Yachts, parties, lions – it must be Cannes

1cannes.jpgIt’s one of the big weeks for advertising (well, in terms of parties and sunshine), so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to check in on Cannes. More than 12,000 advertising types have gathered in the South of France to toast the industry — and perhaps even collect an award.

This is an interesting year for Cannes, where a lot of the chatter at parties and meetings will likely be about either the recession or the rise of online advertising, Reuters notes.

The festival, in its 55th year, awards excellence with the so-called Lions trophies and hosts seminars and workshops. In a sign of how crucial the Internet has become to advertising, the Film Lions awards now includes films for Internet and mobiles.

The $40 billion online advertising market remains a bright spot in a global industry facing dire times with soaring oil prices and an economic slowdown denting clients’ budgets.

Even though Cannes gives a nod to new media these days, AdWeek writes that the event is nonetheless struggling to keep up with the times. Like the industry itself, Cannes is ”an old institution struggling to reinvent itself in a new-media environment.” 

Viacom bets “iCarly” is next tween queen

Miranda Cosgrove, the star of Nickelodeon’s “iCarlyDoes “iCarly” have that Hillary Duff-stuff? Is she serious like Miley Cyrus?

Viacom’s Nickelodeon and Sony Music are betting big that 15-year-old “iCarly” star Miranda Cosgrove will be the next “tween” media goldmine, stepping into the shoes of Duff (she of the “Lizzie McGuire” series, multiple films, and music releases) earlier in the decade, and current golden goose Miley Cyrus, aka “Hannah Montana.”

The challenge is significant if Nickelodeon can steal some tween thunder from Walt Disney, which is home to both the Lizzie McGuire and Hannah Montana franchises, and the future home to a show by hot boy band The Jonas Brothers .

Attention shoppers: Madison Ave. thanks you

walmart.jpgMadison Avenue should breathe a sigh of relief, thanks to the retail sector. Big U.S. retailers posted slightly better-than-expected sales last month, which may give them confidence to keep their advertising budgets intact.

Like everyone else, advertising executives have watched the economy, falter a development that could threatens to crimp marketing spending. By and large, admen say, spending had held steady, with some weakness in financial services and other areas.

But Madison Avenue is hardly in the clear — just look at the mounting troubles in the auto industry, which has banked on SUV sales, as evidenced by General Motors’ announcement earlier this week about plant closures and job cuts.

Flying blind into the upfronts?

drone.jpgOne thing you can bank on next week is that the TV networks won’t be showing off dazzling pilots of new shows at the upfronts, as we highlighted in a preview.

Executives have made no secret of the fact that pilots are costly, and, it seems, not all that useful. Already, NBC previewed their season with little more than a few very, very short clips. CBS, ABC and Fox aren’t expected to offer a whole lot more.

So what do advertising buyers think of this brave new world without pilots? Are they and their clients comfortable shelling out big bucks without seeing a full episode of a new comedy or drama.

What will Microsoft do about Yahoo?

poker.jpgThings could get complicated soon in the saga of Microsoft’s quest to acquire Yahoo, since the software makers deadline for what was origianlly seen as a friendly deal — at the right price — passed this weekend without Yahoo saying “I Do.”

Now, that amicable offer could get downright hostile. Analysts say they believe Microsoft is planning to launch a hostile bid at its current price of $31 per share in cash and stock.

Three weeks ago, Microsoft said it will go hostile, or even call off its bid, if Yahoo did not agree to a deal before this past weekend. Now, Microsoft executives are poised to play their next card.

Disney on AOL – “NO” comment

iger.jpgNot that anyone was suspicious, but in case you’re wondering Disney isn’t buying AOL .

Iger blurted that out in response to BusinessWeek editor John Byrne’s question on stage at the McGraw-Hill Media Summit in New York on Wednesday.

Byrne: “Can we expect Disney to make another big acquisition? Would you think about AOL for example?”

Diller, Malone: Battle of the moguls kick off

bulls.jpgIts a (media) heavyweight battle: IAC’s Barry Diller vs Liberty Media’s John Malone.Not since former Disney chief Michael Eisner and one-time Hollywood super agent Michael Ovitz squared off has the media industry seen as contentious a battle as the one we’re about to witness in Delaware on Monday as Diller and Malone fight in court over control.Long-time business partners are dueling over Diller’s move to break up the company in a plan that would eliminate IAC’s dual class share structure, which gives Malone’s Liberty some 62 percent of the company’s voting power. Under a longstanding agreement, Diller has been able to vote Liberty’s stake. Liberty now says IAC has breached that agreement by going against Liberty’s wishes.PaidContent posted a copy of Diller’s pre-battle message to troops.Eleventh-hour settlement hopes ahead of the trial have largely been dashed. Although there is still about a hour to go before the trial starts. Citing unnamed sources, NY Post says these talks are likely to continue through the week.Let the games begin.(Reuters)Keep an eye on:

    The hair-twirling, the fidgeting, the interjections. BusinessWeek columnist Sarah Lacy learns how not to do an interview with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, when the crowd at South by Southwest Interactive turns on her. ( Top six U.S. cable operators aim to spend $150 million to create a jointly owned company to court advertisers on a national scale. (NYTimes) Facebook, en Francais. (Reuters) MySpace’s talks with music industry heats up, considers launching service without Universal Music Group. (FT)

(Photo: Reuters)