September 29, 2023

Nielsen Will Add Mobile Viewership to Ratings

Nielsen, playing catch-up, has a plan to start incorporating some viewership of television shows on phones and tablets into its industry-standard TV ratings system in the fall of 2014.

The company’s plan, previewed in news reports on Thursday, will be formally announced next week at the Advertising Week conference in New York. It is a response to the requests — and sometimes outright pleas — from networks for a more complete accounting of viewership.

While most TV consumption still happens through traditional TV sets, more and more people are watching on other screens, like smartphones. Networks have been pressuring Nielsen to include those people in the ratings reports that calibrate advertising rates and influence the perceptions of success and failure.

So Nielsen will, but not until this time next year. The company said that was a reflection of the extensive behind-the-scenes work that is required.

By revealing the timeline now, at the start of the fall season, Nielsen may be trying to calm the nerves of clients.

Nielsen executives were not available for interviews on Thursday afternoon. But in a previously-scheduled interview with Variety, the company’s senior vice president for global audience measurement, Eric Solomon, acknowledged that networks “are starving for a number they can publish that really represents their audience not just on TV but across all platforms.”

Once some mobile viewing is included in the ratings totals, Mr. Solomon said: “I think it will start changing the narrative that people are not watching TV shows. It’s that they’re watching on different platforms.”

Because Nielsen ratings exist mainly for the buying and selling of TV advertising time, the expansion plan does not include ad-free streaming services like Netflix, which mainly carries previous seasons of shows. Nor does the plan initially include Hulu, the streaming service jointly owned by the parent companies of ABC, Fox and NBC, because the ads that are streamed on Hulu differ from the ads on TV.

But Nielsen will measure online streams of shows that have exactly the same ads in the same order as the TV broadcasts of those shows. For example, people who watch “Scandal” via ABC’s streaming app or Time Warner Cable’s app would be newly counted in Nielsen’s TV ratings. People who watch “Scandal” via Netflix or Hulu would not.

Will Somers, the head of research at Fox, was encouraged by Nielsen’s plan. But like his counterparts at other networks, he hinted at a little impatience: he said Fox hoped Nielsen “can bring comprehensive and scalable multiplatform measurement services to market as quickly as possible.”

Article source:

Judge Sets Restrictions for Apple on E-Books

But the judge, Denise L. Cote of Federal District Court in Manhattan, rejected some of the measures sought by the Justice Department, including extensive government oversight over Apple’s App Store.

In a filing this week, Judge Cote issued her final ruling on the penalties to be imposed on Apple after the long-running lawsuit against the technology giant filed by the Justice Department in April 2012.

The government accused Apple, along with five major book publishers, of illegally colluding to raise the price of e-books and of trying to curb Amazon’s influence in the publishing industry as Apple prepared to introduce its iPad in 2010.

All five publishers, Macmillan, HarperCollins, Simon Schuster, Hachette Book Group and Penguin Group USA, have since settled, while saying that they did nothing wrong. Random House, which was not named in the lawsuit, merged with Penguin earlier this year.

But Apple, confident of its innocence and with the financial resources to fight in court, went to trial this summer. It defended itself with testimony from a string of high-ranking Apple executives, including Eddy Cue, the company’s senior vice president for Internet software and services, who led the negotiations with publishers.

In July, Judge Cote ruled against Apple in a nonjury trial, saying there was compelling evidence it had violated antitrust laws by conspiring with the publishers.

In her ruling this week, Judge Cote said that Apple may not enter into any agreement with the five settling publishers that “restricts, limits or impedes Apple’s ability to set, alter or reduce the retail price of any e-book.”

The ruling also said that Apple would be prohibited from discussing with any publisher its contractual negotiations with another publisher.

In addition, Judge Cote ordered that Apple cooperate with an external monitor who will evaluate and report on the company’s training reforms and antitrust compliance.

William J. Baer, the assistant attorney general, said in a statement on Friday that the Justice Department was pleased by the court’s ruling.

“Consumers will continue to benefit from lower e-books prices as a result of the department’s enforcement action to restore competition in this important industry,” he said. “By appointing an external monitor to ensure future compliance with the antitrust laws, the court has helped protect consumers from further misconduct by Apple. The court’s ruling reinforces the victory the department has won for consumers.”

Apple has said that it will appeal Judge Cote’s July ruling.

“Apple did not conspire to fix e-book pricing,” Tom Neumayr, an Apple spokesman, said in an e-mail on Friday. “The iBook-
store gave customers more choice and injected much-needed innovation and competition into the market.”

At a hearing in United States District Court in Manhattan last week, Judge Cote said that she wished to “intrude as little as possible” on Apple’s business.

Article source:

CNN Tweaks Its Lineup Amid Executive Changes

One day after revamping its evening program lineup, CNN continued a week of change on Wednesday with announcements affecting the assignments of a range of executives.

The news network has hired Andrew Morse as senior vice president in charge of domestic news gathering and digital news. He had been the head of United States television at the Bloomberg News organization.

At the same time, CNN reported the departure of Scot Safon, the general manager of its sister network, HLN (formerly Headline News). Mr. Safon sent word of his resignation in a memo to staff members, saying he was leaving after 22 years at the company for an undisclosed future position. He described the decision to leave as “admittedly bittersweet.” HLN has had several bursts of increased ratings in the last year, mostly tied to coverage of criminal trials.

Mr. Morse’s appointment was one of a series of changes announced by Jeff Zucker, the president of CNN Worldwide, that also included a new reporting structure affecting executives in New York, Washington and Atlanta. They followed the fine-tuning of the network’s program lineup, announced on Tuesday.

CNN will revise its nightly lineup to add a new version of “Crossfire” — a program from its past — and to revamp the 10 p.m. hour anchored by Anderson Cooper.

Starting Sept. 16, “Crossfire” will return with new hosts at 6:30 each weekday evening. The panelists on the political debate show will be Newt Gingrich, Stephanie Cutter, S. E. Cupp and Van Jones.

Mr. Cooper will preside over a reconfigured hour at 10 p.m. starting the same night. He has been anchoring that hour in a program that is either a repeat of his nightly 8 p.m. broadcast or an update with new developments. The new program will not be a repeat of the 8 p.m. hour. Like “Crossfire,” it have a panel format, made up of CNN correspondents as well as newsmakers.

The addition of “Crossfire” at 6:30 means the holdover series “The Situation Room” will be cut back to 90 minutes, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. But CNN is not going to shortchange the anchor, Wolf Blitzer, of any daily airtime. He will add a new hour from 1 to 2 p.m. weekdays.

Article source:

Food Corporations Turn to Chefs in a Quest for Healthy Flavor

But not one, alas, went into a salivating mouth as soon as it left the bubbling rice bran oil. Rather, it was rushed under a glass “udder” bristling with slender filaments and tended by technicians, who would soon analyze it at a PepsiCo lab in Illinois for the magic that gave it such flavor and crispiness.

Other creations, destined for the same lab, went into Styrofoam containers bedded on dry ice, part of a continuing effort to find new ways to improve the nutritional quality of the giant food company’s products without losing recognizable flavors.

“The challenge facing us and other big food companies today is not easy: to have a great-tasting product without as much salt, fat and sugar,” said Greg Yep, senior vice president for long-term research and development at PepsiCo. “Chefs have ways of tricking the taste buds that we can use in our products.”

Prodded by consumers, regulators and politicians, major food companies like PepsiCo are under extraordinary pressure to make healthier foods. Kellogg has cut as much as 30 percent of the sugar in children’s cereals like Apple Jacks and Froot Loops, removed salt from others and increased fiber. Taco Bell last month announced a new Power Protein menu that will include items with less fat and calories, and other companies are rushing to get their products in shape.

“We’re not only thinking about making great-tasting foods but about the nutrition guidelines we need to deliver on,” said Greg Creed, chief executive of Taco Bell, referring to the company’s pledge to bring one-third of the meal options in its restaurants into compliance with the federal dietary guidelines by 2020. “This is a huge change in mind-set.”

While snack sales like those in PepsiCo’s Frito Lay division are still increasing and show no signs of slowing, it and some of the country’s other major companies have worked to reduce the amount of sugar, fat and salt in products aimed at children. The efforts are part of a voluntary system that they hope will keep regulators and lawmakers at bay as well as address growing consumer knowledge of what is in food.

Guiding Stars, a program created in 2006 by the Hannaford grocery stores to tell consumers about the nutritional quality of the food sold in supermarkets using small tags attached to shelves, now awards at least one star out of a total of three to more than one-third of products, compared with about a quarter when the program started.

Cookies, crackers, snacks, cereals and yogurts are among the latest products to receive a star, according to Sue Till, client services manager for the Guiding Stars Licensing Company. Ms. Till said a confluence of factors, like the crusade by the first lady, Michelle Obama, to foster healthy eating among children, and consumers’ growing concern about gluten and genetically modified ingredients, was forcing food manufacturers to pay more attention to nutritional quality.

“It can be as simple as using fresh herbs to replace salt or raisin paste to replace sugar,” she said. “They’re learning it’s not as hard as they might have thought.”

In fact, Mr. Yep, in his white lab coat, and PepsiCo’s executive research chef, Stephen Kalil, in a white chef’s coat, argue about which one of them has the “best job in the world.”

They are on the teams responsible for carrying out the plans of PepsiCo’s chief executive, Indra K. Nooyi, which are controversial on Wall Street, to improve the healthiness of the PepsiCo portfolio, which she has long insisted is critical to the $65 billion company’s long-term survival.

One of the first products to emerge from their efforts was Quaker Real Medleys, instant cereals made from whole grains and chunks of fruit and nuts. It has a similar amount of sugar as the company’s traditional instant oatmeal, but about half comes from the fruits and the oats; most of the sugar in instant oatmeal is added.

Article source:

With a Royal Baby Due, News Outlets Are on High Alert

Thanks to their plans, the birth, whenever it happens — any day now, if the tabloids are to be believed — will be a spectacle unlike any other in the modern media age, complete with sweeping helicopter shots of St. Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, and Buckingham Palace. “This is probably the most anticipated birth since the dawn of Twitter,” said Jon Williams, the foreign editor for ABC News.

When Prince William and his brother Harry were born in the 1980s, tweets were just sounds made by birds and 24-hour news channels were a novelty. In the 30 years since, media companies have become much better at preparing for big events — sports matches, murder trials, elections, even fashion shows — and capitalizing on them through wall-to-wall coverage on television, commemorative editions of newspapers and magazines, and advertiser-supported special sections on Web sites.

Now, with Prince William’s child on the way, scores of reporters and photographers are on standby in London. ABC News has a whole royal baby section of its site sponsored by Nestlé, plus an online guest book for visitors to sign. NBC News has a site called, asking for predictions about name, birth time and weight. To make it more fun, the people whose guesses come closest might be mentioned on the “Today” show. “We’re going to do our best not to intrude and to be respectful, but also to cover it for people who are really interested,” said Mark Lukasiewicz, the senior vice president for NBC News Specials.

While news organizations will undoubtedly be criticized for spending too much time covering a famous childbirth, executives say there is ample public interest in what will most likely be the quintessential “good news” story, a reprieve of sorts after weeks of stories about the George Zimmerman trial in the United States and uprisings overseas. Not only will the birth be historically consequential, Mr. Williams said, it will also be inherently relatable because “the birth of a baby is something that every family can identify with.”

Including the long wait.

“The big news is still that there is no news,” Tom Sykes of The Daily Beast wrote on the site’s “Royal Baby Watch” live blog on Sunday. For days now, Mr. Sykes and others have been swatting away rumors about the duchess, formerly known as Kate Middleton, checking into the hospital and being in labor.

News executives say they expect to be notified when she does actually arrive, most likely through a side entrance, at the hospital. The main vantage point for camera crews is along a narrow street outside the main entrance to the private wing where the duchess will be — “a typically charming, difficult London street” as Mr. Lukasiewicz described it. With so many foreign broadcasters, including those from throughout the Commonwealth, jockeying for positions there, each news outlet has only a couple of feet of space. “So we’re going to have a narrow correspondent at that spot,” he joked.

More rumors will surely zip across social networks once the duchess is in labor, and news organizations will have to exercise caution. “We will wait for the Palace to confirm,” said Paddy Feeny, a spokesman for BBC News. “This is one announcement where guessing won’t do.”

The birth’s confirmation process is rooted in tradition, but it will be televised in high-definition, which was something else that didn’t exist the last time there was a royal baby. The duchess’s doctors will sign a birth notice. The notice will be hand-carried to a car. The car will be driven to Buckingham Palace. Then the notice will be placed on an easel in the forecourt of the palace, informing the world of the baby’s birth and possibly his or her name.

All the while, a news helicopter belonging to the British broadcaster Sky News, whose pictures will be shared with every network, will be hovering overhead, almost as if covering a slow-speed car chase. But that’s assuming the helicopter, stationed south of the city, can get there in time. News executives expect to get five to 10 minutes notice, at most, before the car starts on its short journey. A Sky News spokeswoman, aware that the world’s news media are counting on its coverage, said she anticipates that the crew will have “enough time to get airborne.”

Sky News and the BBC will also have cameras at the palace to take close-ups of the birth notice. “We are praying for good visibility and no rain,” Mr. Feeny said.

News producers have been holding meetings with palace officials about the staging of the announcement for the last several months. “It’s gotten down to the level of detail that three minutes after the notice has been put on the easel, they’ll cut off the signal,” said one producer involved in the planning, who insisted on anonymity to protect important relationships with the palace.

That producer and several others said they had been assured that the baby’s birth would be announced only between 8 a.m. and 10:30 p.m. in London, or between 3 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. in New York. Sometime later, photographers will have their chance to see the family as they leave the hospital.

Some news organizations, of course, are almost shrugging off the baby drama. CBS News, which has sought a reputation as the most serious American network news division, will depend on its reporters already in London to cover the news, a spokeswoman said.

NBC and ABC, on the other hand, are sending over anchors. The “Today” news reader Natalie Morales flew to London on Sunday. The “Good Morning America” weekend anchor Bianna Golodryga has been there for nearly a week, and she will be joined sometime soon by a regular on the weekday edition, Amy Robach. Mr. Williams said Ms. Robach will board a plane bound for London “as soon as Kate goes into the hospital.”

Article source:

Workstation: Have a Great Vacation (if It’s Approved)

Maybe this isn’t really a fear, but a fantasy — that I’m too valuable for the company to get along without me for even a week. Well, clearly that’s not the case, because I’ve always been allowed to go.

Other people’s vacations can make me anxious, too, because I often have to fill in when they’re away. Come to think of it, I have to fill in for a colleague next week. So, as peak vacation season begins, it’s time to worry at least a little about those left behind.

Employees should try to practice good pre-vacation hygiene — by doing as much of their work in advance as possible, and making sure that their replacements have the tools and knowledge to hold down the fort.

But, ultimately, it’s up to supervisors to set vacation policies that are fair and cause the least amount of disruption. That’s the view of Jay Jamrog, senior vice president of research for i4cp (short for Institute for Corporate Productivity), a research firm based in Seattle.

Did you just find out today that a co-worker will be gone this week and you need to take over for her? That’s poor planning. Too many managers wait until the last minute to start approving vacations because they have other things on their minds, Mr. Jamrog said.

Vacations should be agreed upon far in advance as part of a team effort, he said. That way, managers can find out as early as possible if too many people want to take the same weeks off — a particular danger during the holidays and the summer — and seek a solution.

Suppose that four people in the same small department want to take off the first two weeks in August, he said. It’s the manager’s job to decide that two of them will have to take the last two weeks of August instead — and “hopefully this would have been done in January,” Mr. Jamrog said.

In many industries, certain times of the year are off limits for vacations. The tax preparer who asks to take the first two weeks of April off will be laughed out of the office. When scheduling vacations, “protect your business interests, but in an equitable manner,” said Richard I. Greenberg, a lawyer for Jackson Lewis, a law firm that specializes in employment issues. If you have to turn down someone’s request for a particular vacation week, try to give that person first choice another time, he said.

An employee’s perception that a vacation policy is unfair can lead to a sense of distrust and a lack of commitment, he warned. It’s a feeling that can fester, and possibly even add fodder to a discrimination suit, he said.

Vacation policies should be consistent and clearly communicated, said Margaret Fiester, operations manager for the H.R. Knowledge Center at the Society for Human Resource Management. Sometimes it may be best to set up a bidding system in which employees submit vacation requests by a certain deadline, so that managers can accurately project staffing levels, she added.

Deciding vacations on the basis of seniority is one way to try to be fair, but that can also be hard on a new employee who must forgo a summer vacation with school-age children, or a homesick worker who can’t travel to see his family for the holidays. Still, a vacation policy based on seniority has the advantage of being clear. If a policy is unclear, and managers appear to be granting time off inconsistently, it can create the impression that they are playing favorites, Mr. Jamrog said.

It’s also a manager’s job to ensure that employees are properly trained to fill in for vacationing colleagues, he said. Present a vacation as a way for workers to develop new skills, and reward them for stepping in, he advised. “You can’t feel like you’re punishing your employees because someone is taking time off,” he said.

MORE than once, I’ve seen workers excel in their fill-in roles and receive promotions because they had proved they could handle more responsibility. So try to view a colleague’s vacation as an opportunity, rather than an occasion for worry or resentment. Managers can go a long way toward furthering this view by allowing time for training.

And if you’ve been lucky enough to go to the beach, or to a European capital, be sure to express gratitude to the people who filled in for you. Because probably not too long from now, they will be off on their own vacations, and you will be the employee who is left behind.

Article source:

Apple Executive Defends Pricing in Case on E-Books

“Wow, we have really lit the fuse on a powder keg,” Mr. Jobs wrote in the e-mail dated Jan. 30, 2010, to Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet software and services.

The e-mail was brought up as evidence during the second half of Mr. Cue’s testimony in a Manhattan courtroom on Monday, where much of the discussion focused on whether Apple intended to help the publishers raise Amazon’s prices.

Mr. Cue testified on Monday that Mr. Jobs’s e-mail was not a memo congratulating him about how Apple’s entry into the e-book market affected Amazon, causing it to switch to a business model called agency pricing, where the publishers, not the retailer, set the price of the books. Mr. Cue said Mr. Jobs was remarking on the company’s ability to “cause ripples” in the e-book industry, which was then largely dominated by Amazon.

While Mr. Cue conceded that some e-book prices had gone up as a result of agency pricing, he noted that many titles might not have become available in any digital store at all if Apple had not introduced agency pricing to the market. He said he had learned from his meetings with publishers that they were unhappy with Amazon’s uniform $9.99 pricing for e-books and that they were planning to use a tactic known as windowing — delaying the release of an e-book until after the more expensive hardcover had been in stores for a while.

Mr. Cue testified that both he and Mr. Jobs believed that “withholding books is a disaster for any bookstore.”

The Justice Department was not persuaded. Lawrence Buterman, a Justice Department lawyer, asked Mr. Cue whether he was aware that only 37 e-books had ever been windowed.

“The number doesn’t matter,” Mr. Cue said. “What matters is which books. Thirty-seven could be a huge number if it’s the right books.”

Both parties showed their evidence on a projector screen. Apple’s legal team used a MacBook to shuffle between evidence documents, stacking them side by side in split screens and zooming in on specific paragraphs.

In contrast, the Justice Department’s lawyers could show only one piece of evidence at a time. One video that Mr. Buterman played as evidence failed to produce the audio commentary needed to make his point.

In its antitrust case brought a year ago, the federal government is trying to cast Apple as the ringmaster that conspired with five big book publishers to raise e-book prices. The publishers have all settled their cases.

On Monday, the Justice Department’s lawyers homed in on a condition in Apple’s contracts with the publishers: the “most favored nation” clause, which required publishers to allow Apple to sell e-books at the same price as the books would be sold in any other store. Apple has said this clause existed to guarantee that Apple customers got the lowest e-book prices. But Mr. Buterman argued that it defeated Amazon’s ability to compete on price, and that it left Amazon with no choice but to switch to the agency model while allowing the publishers to raise prices.

Mr. Cue said he disagreed. He noted that Amazon had 90 percent of the e-book market before Apple entered the game.

“Amazon could have negotiated a better deal,” he said. “They had a lot more power.”

Lawyers for Apple and the government spent much of the hearing debating whether the e-mails exchanged between Apple executives and publishers illustrated Apple’s intent to help the publishers force Amazon’s hand. In one e-mail sent to Mr. Jobs, Mr. Cue was reviewing his meeting with the publishers, saying they were interested in solving the “Amazon issue.”

Mr. Cue said he was referring to the publishers’ ability to price books above Amazon’s uniform price of $9.99 in Apple’s iBookstore. Apple had proposed price caps of $12.99 to $14.99 for new releases. But he said this did not refer to enabling the publishers to force Amazon to raise prices, too.

Article source:

Publishers Clearing House Imagines Handing a Big Check to Gilligan and Mike Brady

For years, Publishers Clearing House — the company that uses sweepstakes to help sell merchandise and magazine subscriptions — has devoted a good deal of its marketing efforts to television commercials showing prize winners being taped for television commercials. Now, in a campaign that is to begin on Monday, the company’s commercials will be devoted to a different aspect of television: sitcoms.

The campaign, with a budget estimated at more than $5 million, features excerpts from three vintage television comedy series: “The Brady Bunch,” “Diff’rent Strokes” and “Gilligan’s Island.” The commercials use computer generated imagery to show the company’s Prize Patrol — the blazer-wearing team that turns up on the doorsteps of sweepstakes winners with comically oversized checks — visiting notable residents of Sitcomland like Mike Brady, Arnold Jackson and Gilligan.

(The check intended for Gilligan is simply made out to “Gilligan,” a wink at the show having never indicated what the character’s given name was.)

The campaign, created internally at Publishers Clearing House, is to run for two weeks on broadcast networks and cable channels. It was inspired, according to Todd Sloane, senior vice president for creative at Publishers Clearing House in Port Washington, N.Y., by an episode of the 1960s animated sitcom, “The Flintstones,” that was recorded by his TiVo digital video recorder.

In the episode, titled “The Sweepstakes Ticket,” Mr. Sloane recalled, “I saw Fred Flintstone running around and saying, ‘I won the sweepstakes.’”

After “a little bit more research,” Mr. Sloane said, he found an episode of “Gilligan’s Island” called “The Sweepstakes.”

Watching sitcom episodes stimulated thoughts about how “so many great sitcoms” include moments in which the principal characters go to the front door, answer the doorbell or open the door, Mr. Sloane said, adding, “I thought, ‘What if we were the ones on the other side of the door?’ ”

Mr. Sloane and others at Publishers Clearing House decided to consider sitcoms from the ‘60s through the ‘80s, because they would be remembered by the target audiences for the company’s sweepstakes, which are consumers ages 35 and older.

Everybody knows those TV series, Mr. Sloane said, whereas “after the ‘80s, the audience became more fragmented” and shows from the 1990s and later would probably not elicit the same response from viewers.

Then came the tough part, Mr. Sloane said: obtaining the rights to the clips — “the rights to the shows, rights to the actors in the show and to the music.” He turned to the GreenLight division of Corbis, which handles the licensing of such rights, for assistance.

There were a few clips “we couldn’t get the rights” to, Mr. Sloane said, and Publishers Clearing House may try again to obtain them.

The commercials seek to be faithful to the original content of the three sitcoms and include touches like laugh tracks.

In the spot featuring “The Brady Bunch,” when Mike Brady, played by the actor Robert Reed, goes to the front door he finds members of the Prize Patrol, in period-appropriate blazers, there. Clever editing makes it seem as if they speak to each other; when Mike Brady realizes he has won a big check, he shouts, “Carol!”

In the “Diff’rent Strokes” spot, the Prize Patrol members interact with Mrs. Garrett, played by Charlotte Rae, who opens the front door, and Arnold Jackson, played by Gary Coleman, who is indignant to learn that the check has been made out to his brother, Willis.

In the “Gilligan’s Island” commercial, there is no door. Instead, the Prize Patrol team encounters Gilligan, played by Bob Denver, and the Skipper, Alan Hale Jr., out in the open.

“We’re looking for Gilligan’s Island,” a team member says. “Is there a Gilligan here?” Gilligan, elated, runs around and shouts, “I won the sweepstakes! I’m a millionaire!”

In each commercial, after the sitcom characters meet the Prize Patrol, an announcer says: “O.K., that wasn’t real. But this is, and you can be next.” Contemporary scenes then appear of the Prize Patrol as they delivering oversized checks to winning consumers.

Some who watch the commercials may see them as saluting not only decades of silly, memorable sitcoms but also decades when Publishers Clearing House was a major part of the popular culture, largely because the Prize Patrol and the million-dollar prizes were fresh and novel.

That “really didn’t factor into” the campaign, Mr. Sloane said. “It’s more the golden age of the sitcom we were interested in.”

Article source:

Advertising: FleishmanHillard Rebrands Itself, With a 21st Century Focus

Fleishman-Hillard, which was founded in 1946 as Fleishman, Hillard Associates, will rebrand itself this week as FleishmanHillard, with elements that include a new logo and a new slogan, “The power of true” — no relation, presumably, to “Truth well told,” the slogan of McCann Erickson Worldwide, or “Truth and design,” the slogan of MediaVest.

Truth be told, the changes at FleishmanHillard — with worldwide revenue of more than $500 million and 2,500 employees in 84 offices — are meant to signal how it is striving to become an integrated marketing communications agency that offers services like advertising and social media marketing in addition to public relations.

“ ‘True’ is the central concept we’re rebranding on, to deliver on our promises to be the trusted adviser to guide you through the maze of choices,” said Dave Senay, president and chief executive at FleishmanHillard in St. Louis, which since 1997 has been part of the Diversified Agency Services division of the Omnicom Group, the world’s second-largest agency holding company after WPP.

“It’s not that we’re going to become an ad agency,” Mr. Senay said, adding: “We’re moving into a different space. The vision is to be the most complete communications company in the world. Somebody’s got to be able to put it all together.”

FleishmanHillard will seek to be “channel agnostic,” Mr. Senay said, an industry term meaning to be objective about the various forms of communication, whether paid, owned, earned or shared, to reflect “how the public consumes media today.”

To that end, the agency is hiring a former longtime journalist, Pat Wechsler, as senior vice president and director for editorial and corporate content strategy, working in realms like content marketing, which provides consumers editorial and entertainment articles and video clips that marketers sponsor.

He was hired after FleishmanHillard had brought in scores of the types of employees who are more typically found at consultancies, brand identity businesses or ad agencies, among them analytics specialists, planners, copywriters and art directors.

FleishmanHillard “wasn’t even on my radar,” said Nick Childs, an executive creative director in the agency’s New York office who arrived in 2011 after working at ad agencies like Grey.

“I had a chance to take a risk and do something unique at a big agency that could be a key partner to brands,” he added, “not just pushing out at an audience what a brand wants to say.”

Richard Dale, senior vice president, senior partner and global planning director, who also joined FleishmanHillard in New York in 2011, said that after working for ad agencies like Leo Burnett “I was looking for something different” and became intrigued by the concept of FleishmanHillard’s “transforming into a total communications resource.”

Although “the journey is just beginning at FleishmanHillard, and we still have a lot to do,” he added, “the firm is being given the tools, and it’s proving so game-changing.”

Reflecting the broadening of the services offered by FleishmanHillard beyond public relations, the agency last year placed more than $1.2 billion worth of ads in paid media, compared with $250 million in 2011.

“A lot of things have changed in consumer product marketing, especially the multiplicity of channel options,” said Mike Brooks, executive director at the William K. Busch Brewing Company in St. Louis, which hired FleishmanHillard to create television, radio, outdoor, online, retail and social-media ads to introduce two beers, Kräftig Lager and Kräftig Light.

Asked to assess the work, Mr. Brooks paused to declare, “I’m not on a P.R. campaign for FH,” then said: “I am happy to report thumbs up in every regard. The creative and the messaging are well received. And we have one quarterback of all the disciplines, Tom Hudder, an executive creative director, ensuring everything is consistent.”

FleishmanHillard is, of course, not the only agency reassessing its operations in light of the profound changes in marketing and media. Large competitors like Edelman, part of Daniel J. Edelman Inc., and Weber Shandwick, a unit of the Interpublic Group of Companies, are also reworking their service offerings.

“It’s exciting if we look at it as different opportunities, new opportunities, to be creative,” said Mark O’Brien, president at the DDB North America division of DDB Worldwide, an Omnicom ad agency. “Persuasion is an art, not a science.”

Because of innovations like social media, the model has evolved from “trying to connect people with brands” to “trying to connect people with people to connect with brands,” he added. “Agencies that have made an effort to bring in fresh talent are getting hotter.”

Mr. Senay said rough patches are likely during the transition. For instance, referring to the employees who have worked on public relations assignments at the agency, he said, “about a third are turned on by” the new vision, “about a third will go along with it and about a third will not get it.”

To promote its new identity, FleishmanHillard is introducing a quarterly digital magazine, FleishmanHillard True. And a television, print, outdoor and online ad campaign that is being created internally, with a budget estimated at $750,000, is to begin this week. “Be as you wish to be seen,” a 15-second commercial proclaims.

Article source:

Media Becomes Part of Story in Boston Manhunt

The authorities simultaneously thanked members of the news media for spreading the word that Bostonians should take shelter and remain alert — and cautioned them against repeating secondhand or thinly sourced information. The Massachusetts State Police asked local and national television networks to refrain from showing any live video of police movements, and for a time the Federal Aviation Administration restricted news helicopters from hovering above the area where one of the suspects in the bombing of the marathon Monday was believed to be hiding.

Members of the news media by and large complied. “We’ve only been showing the feeds that authorities are comfortable with,” the CNN anchor Chris Cuomo told viewers about 10:45 a.m., 12 hours after the chaotic situation started with a shooting in Cambridge, just across the Charles River from Boston.

Nevertheless, reporters were positioning themselves as closely as they could to the action in Cambridge and nearby Watertown, at times being pushed back by law enforcement officials. At one point, Kerry Sanders, a correpondent for NBC, was reporting while crouching for his own safety, in a scene evocative of wartime coverage from the Middle East.

“Officials urged us to exercise caution in showing live pictures or to describe detailed views of the movements of tactical officers, a concern which we shared,” said Antoine Sanfuentes, a senior vice president of NBC News. “We used the utmost discretion as we transmitted live pictures by putting them on a delay and avoided giving highly detailed accounts of the movements of officers.”

The CNN correspondent Deborah Feyerick, who was near Mr. Sanders, insisted that the channel’s coverage pause so that it could be put on a delay. Such delays are common when broadcasters are concerned about accidentally showing violent or graphic images.

The tension also played out on Twitter, where chatter followed the manhunt before dawn on the East Coast and into the morning. Seemingly every utterance from the local police scanners was repeated, often without any context. Twitter users urged one another not to share what they were hearing on the scanners, and by midday the audio feeds on at least two scanner Web sites were no longer working.

There was at least one case of mistaken identity. Late Thursday and early Friday, some users of Twitter, Reddit and other social Web sites homed in on the visual similarities between a Brown University student reported missing in March and one of the suspects identified by the F.B.I. For a time, the student’s name was trending nationwide on Twitter. But reporters, relying on law enforcement sources, shot down the suggestion that the student was a suspect.

The missing student’s family issued a statement later on Friday saying that the speculation had been “painful” and added, “We are grateful to all of you who have followed us on Facebook, Twitter, and Reddit — supporting us over the recent hours.”

This mistaken identification of the student came after several days of frenzied, sometimes inaccurate reporting about the bombings. On Wednesday, the F.B.I. chastised news media outlets that mistakenly reported an arrest in the case, saying it could have “unintended consequences.’’ But the complex relationship was highlighted two days later, when the authorities used the news media to help disseminate photographs of the two men it was seeking as suspects.

As the morning turned to afternoon, the nation’s major television networks continued to pre-empt all other programming for live coverage from Boston and from Watertown, the suburb where the manhunt was said to be unfolding. On several occasions, reporters and camera crews found themselves on what amounted to the police front line, able to describe and televise the action — at least until the police forced them to move farther away. Mr. Sanders of NBC crouched on the ground with his camera operator when the authorities suggested there was an imminent threat. He later said a police officer told him, “If you knew what was going on, you wouldn’t be standing here right now.”

Bill Carter and Christine Haughney contributed reporting.

Article source: