BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY NEWS: Clear Channel Entertainment Launches New Marketing Unit

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Clear Channel Entertainment is expanding its marketing services organization to include television production and special events services. The newly named unit, Clear Channel Entertainment Properties, will specialize in creating customized, high-impact marketing programs.

"Reaching high-value consumers has never been more difficult, yet our sponsorship partners continue to tell us our ticket buyers rank among their most sought-after demographics," said Brian Becker, president of Clear Channel Entertainment. "We are now actively pursuing partnerships with major national and international companies that can enhance the experience for our consumers and realize the full value of the company's properties. With our expansion, we now become a triple threat of traditional advertising, customized live experiences and audio and video content."

"Three years ago, this kind of marketing didn't exist," added Bruce Eskowitz, president, CCE Properties. "Traditional brand marketing vehicles are so saturated that even the most respected brands are forced to pursue greater returns on investment. Our shared-risk model enables us to create fresh, compelling content and prompts us to formalize these expanded services."

Clear Channel Entertainment has already crafted customized marketing and branding programs for a wide range of national and international brands including American Express, Anheuser-Busch, Blimpie, City of Las Vegas, Coca-Cola, SouthWest Airlines, eBay, Jagermeister, Miller Brewing Company, T-Mobile, Tommy Hilfiger, Tweeter, Verizon Wireless, and XM.

"Clear Channel Entertainment combines the power of sight, sound and emotion that allows us to connect our brands to their individual core audiences in a meaningful and enduring way," said Geoff Cottrill, group director – Entertainment Marketing, Coca-Cola North America, The Coca-Cola Company. "That, plus their management team's willingness to be flexible with our partnership as Coca-Cola's business needs evolve, has led to a very strong and valued relationship with Clear Channel Entertainment that should last for years to come."

Among the complete list of services to be offered by the expanded unit: strategic marketing program and content development, national and local sales programs, product and service launches, and television/broadcast programming. CCE Properties will also access and create customized, strategic live entertainment content that uses CCE's network of venues; music, motor sports, action sports, and theatrical properties; exclusive special events, exhibitions, and Emmy award-winning television production services.

The resources and reach of each of CCE Properties' elements — national sales, local sales, television, Bill Graham Special Events, marketing and creative development, consumer products, and account management — have already made them among the most sought-after partners for business and consumer marketing in live entertainment today. –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Entertainment Retail Trade Associations Join Forces: Coalition To Address Common Issues And Concerns

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Five leading trade organizations representing companies that provide movies, music and video games to consumers have formed the Coalition of Entertainment Retail Trade Associations (CERTA). The group plans to speak out regularly about common concerns and explore potential collaborations, focusing first on public policy matters.

CERTA members–the Digital Media Association (DiMA), Interactive Entertainment Merchants Association (IEMA), National Association of Recording Merchandisers (NARM), National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), and Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA)–represent more than 3,000 entertainment retailers and exhibitors who operate more than 50,000 movie theaters, home video and music stores, video game stores, online music sites, and other retail entertainment establishments.

"We first met after participating in a Federal Trade Commission workshop," said NARM Acting President Jim Donio. "It was apparent that we could maximize our influence on common issues by combining our voices."

Jonathan Potter, DiMA's executive director, added, "Our organizations' members are the bridges between producers and consumers, so our policy interests are often aligned on issues of consumer education, consumer behavior, and marketplace innovation."

"CERTA's existence has already led to increased cooperation and support between our
organizations," stated IEMA President Hal Halpin. "Surely, we look forward to the results of our combined efforts."

An initial CERTA focus is certain to be on entertainment piracy and how to innovatively combat piracy in the marketplace, as well as through enforcement and education.

"Each of our associations faces different industry challenges. But consumer education and consumer behavior are clearly part of the piracy problem and any potential solution," said VSDA President Bo Andersen. "Legislators must understand that CERTA member companies face unfair and unlawful competition from piracy every day," he said.

In addition to piracy, CERTA will also place early emphasis on consumer awareness with regard to entertainment product content ratings and labeling. "By partnering, we can use our individual industries' resources more efficiently," said John Fithian, president of NATO. "Ultimately that should result in more knowledge of the marketplace, more innovation, and more value for consumers." –Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Univision Profits More Than Double

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Univision Communications Inc.'s first-quarter profits more than doubled on the strength of higher ratings at the Spanish-language broadcaster's radio and television stations and three networks.

Univision on Thursday reported net income of $31.6 million, or 9 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with $12.8 million, or 5 cents per share, in the same period last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had expected Univision to earn 8 cents a share for the quarter.

Net revenue rose 35 percent to $352.9 million, compared to $261.7 million in the first quarter of 2003, the company said. The total includes net revenue from Univision Radio, formerly Hispanic Broadcasting Corp., which Univision acquired in September for $3.2 billion.

"Univision Communications once again delivered record results in the first quarter, with each of our businesses securely positioned as the No. 1 Spanish-language media-entertainment property in its respective industry," A. Jerrold Perenchio, Univision's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

The company said its three networks — Univision, Galavision and Telefutura — delivered the largest total audience numbers in the company's history during the quarter.

Net revenue from Univision's television, radio and Internet operations rose 39.4 percent to $326.5 million, the company said.

Univision said net revenue in the second quarter would increase by low to mid-teen percentages. Earnings per share will rise to between 18 cents and 20 cents, compared to 15 cents in the same period last year, the company said.

Depreciation and amortization expense should be about $25 million, the company said.

Univision shares fell nearly 5 percent, or $1.59, to close at $32.27 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares fell another 7 cents in the extended session.

www.univision.com

Writers, Producers Agree To Resume Talks

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Talks between the Writers Guild of America, Hollywood producers and three broadcast networks will resume June 1, the two sides said Wednesday.

The delay gives both sides time to attend to other pressing matters, including presenting the networks' fall schedules to advertisers over the next two weeks in New York.

Producers and writers got back together Wednesday after adjourning last week. The groups decided to continue talks among smaller groups on various issues over the next few weeks.

A news blackout, lifted briefly last week to allow the WGA to report to its members, will stay in place.

The WGA has rejected a three-year pact presented by the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, saying it would result in huge health plan cuts and would provide no new residual payments from the lucrative DVD market.

Writers have countered with a one-year deal, similar to the one reached earlier this year between producers and actors.

Producers have said they are willing to continue talks on a three-year deal, which is preferred because it provides studios and networks with stability as they plan their schedules.

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