) The Lee/Bain group bumps their offer to get the deal done, or 2) the deal "busts" and shareholders eventually pressure CCU to increase leverage and sell off non-core assets to boost the value of the stock. Such moves could add an estimated five dollars of value, in our view, making CCU shares worth approximately 42-43. We estimate that either outcome could result in and approximately 20% appreciation of CCU stock over the next 12-18 months," Jacoby wrote. Reiterating his recommendation that CCU is his top pick of the radio and TV stocks he covers, Jacoby noted that Paris-based billboard giant JC Decaux had once again reiterated its interest in acquiring assets from Clear Channel Outdoor.

Safe seats?
Here's a follow-up to last week's story on races targeted by the White House Office of Political Affairs. We were told point blank in material attributed to Karl Rove's outfit where the administration thinks Republicans have opportunity in the next election cycle, and where they perceive vulnerability. We can infer from those lists which seats, in the Senate and in five governor's mansions, where the White House believes seats are not in play, at least not at this point. Is your senate or governor's race going to be a humdrum affair with little likelihood of generating massive amounts of campaign cash? See if your representative is on the following lists.
| Seemingly senators, governors here |


Wall Street Media Business Report TM
Liberman takes on new investors
A few days after dropping its long-pending IPO (3/14/07 TVBR #51), Liberman Broadcasting has taken on new investors to help grow the Spanish-language radio and TV specialist. Oaktree Capital Management LLC and Tinicum Capital Partners have acquired a 39% stake in Liberman Broadcasting for 155 million. Founders Jose and Lenard Liberman received 30 million for selling some of their shares to their new partners. The remaining 125 million will be used to repay the junior subordinated notes and related warrants primarily held by Alta Communications and to pay down about 47.9 million in debt, leaving Liberman Broadcasting and its LBI Media subsidiary with about 54.1 million in debt outstanding under its senior revolving credit facility. "I am extremely excited to have such outstanding institutions as Oaktree and Tinicum as partners in our business. This is the third investment Oaktree has made in LBI over the years and we have always valued that relationship. I am confident that this transaction will put LBI Media in a strong position to capitalize on future growth in the Hispanic broadcasting sector," said Lenard Liberman. Meanwhile, Liberman Broadcasting reported that Q4 net revenues rose 11% to 27.5 million, while adjusted EBITDA decreased by 26% to 9.1 million as costs increased, including start-up costs for its new Dallas radio stations. Radio division revenues increased by 11% to 13.8 million and television division revenues were up 12% to 13.7 million.

TVBR observation: If the name Oaktree Capital Management sounds familiar, it is the same company, sometimes described as a "vulture capital company," which has tried unsuccessfully to gain control of Interep (4/13/06 TVBR #73). It appears to have had a much better relationship with management at Liberman Broadcasting.

Equity is now public
Equity Broadcasting Corporation, which owns TV stations in 42 markets, closed Friday on its merger with Coconut Palm Acquisition Corporation, a publicly traded "blank check" firm formed in 2005 to seek out a promising business combination (4/11/06 TVBR #71). Coconut Palm, which had previously traded on the OTC Bulletin Board, will now be renamed Equity Media Holdings Corporation and apply for a Nasdaq listing. Under the terms of its IPO, shareholders representing approximately 1,908,911 shares elected to exit the deal and cashed out their Coconut Palm shares. In connection with the closing of the merger, the holders of EBC Class A common stock will be issued an aggregate of 20,134,501 shares of stock in the new company, while the holders of EBC Class B common stock will be issued an aggregate of 6,313,848 shares. EBC shareholders, including President Larry Morton, will own about two-thirds of the common stock of the merged company.


Executive Comment
Mel's blue smoke and mirrors
In addition to all of his obvious talents, Mel Karmazin now proves his skills as a Master Illusionist. I have known the "Zen Master" since the mid-70's when I was working Morning Drive at the original Disco 92 WKTU (NYC) and Mel was at MetroMedia's WNEW-AM. Later, I joined MetroMedia in Baltimore and shortly thereafter was approached by MetroMedia's former CFO Jerry Karas, who with his Boston-based venture partner Mike Weiner had just negotiated their very first acquisition for fledgling Infinity Broadcasting to manage their Jacksonville stations. As President of Infinity, Mel later negotiated the purchase of WKTU and the majority of the other stations then owned by a company called SJR Broadcasting (San Juan Racing). Mel's brilliance as a businessman always stemmed from his realization that he has absolutely no knowledge of or concern with what constitutes great "programming content." Recall that he once remarked very publicly that programming was just "arts and crafts" from his perspective. For Mel, it always was all about "hitting the number" Consider that in all the debate over the proposed Sirius/XM merger, Karmazin has managed to divert all discussion away from the real issues and instead focus the regulators, the politicians and even the press on "More for Less."
| Read More... |

Paul W. Robinson
Emerald City Radio Partners, Baltimore, MD


Ad Business Report TM

The 2007 upfront market:
How will dynamic VOD play a role?

For our May SmartMedia print issue's television upfront feature, we asked a few folks on the agency and client side how emerging media options like dynamic VOD ad insertion will play a role in this upfront. Here are a few excerpts:

Bill McOwen, MPG EVP, Director of media investments:
"Given its scale and current application, dynamic VOD should have a place in any local market investment discussion where it's available, but it's a little too early in its life cycle to think they'll get any notice at a national level. However, once they move past the MSO level and form a few network relationships, things could indeed get quite interesting."

Mike Jackson,
VP/Marketing and Advertising for GM North America:
"GM has, and will continue to play a leadership role in experimenting with and learning from the more precise targeting of messaging that new technologies are bringing to traditional media. And with its ground-breaking GM Showroom in VOD, we are uniquely positioned to make the best use of the new ad delivery mechanisms that are being tested and rolled out."

Andy Donchin, Carat Americas Director of Broadcast Buying:
"It's tough being on the agency side this year. We're looking at everything and we have experts who are assisting the traditional buyers. We are moving towards being just television buyers to video buyers and are trying to buy in all different streams and be a lot more knowledgeable. Not only do we do upfront meetings with the broadcast networks and the cable networks, also with the Yahoo's and MSN's of the world. Our world has expanded greatly."

Christine MacKenzie, Chrysler Group Executive Director -
Multi Brand Marketing & Agency Relations:
"People want to consume media on their terms, their timing in their preferred format and platform. The multiple platforms and extensions allow them to be even more engaged in their favorite programming. Done properly it becomes a great way for the networks to increase viewership and viewer involvement in their programs. For advertisers it provides yet another way to reach potential customers in content that is important to them."


NAB Daytime Planner
The following will be attending the NAB.
Call or email to make your
appointment in advance.

BANKERS
Brian Eick/Dave Meier/John Weller; Gladstone Capital; Bellagio Hotel;
Brian cell 847-612-3002, Dave cell 847-650-1735, John cell 509-496-3254; [email protected], [email protected], [email protected]

BROKERS
Todd Fowler/David Reeder; American Media Services; Bellagio Hotel; 843-972-2200; [email protected], [email protected]

Brian Cobb/ Denis LeClair /Dan Graves/Jack Higgins; Cobb Corp; Bellagio Hotel; 212-812-5020; [email protected]

Andy McClure/Erick Steinberg, The Exline Company, Bellagio Hotel, office 415-479-3484, cell 415-497-3855, [email protected]. [email protected]

Frank Boyle; Frank Boyle & Co.;
Bellagio Hotel;
203-969-2020; cell 203-249-7818; [email protected]

John L. Pierce/ Jamie Rasnick; John Pierce & Company LLC; office 859-647-0101, John cell 859-512-3015; Jamie cell 513-252-1186, Bellagio Hotel; [email protected]; [email protected]

Gordon Rice; Gordon Rice Associates;
843-884-3590; Bellagio Hotel; [email protected]

Dick Kozacko/George Kimble;
Kozacko Media Services; office 607-733-7138; cell 607-738-1219; Bellagio Hotel; [email protected], [email protected]

Media Services Group; Bellagio Hotel; www.mediaservicesgroup.com

Elliot Evers/Greg Widroe/Brian Pryor/Patricia Carberry-Harris;
Media Venture Partners;
415-391-4877; Bellagio Hotel;
[email protected]
mediaventurepartners.com

Brian Byrnes; Paramount Media
Advisors, Inc.; 312-396-4043;
cell 312-933-7559; Bellagio Hotel; [email protected]@earthlink.net

Glenn Serafin; Serafin Bros., Inc.;
office 813-885-6060; cell 813-494-6875; Aladdin Hotel; [email protected]

Bill Schutz; Schutz & Company; Bellagio Hotel; 757-258-8740, cell 757-880-9251; [email protected]

Larry C. Wood; Wood & Company, Inc.; Alexis Park Hotel; Office: 513-528-7373; Cell: 513-225-5100; [email protected]

Media Business Report TM
Heat-seeking talkers
The latest Project for Excellence in Journalism study of talk show topics continues the trend. Gabmeisters take whatever is getting the most heat on the news and intensify it. For the week of 3/18-23/07, the US attorney controversy was the hot topic, consuming 18% of the news hole. The story went nuclear on the talk circuit, all the way up to 29%. The #2 news story, Iraq policy, followed the same trajectory, going from 12% in news to 22% in the talk universe. Talkers also warmed up the global warming story, from 3% to 8%. Campaign 2008 seems to have been the leveling-off point, going from 7% news to only 9% of the talk hole. Only two stories made the top ten talk topics that were not on the top ten news list, but each - the general war on terror and congressional corruption - made only a negligible 1% impact.


Media Markets & Money TM
LIN closes Puerto Rico sale
LIN Television is reducing its debt load, having completed its deal to sell its Puerto Rico operations to InterMedia Partners VII for 130 million bucks (10/20/07 TVBR #205). The sale included WAPA-TV, its various satellite stations throughout the island, the WAPA America cable channel in the US, and WJPX-TV "MTV Puerto Rico."


Washington Media Business Report TM
Can CBC lure
Democrats onto Fox?

Fox News has already had one Democratic presidential debate attempt shot down, but it has teed up another proposed event, along with plans for a Republican session as well. While ideological problems derailed the earlier Democratic attempt in Nevada will probably not affect any gathering of elephants, this time the network has a co-sponsor that may help smooth the way for the gathering of donkeys as well - the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). It reprises a partnership between the two entities in the last presidential cycle. The Democratic version of the event is pegged for Detroit on 9/23/07. A date and venue for a Republican debate have not yet been determined. CBC makes no bones about what Fox has to offer. "As a leading organization dedicated to educating the public on issues of national policy, the CBC Institute is committed to presenting the presidential candidates to the broadest audience possible, said US Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS)."Our goal with each debate is to provide a platform that will allow voters to hear the positions of candidates from both political parties. Collaborating with Fox News provides an opportunity to take this presidential election to millions of households."

TVBR observation: The Nevada event had only New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson signed up when John Edwards dropped out, citing only a crammed debating schedule. Then Fox honcho Roger Ailes made some jokes at an awards ceremony, some targeting Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, and the event blew up almost immediately thereafter. We would guess that the presence of CBC on the invitation will make this event much more difficult for Democrats to duck.

NAB sends the FCC a reminder
One of the big keys to the merger of satellite radio services XM and Sirius is how the relevant market is defined. If the services are seen as just one more player in a vast audio content marketplace, then the deal has a much better chance to go through. The NAB notes that the FCC has looked into this critical matter before, "and has determined that satellite antitrust law and the Department of Justice Merger Guidelines in finding that other audio services such as terrestrial radio (including HD radio), iPods, and Internet radio are not competitive substitutes for XM or Sirius." NAB President/CEO David Rehr elaborated, saying, "This FCC decision that the current duopoly of XM and Sirius do not compete with radio, iPods or any other audio sources in the satellite radio market further undermines the arguments made by XM and Sirius to obtain a government-sanctioned monopoly. While the FCC clearly intends to examine all issues surrounding the XM/Sirius merger, the hurdle the parties must overcome to convince the FCC to change direction is very high. This is a dramatic blow to XM/Sirius' presumption of a broader market, and still more evidence that XM and Sirius compete ferociously against each other in the market for nationwide multichannel mobile audio services, and no one else."


Entertainment Media Business Report TM
Kids' WB! Adds new series for '07-'08 lineup
Kids' WB! on The CW will add five new animated series to its 2007-2008 lineup, it was announced by Kids' WB! Senior Vice President and General Manager Betsy McGowen. In addition to the previously announced all-new "Spider-Man" animated series, Kids' WB! will welcome new adventure shows - the CG-animated "Eon Kid," the multi-platform enhanced "Magi-Nation," and the action/comedy "World of Quest" - as well as a series of self-discovery for the younger set, "Will & Dewitt." "The Kids' WB! core audience thrives on heightened levels of action and adventure, and these new series promise to take our fans into realms they couldn't have imagined," McGowen said. "Each has its unique nuances, and yet all share a penchant for harrowing thrills, heroic feats and ultimate engagements between the forces of good and evil."


Internet Media Business Report TM
Advertising.com to provide ad services
for NBCU-News Corp. venture

AOL, NBC Universal and News Corp announced AOL's Advertising.com will be the ad management services partner for the companies' recently announced strategic alliance--News Corp and NBCU are launching what they dub the largest Internet video distribution network ever assembled (3/23/07 TVBR #58). Advertising.com will provide comprehensive display and video ad management and fulfillment for the new video site and for the dedicated video player embedded on that site as well as across its distribution partners. Advertising.com will leverage its Lightningcast video ad serving platform to deliver and manage advertising to support the thousands of hours of full-length programming, movies and clips that will be available across the network. The new venture plans to build its own ad sales team, with ad revenue shared. Advertising.com will also help generate revenue from remnant display and video ad space not sold by the venture's own sales team.

KNOE launches local online shopping via Local Thunder
KNOE-TV New Orleans has launched KNOEshopper.com, a local online shopping environment powered by the Local Thunder online ad platform. Through rich-content display ads, ecommerce capabilities and opt-in email campaigns, the platform is helping KNOE extend its Internet presence to an active local online ad showcase. The site went live yesterday with 50 local advertisers. With Local Thunder, stations sell the feature and content-rich ad showcase and then promote it using their local broadcasting brand. Consumers come to the site to shop local businesses and take advantage of special programs and promotions. The complete turnkey solution includes rich-content display ads, ecommerce capabilities and opt-in email campaigns. Sites can be custom-branded to a station's existing look and feel, as is the case with KNOE Shopper.com, or created with a new look.


Ratings & Research
Study suggests younger Hispanics crave assimilation
The rapidly growing Hispanic population in the US has increased exponentially the use of the Spanish language in the nation, as well as the amount of electronic media using Spanish as a primary language. But a Yahoo-Telemundo poll indicates that those who will be driving Hispanic purchasing decisions in the near future, the 14-29 demographic, are not only open to English-language advertising, they'd like to see more aimed at them as Hispanic and/or bicultural individuals. 77% said that commercials did not have to be in Spanish to address them as Hispanic; 75% said they'd like more Hispanic actors cast in English television and movies; 69% want more Hispanic programming in English; 67% appreciate biculturalism being acknowledged; and 63% want more English-language commercials targeting Hispanics. Meanwhile, only 48% crave more Spanish language programming and only 40% want more Spanish-language commercials.

TVBR observation: It would seem that these attitudes within the fastest-growing population segment in America would open a door to any company that wishes to make the effort to enter. This could be an untapped market for any mainstream, youth-oriented radio format or television program.


Monday Morning Makers & Shakers

Transactions: 2/12/07-2/16/07
The transaction sending a Green Bay television station (and a satellite) from CBS to Liberty for stock gave the week some decent value, but after moving 45 stations the previous week, licensees were content to hold this line at seven this time around. Radio was all but dormant, not even getting particularly close to 1M in total value.

2/12/07-2/16/07

Total

Total Deals

5

AMs

3

FMs

2

TVs

2
Value
64.545M
| Complete Charts |
Radio Transactions of the Week
Home, home in La Grange
| More...
|
TV Transactions of the Week
CBS trades Green Bay for stock
| More...
|


Stock Talk
Stocks end Friday mixed
Worries about international trade and inflation pushed stocks prices down most of the session on Friday, but bargain hunting late in the day gave the market a mixed close for the last day of Q1. The Dow Industrials rose six points to 12,354. The S&P 500 was up a bit, but the Nasdaq Composite was down a bit.

Broadcasting stocks got some help from Goldman Sachs upgrading Emmis and most TV stocks rose for the day. Emmis was the big gainer, up 4.8%. Entravision rose 3% and Nexstar gained 2.8%.


Stocks

Here's how stocks fared on Friday

Company Symbol Close Change Company Symbol Close Change

Acme

ACME

5.70

+0.07

LIN TV

TVL

15.90

+0.19

Belo

BLC

18.67

+0.15

McGraw-Hill

MHP

62.88

+0.24

CBS CI. B CBS

30.59

+0.09

Media General

MEG

38.16

-0.07

CBS CI. A CBSa

30.61

+0.12

Meredith

MDP

57.39

-0.18

Clear Channel

CCU

35.04

+0.23

News Corp.

NWS

24.47

+0.15

Disney

DIS

34.43

+0.04

Nexstar

NXST

9.61

+0.26

Emmis

EMMS

8.44

+0.39

NY Times

NYT

23.51

-0.04

Entravision

EVC

9.34

+0.27

Ion Media

ION

1.33

+0.03

Fisher

FSCI

48.60

+0.13

Saga Commun.

SGA

9.73

-0.22

Gannett

GCI

56.29

+0.10

SBS

SBSA

4.00

+0.10

Gen. Electric

GE

35.36

-0.19

Scripps

SSP

44.68

+0.08

Granite

GBTVK

0.07

-0.01

Sinclair

SBGI

15.45

-0.01

Gray

GTN

10.42

-0.08

SWMX

SWMX

0.85

unch

Gray, C1. A

GTNa

10.45

-0.14

Time Warner

TWX

19.72

+0.13

Hearst-Argyle

HTV

27.19

+0.24

Tribune

TRB

32.11

+0.58

Journal Comm.

JRN

13.11

+0.23

Wash. Post

WPO

763.50

-1.26

Lincoln Natl.

LNC

67.79

+0.24

Young

YBTVA

4.02

-0.07


Bounceback

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hear from you.

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Below the Fold

Ad Business Report
The 2007 upfront market
How will dynamic VOD play a role?

Media Markets & Money
LIN closes Puerto Rico sale
Reducing its debt load, completed its deal to sell...

Washington Media Business Report
Can CBC lure Democrats onto Fox?
First attempt shot down, but it has teed up another proposed event...

NAB sends the FCC a reminder
One of the big keys to the merger of satellite radio services...

Ratings & Research
Younger Hispanics
Crave assimilation to Yahoo-Telemundo poll indicates those who will be driving Hispanic purchasing decisions...




Stations for Sale
Market your Stations For Sale
in our daily epapers.

Contact
June Barnes
[email protected]

TV Media Moves

Telemundo taps two
Telemundo announced the appointment of Hilary A. Hattler as Vice President and General Manager of WKAQ-TV (Ch. 2), the network's station in Puerto Rico. In addition, Araceli de León, formerly VP and General Manager of Telemundo's independent station, KWHY-TV (Ch. 22) Los Angeles, will now take the post as Vice President and General Manager of Telemundo's Arizona Stations, KTAZ-TV (Ch. 39) Phoenix and KHRR-TV (Ch. 40) Tucson. Hattler had been VP/GM for Univision Radio in Puerto Rico.

Going digital at
Hearst-Argyle

Hearst-Argyle Television announced three additions to its growing digital media team. Terry Casey, formerly with MSNBC and FNC, has been named Weather Product Manager. Chris Steib, from NBCU, is Entertainment Product Manager. And Judy Stone, a former high school track and field player and referee who has worked at Hearst-Argyle's WXII-TV Greensboro/Winston-Salem, a will undertake responsibilities as High School Sports Product Manager.

Matt Seiler named CEO of PHD North America
It's official: Omnicom Media Group announced Matt Seiler (45) has been appointed President and CEO, PHD North America, replacing Steve Grubbs (TVBR 3/29/07 #62). Seiler joined PHD in September of 2004 as President, PHD U.S. "Matt is redefining the scope of media service companies to include all forms of marketing communications and constantly reaching further to do smarter, innovative work for his clients," said Daryl Simm, CEO of Omnicom Media Group. "His energy and enthusiasm for PHD's brand of work make him the right executive to lead clients through an ever more dynamic and competitive consumer environment."In keeping with PHD's "Pioneering" positioning, Seiler encourages his team to think about PHD's clients' businesses holistically rather than through a media filter. He has restructured around that vision. With what PHD calls Account Leads, he installed client service, much as full-service agencies have account managers, who oversee all agency disciplines.




More News Headlines

AutoTrader.com
unveils new campaign

AutoTrader.com announced a multimillion dollar marketing campaign that includes adding the New York Yankees to its roster of promotional and media partnerships with six Major League Baseball teams during the 2007 season and a media buy, beginning April 2, extending across 12 television networks. The television campaign will feature over 800 spots and 116 billboards and will run throughout the peak car-buying season from April through September. The campaign and AutoTrader.com's newly-formed partnership with MLB's New York Yankees accentuates the company's commitment to local marketing. As AutoTrader.com begins it second season of MLB partnerships, the Yankees provide a high-impact addition, in the country's largest media market, to the five returning AutoTrader.com MLB partner teams for 2007, including: the Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Each fully-activated partnership includes several of the following elements: team radio advertising, electronic or static stadium signage, scoreboard and on-line consumer promotional programs with media support and customized, in-game features. Another component of the campaign includes a national media buy, beginning today. In addition to running AutoTrader.com spots, the buy will provide additional support to select local markets throughout the country in the form of customized, market-specific, television spots and outdoor boards. The 12-network media buy includes, but is not limited to, the following: ABC, sponsoring Jimmy Kimmel Live!; CBS, The Late Show and The Late Late Show; NBC, The Tonight Show; USA Network, spots airing during Monk, House, Law & Order CI and Law & Order SVU; Comedy Central, featuring custom vignettes during April's National Car Care Month; custom integration in Spike TV's Powerblock, a 120-minute block of auto enthusiast programming on Saturday mornings and Sunday afternoons; Speed Channel, sponsoring Unique Whips and the reality-racing series PINKS; continued sponsorship of TNT's NBA on TNT Tip-Off Show; and sponsoring select programs on MTV, History Channel, Sci Fi Channel and Discovery Channel.




RBR - Radio News

Finally, a decent
month for radio

Not too many years ago, a 3% growth month would have been a huge disappointment for the radio industry. Now, though, it is reason to break out the champagne. The Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB) reported late Friday that Radio revenues rose 3% in February, building on the 2% rise in January. A lot of the February gain came from non-spot revenues, which jumped 11%, including fast-growing Internet ad sales. For spot sales, local rose 2% and national gained 1% for a spot total up 2%. Although still the weakest link, national was a surprise. "We were surprised that national was in the black this month, considering it was down 3% in January due mostly to a tough prior year comp of +6%. We had expected national to be down again due to another tough prior year comp of +4%," noted Wachovia Capital markets analyst Marci Ryvicker in her commentary on the February results. She is, however, still sticking with her forecast that Q1 will be up 3% and the full year of 2007 only 1%. Through the first two months of this year, according to RAB, radio revenues were up 3%, with spot revenues up 2% (local +3%, national -1%) and non-spot up 12%.


TVBR Radar 2007
Television News you won't read any where else. TVBR--First, Accurate, and Independently Owned.

Discovery buy-back
Discovery Communications has a deal to buy out the 25% stake owned by Cox Communications for 1.275 billion. Cox, however, will get the Travel Channel in addition to the cash. The assets being spun off to Cox include the Travel Channel, Travelchannel.com and Antenna Audio, which bills itself as "the leading provider of audio and audio-visual interpretation to museums, exhibitions, historic sites and visitor attractions around the world."

TVBR observation: The obvious question is what happens to the Advance/Newhouse Communications stake. Is another deal yet to come? Being completely owned by a public company, Discovery Holdings, would obviously simplify the structure even more. That apparently was what Liberty Media's John Malone had in mind when he created Discovery Holding two years ago.
03/30/07 TVBR #63

ISS says vote "no"
Dealing a huge blow to the pending buyout bid for Clear Channel Communications, Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) has told its clients they should vote "no." ISS, the biggest and most influential advisory firm for major investors, says it was a close call, but the offer of 37.60 per share is just too low. Two of the largest CCU shareholders, #1 Fidelity mutual funds and #3 Highfields Capital (Lowry Mays himself is #2) have indicated that they will oppose the buyout bid by Thomas H. Lee Partners and Bain Capital Partners. Glass Lewis, another advisory firm, had also advised a "no" vote, while the third big advisory firm, Proxy Governance, had given the 26.7 billion bucks buyout a tepid endorsement. The vote on April 19th requires two-thirds approval by all CCU shares and shares not voted count as "no" votes. Meanwhile CCU is keeping pressure on with yet another letter has gone out to Clear Channel shareholders urging them to vote for the 26.7 billion bucks private equity buyout. The voting deadline remains April 19th. This time the "Dear Clear Channel Shareholder" letter is signed by Lead Director Alan Feld and independent director Perry Lewis, chair of the Special Advisory Committee that evaluated the bids for the company.
03/30/07 TVBR #63

Getting Sirius about TV
Sirius Satellite Radio is making its long-anticipated move into video. The company announced a deal with Chrysler Group to offer the Sirius Backseat TV in its 2008 model lineup.

TVBR observation: The obvious limitation for Sirius is bandwidth. Spectrum being used for TV can't be used for its mainstay, radio, and vice versa. Three channels is not much of a service, but Sirius can't spare a lot of spectrum, so it is predictably targeting kids, who are the main backseat occupants. So, for just under 20 bucks a month, mom and dad will be able to listen to Howard Stern in the front seat, while the kiddies watch Cartoon Network in the back.
03/30/07 TVBR #63

Cohen predicts strong
upfront ad sales

Merrill Lynch analyst Jessica Reif Cohen is forecasting that the 2007 upfront market will be much stronger than last year, with CPM pricing increasing mid single digits and overall commitments up low single digits. The outlook is based on the unusually tight market for scatter as well as the 2008 presidential elections and Summer Olympics.
03/30/07 TVBR #63

Wal-Mart-Roehm feud ratchets up
The legal fight between a fired Wal-Mart SVP/marketing communications Julie Roehm and her former employer hit new highs after she released a statement to the media claiming she's a victim of a smear campaign. More in TVBR
03/30/07 TVBR #63

New media will not replace old media; It will become it!
Wachovia hosted an advertising mini conference 3/27. The conference included three panels, discussing recent trends in national, local and new media advertising. Their key takeaways on Television: The current television environment is strong due to both increased demand (a positive) as well as a significant amount of makegoods (a negative). Despite double digit increases in scatter pricing, the upfront may be hampered by advertiser concerns over increasing DVR penetration.

TVBR observation: All sectors of the media were examined and discussed and it would be to ones best interest to review this report and print out. Remember only you can make a difference for yourself and the television medium. Wachovia's word is not law.
03/29/07 TVBR #62

Stakeholders well on their
way to DTV deadline
Some politicians still seem very leery of the rapidly approaching day when analog broadcast television is turned off for good, but representatives of the four main stakeholders - broadcasters, cable, manufacturers and retailers, seem confident that the situation is well in hand.

TVBR observation: John Shimkus (R-IL), arguing that enough money was indeed allocated for the coupons, quoted a study suggesting that only 25% of off-air-only consumers will want converter boxes. We find that a little hard to swallow, when their option will be a blank screen. Still it is true that many will pick up a new TV or finally subscribe to an MVPD service. The Republicans on the Committee, while not conceding the Democrats' prediction that more money will be needed, generally indicated they would support additional funding if necessary. See the Testimony summaries here in this page report of TVBR
03/29/07 TVBR #62


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