All eyes on Goldman — the conference, that is

September 17, 2008

goldman.jpgWe’ll be paying close attention to Goldman Sachs today for reasons other than the wrenching financial crisis. Our interest relates to the investment bank’s Communacopia conference, an annual meeting of some top media players.

Of course, it’s impossible to escape Wall Street’s woes, even at a media conference. After all, there are questions about the ripple effect on the economy — and that includes the advertising business, the bread and butter of media.

We spoke to a number of experts and the consensus was that while financial services make up just 6 percent of advertising spending in the United States, which is no small sum, the bigger issue is the influence that the crisis has on confidence throughout Corporate America. Watching this week’s turmoil, will corporations be as free with spending?

Here’s how Zain Raj, chief executive of Euro RSCG Discovery, a unit of France’s Havas advertising company, put it:

 “Normally, when Wall Street sneezes, Madison Avenue ignores it. In this case, Wall Street has pneumonia and Madison Avenue better realize it.”

Whether in presentations or on the sidelines of Communacopia, that’s sure to be a topic of conversation. Let’s hear what News Corp, Time Warner and CBS, among others, have to say.

Keep an eye on:

  • McClatchy will slash 10 percent of its workforce for the second time this year and is cutting its dividend as the U.S. newspaper publisher struggles with punishing advertising revenue declines (Reuters)
  • The Newhouse family doesn’t expect to get the cost-savings it needs to save New Jersey’s Star-Ledger and plans to tell staff that the paper will be sold or closed on Jan. 5 (NY Post)
  • Sam Zell faces a lawsuit by current and former members of the Tribune Co Employee Stock Option Plan and other retirement programs (

(Reuters photo of Goldman Sachs headquarters)

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