Articles of the Day


Bewkes Takes Over As Time Warner Chairman As Parsons Moves Out — A much-expected move has happened: Richard Parsons, the former CEO of Time Warner (NYSE: TWX), is now stepping down as chairman of the company board, and current CEO Jeff Bewkes will take over, starting Jan. 1 next year. Bewkes took over from Parsons as CEO in January this year. The biggest media company in the world has seen many changes since then: it is spinning off Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), has merged New Line Cinema and closed Picturehouse and Warner Independent Pictures, and its unit Time Inc recently started layoffs of 600 employees.

EMarketer Lowers Social Networking Forecast, Again — EMarketer on Wednesday revised its social networking outlook to $1.2 billion from $1.4 billion, the second downward revision for the sector by the research company this year. Company execs said the decision to lower spending estimates was driven by the weakened economy and a particularly poor performance by MySpace, one of the giants of social networking. EMarketer’s revenue projection for MySpace fell to $585 million from $755 million in May, while Facebook’s revenue estimate also fell to $210 million from $265 million. Overall MySpace and Facebook account to 70% of social media spending. The research aggregator now expects social media advertising to grow by just 8% next year, totaling $1.3 billion. EMarketer had previously forecast 2009 spending at $1.8 billion.

The New York Times Considers About.com And The Boston Globe Strategic — About.com and The Boston Globe are core to The New York Times Company (NYSE:NYT), CEO Janet Robinson said on the sidelines of an investor conference. Speculation about the New York Times selling off assets to pay down its looming debt load has abounded, with both The Boston Globe and About.com flagged as sale candidates. During the conference, Robinson said the company was reviewing its portfolio. The New York Times, with more than USD 700m in debt, recently borrowed USD 225m against its headquarters to pay long-term debt. About USD 100m in medium-term notes are due late 2009 and a USD 400m revolving credit facility expires in May 2009. Other logical disposals include the company’s regional papers and its classical music radio station, WQXR-FM. But, potential suitors are sparse on the ground, a banker, lawyer and analyst agreed. One logical sale candidate is NYC-based WQXR-FM, a communications lawyer said. The company used to send New York Times-branded news out through the station, but recently has switched to sending out Bloomberg news, the lawyer noted. Finding a buyer could be difficult, but even in tough economic times an FM station based in New York should be worth a “lot of money.” WQXR-FM has little revenue, but The New York Times might not want to be known for getting rid of New York City’s historic classical music station, the banker said. Source: mergermarket.

Display Rose A Meager 7 Percent Through September, TNS Says — Growth trends for display ads have been shrinking since late last year, and through September, the category was up only 7 percent, TNS Media Intelligence data shows. That’s less than half of the 17.2 percent gain TNS recorded last year. As TNS points out, growth rates have shrunk for the past five straight quarters. The TNS numbers obviously don’t tell the whole online-ad-spend story, since its data still excludes paid search. TNS’ release comes after the major ad companies released their latest forecasts, including Magna Global’s Bob Coen, who downgraded his 2008 forecast for U.S. online ad spend to 8 percent growth (5 percent gain expected in ‘09); ZenithOptimedia (which cut its global online spending forecast to 21.2 percent this year) and GroupM (which projected 10 percent global gains for ‘08 and 5 percent in ‘09). ZenithOptimedia remains the most optimistic for global online ad growth, projecting a 21.2 percent rise for the world’s web ad dollars this year and 18 percent next.

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