February 25, 2024

Online Music Service Rdio in Deal With Cumulus

As radio broadcasters go digital and online music services try to stand out in a crowded market, both are finding ways to scratch each other’s backs.

On Monday, Cumulus Media, which operates 525 radio stations, will announce a deal with Rdio, a subscription music service from the founders of Skype, that will give Cumulus an online outlet and help Rdio compete against more established players like Spotify.

In exchange for what it calls a significant equity stake in Rdio’s parent company, Pulser Media, Cumulus will give Rdio broad access to its programming and promote Rdio on its stations.

“This is our digital play,” Lewis W. Dickey Jr., the chief executive of Cumulus, said in a joint interview on Friday with Rdio’s chief, Drew Larner.

Crucially for Rdio, which was introduced in 2010 and has struggled to gain a foothold in the market, Cumulus will also sell advertising for a free version of the service in the United States. Rdio, which costs $5 to $10 a month and is available in 31 markets around the world, lets its subscribers listen to millions of songs, build playlists and interact with other users.

“The biggest challenge we face is really awareness,” Mr. Larner said. “We live in this bubble in which everybody is talking about this stuff constantly, but to the wider world, streaming is still relatively nascent.”

The deal between Rdio and Cumulus is a trade, with no cash changing hands. Further terms were not disclosed, but the value of Cumulus’s content and services is estimated at more than $100 million.

Cumulus operates stations like Nash FM (WNSH, 94.7 FM), the only country outlet in New York, and the rock station KFOG-FM in San Francisco. Last month, it announced a $260 million deal to buy Dial Global, which syndicates programming like NBC News and sports from the National Football League and the N.C.A.A. to thousands of stations; that deal is still subject to regulatory approval.

Cumulus will draw on its stations and syndicated shows to create playlists and other programs for Rdio users, stripping out localized details like traffic and weather.

That kind of content could give Rdio an edge against other services. But even more important is its ability to offer a free, ad-supported version to compete directly against Spotify. Cumulus will use its 1,500 sales agents around the country to sell commercials for Rdio’s free version, which is expected by the end of the year, and the companies will share ad revenue.

Rdio has never revealed its subscriber numbers, but they are believed to be far lower than those of Spotify, which has more than 24 million users, 6 million of whom pay. Yet recent studies of Rdio’s popularity in Google searches suggest it is faring well against other competitors like Rhapsody, Slacker and Mog.

Cumulus already supplies streams of its stations to Clear Channel Communications’ iHeartRadio app, a deal that should continue through at least next year. But Mr. Dickey called that arrangement “a marriage of convenience” and said that the Rdio deal allowed it to do much more.

“We’re trying to be much more active in the audio ecosystem than just passively handing our streams over,” Mr. Dickey said. “That has severe limitations in terms of our ability to monetize.”

By moving to the so-called freemium model, Rdio is hoping to attract new customers who can be enticed into paying for premium service. That model has allowed Spotify to grow more quickly than its competitors, but it is still a subject of debate in the industry over how many people will ultimately pay for service when so much digital music is available free.

“It’s not that people don’t like streaming music,” said Mark Mulligan, a music technology analyst. “It’s that people are unwilling or unable to pay $9.99 for the privilege.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/16/business/media/a-digital-deal-for-cumulus-and-rdio.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Cumulus Media Will Buy a Radio Syndicator

The deal, which was announced on Friday and is subject to regulatory approval, would let Cumulus beef up its syndication business with programs from the National Football League, the Olympics and Nascar, as well as news and entertainment. And it represents talk shows like “Loveline ” for advertising. Clear Channel’s Premiere Radio Networks division dominates the market with major talk hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

“These transactions give us the necessary scale to provide the marketing and enterprise solutions our advertising and affiliate partners require,” Lewis W. Dickey Jr., the chief executive of Cumulus, said in a statement. “Our goal is to be the leading producer of premium audio content distributed through multiple platforms while continuing to build our broadcast platform in the top 100 U.S. markets.”

The complex deal involves four radio companies. To finance its acquisition of Dial, Cumulus is selling 68 of its stations to Townsquare Media, a broadcaster that operates mostly in small markets. Townsquare will pay $238 million for 53 of those stations.

For the other 15, Townsquare will give Cumulus five stations in Fresno, Calif., that it is acquiring as part of an 11-station deal with yet another radio owner, Peak II Holding. (To comply with Federal Communications Commission regulations, Townsquare will place three of the stations from Cumulus in trust for a future sale.)

If all the transactions are approved, which the companies said they expect by the end of the year, Cumulus will be left with 460 stations in the United States, and Townsquare with 312. CBS Radio has 126 stations, but most are in larger markets and have greater revenue.

“Cumulus wants to raise its profile in larger markets to better compete with CBS and Clear Channel, and Townsquare gets a lot bigger out of this in smaller markets,” said Tom Taylor, who writes a newsletter on the radio industry.

Developing and branding content has become critical for radio broadcasters as they face competition from satellite and digital services like Pandora. Those services are starting to become common features in new cars, radio’s traditional stronghold.

This year Cumulus brought country music back to the New York market with Nash FM (WNSH, 94.7 FM). It plans to extend the Nash brand on the radio and on other platforms. Clear Channel, too, has been heavily marketing its iHeartRadio app, which streams its stations and also has a Pandora-like custom listening feature; Clear Channel will present its third annual iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas next month.

“Players like Pandora are pushing into the car, so having other content that’s differentiated from music is a good place for them to be,” said James M. Marsh, a media analyst at Piper Jaffray Company in New York.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/31/business/media/cumulus-media-will-buy-a-radio-syndicator.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

M.L.B. Media Company Buys Rights to Live Concert

The concert — called the Global Citizen Festival — has no connection to baseball, and that’s partly the point. MLB Advanced Media says it wants to distribute all sorts of live events in the future, some free to users and some on a subscription basis.

“We want to gain experience selling worldwide rights,” said Bob Bowman, the chief executive of the division, which is jointly owned by the league’s 30 clubs. The clubs all stand to profit as the division sells its live-streaming services to more and more purposes.

Already, MLB Advanced Media provides the back-end technology for Glenn Beck’s Internet television channel, ESPN3’s streams of sporting events and an in-flight TV service on Southwest Airlines, in addition to the hundreds of out-of-market baseball games that it makes available through MLB.tv.

Mr. Bowman said the league saw opportunities to own the distribution rights to programming, just like television networks historically have.

It is not the only digitally oriented company thinking along these lines: last week, according to the technology news Web site AllThingsD, Google’s chief executive, Larry Page, and the National Football League commissioner, Roger Goodell, met and discussed, among other things, the Sunday Ticket package of football games that DirecTV currently distributes. DirecTV’s rights to Sunday Ticket expire at the end of the 2014 football season, and Google could outbid the satellite company in the future.

When the Google-N.F.L. possibility initially surfaced in news reports, “no one laughed, no one thought it was odd,” Mr. Bowman said, asserting that it was just a matter of time before such situations start to come true.

With the Global Citizen Festival, MLB Advanced Media is turning around and distributing the concert — which it will produce with AEG, the live-event giant — in a number of ways.

“This is the first time we’ve ever purchased worldwide rights for TV, radio — well, what we used to call TV, what we used to call radio — and digital,” Mr. Bowman said.

Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, John Mayer and Kings of Leon will perform at the second annual concert, which will be held in Central Park in September. The event is a fund-raiser for the Global Poverty Project, an antipoverty advocacy group.

“The idea is to maximize the eyeballs for it,” said Noah Garden, an executive vice president at MLB Advanced Media. He said it would be live-streamed on Web sites like YouTube and The New York Times and will most likely be repackaged into a two-hour special for a major television network. (Those negotiations are continuing.)

“Live events are content that people want. I think you’re going to see more and more of these,” Mr. Bowman said.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/26/business/media/mlb-unit-buys-rights-to-broadcast-live-concert.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Media Decoder Blog: The Breakfast Meeting: TV Pilots Move to the Web and Fox Prepares to Take On ESPN

TV shows like “House of Cards,” “Hemlock Grove” and the latest iteration of “Arrested Development” are debuting regularly on streaming services like Netflix, signaling a departure from traditional networks and a sea change in the way television is viewed, Brian Stelter writes. Amazon.com and Microsoft are also commissioning original shows for their millions of subscribers. The shows’ production values now rival those of network television, and their proliferation is seen as a good thing for viewers that may inflame cable companies’ concerns about cutting the cord.

On Tuesday Fox will announce its intention to start Fox Sports 1, an all-sports network that will challenge ESPN’s television sports empire, by this August, Richard Sandomir and Amy Chozick report. The channel will carry Nascar races, Major League Baseball games, college basketball and football, soccer and U.F.C. fights, as well as studio shows. Fox will join an already crowded market. ESPN’s many offerings, including eight cable channels, radio network, Web sites and ESPN3 broadband network, collectively generate $6 billion annually. And then there are sports channels from NBC, CBS, the Big Ten and Pacific-12 conferences, and Major League Baseball, the National Football League and National Hockey League. Nevertheless, Fox is regarded as asset-rich, with deals in place to broadcast many sporting events, and has already spent months planning to convert Speed, a cable motor sports channel, into Fox Sports 1, and Fuel, another channel, into Fox Sports 2.

New advertising agencies are proliferating in San Francisco, Stuart Elliott reports. The agencies, often start-ups by people with years of industry experience, have embraced the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley coupled with a San Francisco independence peculiar to the city’s ad industry. Innovative thinking and offbeat nomenclature are the norm, as evidenced by agencies like Cutwater, Dojo, Eleven, Mekanism, Odopod, Sequence, Signal to Noise and AKQA (for “all known questions answered”).

An advertising campaign for the city of Houston has undergone a makeover, from a focus on celebrities who hail from that city to the lesser-known chefs, restaurateurs, artists, designers, actors, musicians and curators who make the city vibrant, Stuart Elliott writes. The campaign, called “Houston Is,” replaces the “My Houston” campaign, which has run for five years. The campaign, produced internally at the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau and with an estimated budget of $440,000, will sell the Houston by celebrating the Houstonians who are the driving forces behind the restaurants, museums, galleries and other attractions.

The Walt Disney Company plans to offer advertisers guarantees for video programming from ABC, ABC Family and ESPN distributed both online and on television, Bill Carter reports. ABC has aggressively sought a way to gather data necessary to make predictions for both television and online viewing. Television networks traditionally guarantee advertisers that they will deliver a certain number of viewers in specific demographic groups and provide free advertising if viewership falls short of the guarantees. Online viewing has lacked a service that could provide specific data about audiences — Nielsen is now using data from Facebook to help identify viewer makeup for shows.

Article source: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/05/the-breakfast-meeting-tv-pilots-move-to-the-web-and-fox-prepares-to-take-on-espn/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Campaign Spotlight: Snickers Aims Print Ads at Consumers ‘Hungry’ for Redemption

The print version of a campaign for a popular candy brand is turning from fake ads to real coupons.

The candy is Snickers, sold by the Mars Chocolate North America division of Mars. For the last three years, Snickers has been the subject of a well-regarded campaign that carries the theme “You’re not you when you’re hungry,” which supplements the brand’s longtime slogan, “Snickers satisfies.”

The Snickers campaign, by BBDO New York, is best known for its television commercials, which feature pairs of celebrities in everyday situations like playing touch football, taking a road trip or attending a party. The stars include Betty White and Abe Vigoda, who kicked off the campaign with a spot in the Super Bowl in 2010; Aretha Franklin and Liza Minnelli; Roseanne Barr and Richard Lewis; Joe Pesci and Don Rickles; and, in the most recent commercial, introduced last month, Robin Williams and Bobcat Goldthwait.

The punch line of the commercials is that the celebrities are actually regular people who are behaving badly because they are hungry. Once they eat a Snickers bar, they become their usual, non-famous selves again.

The Snickers campaign has had a print element in addition to the commercials, composed of ads in magazines that expressed the idea of celebrities misbehaving in a different way. The magazine ads last year, tied to a National Football League sponsorship, featured two former football stars, Jerome Bettis and Joe Theismann, spoofing the concept of celebrity endorsements.

Magazine readers saw on the left side of a page an ad for a wacky product, endorsed by Mr. Bettis or Mr. Theismann, like a teddy bear encased in a snow globe, a line of “pro-matherapy” candles and thigh-high boots made of “game-grade footballs.” There was no indication the ads were not real other than the improbability that such oddball products would actually exist.

On the right side of the page, Mr. Bettis and Mr. Theismann returned, asking the readers to ignore or disregard their previous ads and apologizing because they “make bad decisions” or “have poor judgment” when they are hungry. Those ads included the Snickers logo and slogans.

For 2013, the print ads are taking another tack to bring to life the concept that hunger clouds decision-making. The new ads, which are running in issues of six magazines, use well-known brands in place of celebrities and include real discount coupons in place of fake ads for make-believe products.

The first ad in the new series is intended for hungry husbands, boyfriends and significant others. It offers a coupon good for 20 percent off the price of a bouquet from ProFlowers, which is redeemable online.

Underneath the coupon are these words: “If hunger caused a delayed reaction to ‘Is she prettier than me?,’ use this coupon. But next time, eat a Snickers.” And under the text are the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” and “Snickers satisfies” slogans.

The ad co-branded with ProFlowers, part of Provide Commerce, was timed to start running before Valentine’s Day, but the offer is good through March 31. The ad is appearing in Entertainment Weekly, ESPN the Magazine, In Touch Weekly, Life Style Weekly, People and Sports Illustrated.

The discount coupon is also being offered in social media, on the Snickers fan page on Facebook and the brand’s Twitter feed.

“There are many opportunities to extend the campaign beyond television,” says Roy Benin, chief consumer officer at Mars Chocolate North America in Hackettstown, N.J., “in print and in digital.”

The coupon offers “a way for us to talk to men in a way they’ll say, ‘That’s me,’ have a chuckle and get rewarded with a discount,” he adds. “And women could find humor to it as well.”

Adding reality to the print portion of the campaign underlines that the campaign is “rooted in a universal truth,” Mr. Benin says, referring to the “You’re not you when you’re hungry” idea.

Executives are working on additional print ads offering discount coupons, he adds, as well as digital and in-store iterations.

Once the decision was made to feature a florist in the first ad, ProFlowers was selected to appear by the consumer promotions team at Mars Chocolate North America.

“We’ve shown lots of things that can go wrong” in the campaign, says Peter Kain, senior creative director at BBDO New York, and the goal of the new print ads is to offer “a funny way to atone for your hungry mistakes.”

The premise of the first ad is that “you’re in a relationship and you said the wrong thing, maybe because you’re hungry,” he adds.

From the beginning, the idea “was to use real companies and make them authentic coupons,” Mr. Kain says. “Stay tuned; we’re working on some more.”

“Snickers has so much equity in the area of hunger satisfaction,” he adds. “You get endless material out of it.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/19/business/media/snickers-aims-print-ads-at-consumers-hungry-for-redemption.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

The Fifth Down: Time Warner Will Carry NFL Network

6:00 p.m. | Updated Time Warner Cable agreed Friday to carry the NFL Network, ending an occasionally contentious nine-year impasse.

The National Football League’s channel will be available by Thursday to Time Warner Cable’s digital subscribers—about 9.5 million out of the 12.3 million cable customers nationwide. In the New York City market, the company has just over one million cable customers.

In addition, the NFL Network’s companion service, the cultish NFL RedZone channel — which moves frenetically among the Sunday afternoon games to show teams inside their opponents’ 20-yard lines and sometimes as they cross the 50-yard line — will be available Sunday on Time Warner Cable’s Sports Pass tier, which costs $5.95 a month in the New York City market.

In the metropolitan area, the network will be carried on channel 176 in standard definition and on channel 462 in high definition.

The Red Zone will be shown on channel 177 in standard definition and channel 463 in high definition.

The two sides have been negotiating for a while but the agreement coincidentally came one day after the Giants beat the Carolina Panthers on the NFL Network—a game that Time Warner Cable’s local customers were only able to watch on Channel 11. The deal makes Time Warner Cable the last major cable, satellite or telephone company to come to terms with the N.F.L.’s channel, which now has about 70 million subscribers.

Steve Bornstein, the NFL Network’s president, said from Los Angeles that the expansion to 13 Thursday night games this season, from eight, and last month’s deal with Cablevision, another long-term holdout that agreed to carry the channel, “added impetus to getting this done.”

Regarding the length of time it took to make the deal, he said, “As Jimmy Valvano said, `Don’t give up. Never give up.’ ”

Until now, Time Warner Cable had regarded the NFL Network as unnecessary or too costly. The channel, which began in 2003, added eight regular-season games in 2006 to maximize its appeal. Still, Time Warner Cable felt that it was being asked to pay too much for what it viewed as an eight-game channel and placed no value on its news and archival programming, coverage of the scouting combine and training camps, its documentaries, and its behind-the-scenes access.

Time Warner Cable’s long resistance to carrying the NFL Network had been the subject of rancor between the two companies and continued dismay among hard-core fans. Time Warner Cable long argued that it would only carry the channel on the Sports Pass tier, which was not acceptable to the league’s negotiators.

The addition of the eight games in 2006 led the NFL Network to raise its subscriber fee, which prompted Time Warner Cable to fight back. On a Web site it created to counter the NFL Network’s position, the cable operator wrote: “Now, the NFL Network adds a mere eight games out of a 267-game schedule and asks for a 350 percent rate increase! That’s like paying an unproven rookie an All-Pro salary. The price is too high, the value too low.”

Friday’s deal, of course, means that Time Warner Cable feels the price and value are finally fair. According to SNL Kagan, the average subscriber fee for the NFL Network is 95 cents a month, but the finances of Time Warner Cable’s deal were not made public.

“Neither side,” Bornstein said, “ever gave up getting the deal done.”

Article source: http://fifthdown.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/21/time-warner-is-said-to-agree-to-carry-nfl-network/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Economix Blog: Nancy Folbre: What Romney Could Learn From the N.F.L.

Nancy Folbre, economist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Nancy Folbre is an economics professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

In a recent speech, Mitt Romney likened the election to a football game. I wonder if he has considered the merits of the National Football League’s regulatory regime.

Today’s Economist

Perspectives from expert contributors.

I became an N.F.L. fan after reading the management expert Roger Martin’s “Fixing the Game,” which explains how the league has discouraged player involvement in gambling and improved competitiveness.

All business leaders, not just the one who wants to be chief executive of the “American company” should take notice.

Plenty of management gurus have renounced the principle of maximizing shareholder value, asserting that it leads to excess emphasis on short-term profits at the expense of long-run performance.

Professor Martin makes the point particularly vividly, observing that the way we currently reward corporate C.E.O.’s is roughly equivalent to rewarding football teams for exceeding expectations rather than winning games.

Consider the New England Patriots, who were unbeaten in the 2007 season but offered gamblers little payoff, because they seldom won by more than predicted (gambling on football usually involves a “point spread,” the expected margin of victory; to determine the outcome of the bet, that number of points is added to the points scored by the underdog).

Professor Martin sees an analogy with companies like Microsoft, which reported steady increases in revenue between 2000 and 2010 but saw its share price stagnate because it was unable to surpass expectations of what its earnings would be.

Rewarding football teams for beating the point spread would give players perverse incentives to manipulate expectations rather than to win games. That’s one reason why the N.F.L. enforces strict rules against player gambling.

By contrast, corporate pay practices that give managers short-term stock options encourage them to gamble. The easiest way for them to win big is to beat the market’s expectations, rather than to deliver steady performance.

Professor Martin draws other lessons from the N.F.L., which takes particularly effective measures to ensure team competition and – as a result – creates more suspense and excitement for fans.

Hard ceilings (known as caps) on the amount of money each team is allowed to spend on player contracts make it hard for rich teams to buy their way to success. Strict revenue-sharing from national television contracts acts like a progressive tax, giving each team an equal share regardless of their market size and local broadcast audience, enabling teams in relatively small cities including Green Bay, Wis., (population about 105,000) to be competitive.

Other professional sports have similar but sometimes weaker measures. In Major League Baseball, the disparity between the rich and the not-so-rich is particularly great. The New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox spend more than three times as much on players as some competitors. As the Red Sox and Phillies have demonstrated this season, money doesn’t always buy success, though in the long run, it strongly influences outcomes.

Professional sports associations often adjust game rules to help balance offense and defense. They realize that competitive teams, like small businesses, need good rules and tough referees to guarantee fair play. They also realize that the well-being of individual teams depends, in large measure, on the success of the league as a whole.

The NFL’s regulations, in particular, have contributed to professional football’s success. Professor Martin notes that the average nationally broadcast regular-season N.F.L. game attracts more television viewers than baseball’s World Series games. The collective value of N.F.L. teams is considerably higher than those of any other league, although the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers rank among the most valuable sports teams, according to Forbes.

Many Republicans are football fans. They tend to oppose government regulation almost on principle; how they feel about industries’ self-regulation — and whether it has ever worked in finance, banking or accounting — is less clear. Mitt Romney favors a rollback of rules governing financial reform and environmental protection.

Democrats generally favor stricter rules. Maybe President Obama, known for liking basketball and golf, should call the N.F.L. to his side.

Article source: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/10/what-romney-could-learn-from-the-n-f-l/?partner=rss&emc=rss

In the Breast Cancer Fight, the Pinking of America

THE Dallas Cowboys just got “pinked.”

And not just the Cowboys. The entire Cowboys Stadium here. Pink is everywhere: around the goalposts, in the crowd, on the players’ cleats, towels and wristbands.

In case you haven’t noticed, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, when the entire nation gets painted pink. This is also when “pink” becomes more than a color: It becomes, for better or worse, a verb.

In marketing circles, “to pink” means to link a brand or a product or even the entire National Football League to one of the most successful charity campaigns of all time. Like it or not — and some people don’t like it at all — the pinking of America has become a multibillion-dollar business, a marketing, merchandising and fund-raising opportunity that is almost unrivaled in scope. There are pink-ribbon car tires, pink-ribbon clogs, pink eyelash curlers — the list goes on.

Down on the 50-yard line on this early October day is Nancy G. Brinker, the chief executive who has done more than any other to create what might be called Pink Inc. With a C.E.O.’s eye, Ms. Brinker has turned her foundation, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, into a juggernaut. She has tied this nonprofit to hundreds of for-profit brands and spread its message far and wide with “Race for the Cure” foot races. She has, in effect, invested to maximize returns. Over the years, Komen has raised many billions of dollars to urge women to get mammograms, as well as for treatment and research.

“It’s a democratization of a disease,” Ms. Brinker, who is the Cowboys’ honorary captain for the day, says just before the coin toss. “It’s drilling down into the deepest pockets of America.”

The story of Komen is, as much as anything, a story of savvy marketing. Ms. Brinker has rebranded an entire disease by putting an upbeat spin on fighting it. Her foundation generated about $420 million in the 2010 fiscal year alone. Perhaps more than any other nonprofit organization, Komen shapes the national conversation about breast cancer.

If you’re feeling hopeful about the strides being made against this disease, rather than frustrated by the lack of progress, that may well reflect Komen’s handiwork. If you think women should be concerned about developing breast cancer, that’s often Komen’s message, too. And if you think mammography is the best answer at the moment, that, again, is the Komen mantra.

Like Big Oil, Big Food and Big Pharma, Big Pink has its share of critics. Some patient advocates complain that Komen and other pink-ribbon charities sugarcoat breast cancer, which kills about 40,000 American women and 450 men annually. Others complain that pink marketing, despite the many millions it raises for charities, is just another way to move merchandise and that it exploits cancer by turning it into an excuse to go shopping. And some pink-theme products have no relationship with any charities at all. (Consumers should check before buying.)

In any case, these critics say, all of those pink ribbons and pink products create more good will for charities and corporations than game-changing medical advances for patients.

Executives at Breast Cancer Action, a San Francisco advocacy group, have questioned the value of pink October for 20 years. They say some charities spend millions more on promoting the medical status quo — annual mammography screening, that is — than they do on financing research into the causes and prevention of the disease. (Mammography has significantly reduced the death rate from breast cancer, particularly for women in their 50s and 60s. But health experts disagree on whether women in their 40s need routine screening, or whether they should decide individually, in consultation with their doctors, based on risk factors like their family history.)

“The pink ribbons have become a distraction,” says Karuna Jaggar, the group’s executive director.

Ms. Brinker has heard such complaints before. She says Komen has good reason to promote screening and to ensure that people have access to follow-up care, all the while financing research to advance cancer treatment.

“Do you take care of people today?” asks Ms. Brinker, who served as ambassador to Hungary under President George W. Bush. “Or do you put everything into prevention research?”

Komen spent about $141 million in fiscal 2010 on public health education, including awareness campaigns. It also spent about $75 million to finance medical research and about $67 million to pay for breast cancer screening and treatment. All that, Ms. Brinker says, requires Komen to generate revenue from individual donors and corporate sponsors. And if that means promoting pink KitchenAid blenders, Nascar vehicles or Scotch tape dispensers, so be it.

“America is built on consumerism,” Ms. Brinker says. “To say we shouldn’t use it to solve the social ills that confront us doesn’t make sense to me.”

HEART disease and lung cancer each kill more women in the United States than breast cancer. But the fight against breast cancer attracts more corporate sponsors, in part because of Ms. Brinker.

New Balance, for instance, has “Lace Up for the Cure,” a promotion that donates 5 percent of retail sales of certain pink sneakers to Komen, with a minimum annual donation of $500,000. Yoplait, as part of its “Save Lids to Save Lives,” donates 10 cents per pink yogurt lid to Komen; since 1999, it has given more than $22 million. And this month, even Eggland’s Best eggs come stamped with Komen pink-ribbon logos on their shells.

Of course, Komen does not have a monopoly on pink-ribbon marketing. While the Cowboys have a separate relationship with Komen, there is also an overall N.F.L. pink partnership with the American Cancer Society. And for almost every product, including a beer pong table available on Amazon, there is someone marketing a pink version.

It wasn’t always this way.

Until 1974, when Betty Ford, then the first lady, disclosed she had had a mastectomy, breast cancer was a taboo subject for many. After she went public, the number of women seeking mammograms spiked, in what epidemiologists would call “the Betty Ford effect.”

Several years later, Ms. Brinker’s sister, Susan G. Komen, a mother of two in Peoria, Ill., learned that she had breast cancer. But she didn’t receive aggressive treatment immediately. Later, even intensive chemotherapy could not save her.

In her memoir, “Promise Me,” Ms. Brinker tells how she promised her dying sister she would work to find a cure.

“She didn’t ask me to do something small,” Ms. Brinker says. “She asked me to eliminate death from this disease.”

In Ms. Brinker’s early career as a sales trainee at Neiman Marcus, she learned some marketing principles — like “never stop selling” — from Stanley Marcus, the legendary Texas retailer. When she started Komen in 1982, she applied those techniques. She was determined to shift people’s focus to hope and survival from the grim reality that this disease can kill.

“We were going to have to do things to attract people that didn’t scare them,” she says.

But Ms. Brinker quickly understood that her group needed a grass-roots movement. So, in 1983, Komen held its first race in Dallas to raise money. About 800 runners took part.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=d4ef7a3f8d0a6e4cd0d0fa0434e10955

Advertising: TV Networks Expect a Jump in Spending on Commercials

The joy among broadcasters stems from a widespread belief that they will, for the second year in a row, be able to charge a good deal more for commercial time during their shows for the coming season than they were the year before.

Last spring, the networks took in about $500 million to $700 million more in the upfront market — called that because it happens before the season— than they did in 2009.

Now, as executives start this week to share with advertisers and agencies their schedules for 2011-12, they are anticipating a robust gain in ad revenue of $600 million to $800 million from last spring — and, by some estimates, perhaps as much as $1 billion.

Those expectations come despite potential problems like a disruption of the next National Football League season; a slowdown in consumer spending caused by rising prices for gasoline, food and clothing; declines in ratings, particularly among younger viewers; and efforts by digital media to lure away advertisers.

“It is an amazing story that in a weak economy the national television business is strong for the sellers,” said Steven J. Farella, president and chief executive at TargetCast TCM, a leading media-buying agency.

“We have clients in financial services, travel and consumer packaged goods,” he added, “and we have no one feeling as good about this economy as the networks.”

Bill Koenigsberg, president and chief executive at Horizon Media, described this as the annual “silly season, where it behooves the sellers to pound their chests and set expectations incredibly high.”

“If I were in their shoes, I’d probably be doing the same thing,” he said, “but I’m not quite sure I see where the money is coming from.”

Still, marketers in categories like cars, fast food, movies, retailing and telecommunications have been increasing ad budgets in recent quarters. That growing demand has been demonstrated by rising prices for commercials that are bought with less advance notice than the upfront provides, in what is known as the scatter market; those rates have run 20 to 40 percent higher than the same quarters a year ago.

“As a hedge” against those rates rising further, “you’ll probably want to lay down your money” in the upfront market, said Steve Kalb, senior vice president and director for video investments at the MediaHub division of Mullen, because “nine years out of 10, you’re likely to do better in the upfront than in scatter.”

Agreements made in the upfront market also yield benefits not found in the scatter market, among them options to cancel commitments.

Another reason most outlooks call for a strong upfront market is a multiplier effect that networks, advertisers and agencies are beginning to notice: Social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube seem to be stimulating renewed interest in watching television, making commercial time potentially more valuable as viewers seek to share with family and friends comments about Hail Mary passes, awful gowns or pitchy singers.

Social media and television “work very synergistically,” said Carolyn Everson, vice president for global marketing solutions at Facebook, because “TV has always been a social medium.”

“TV is about creating ‘water-cooler moments,’ only now they don’t take 12 hours till you’re at school or the office,” Ms. Everson said. “They happen in real time.”

“So instead of saying to advertisers, ‘Why are you spending X on TV when you can spend Y on Facebook,’ ” Ms. Everson said, “we’ll say, ‘If you’re going to be spending X on TV, if you add Facebook and social media you maximize the experience.’ ”

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=6df3da1e08d980b186e3a576e60180fc