MediaFile

Chrysler: Coming soon to a TV near you

As the New York Times puts it this morning: “Even after receiving $15.4 billion in federal loans, General Motors is once again on the brink of financial collapse.” The reason is that the automaker burned through $10.2 billion in the firs quarter, while revenue dropped by almost half to $22.4 billion.

Does that mean GM is heading for bankruptcy? Possibly. Does that mean more bad news for the advertising industry, which has been hard hit by the pullback in spending from automakers? Not necessarily.

Take, for instance, the case of Chrysler. Adweek reports that the company, after filing for bankruptcy protection, is launching a new ad campaign that will debut on May 11 during prime-time television.

The initiative crafted by Omnicom Group’s BBDO in Detroit is designed to remind consumers that the automaker is still open for business, while highlighting the range of current and future vehicles in Chrysler’s portfolio and touting its rebirth as a global car company per its alliance with Fiat of Italy.

“When we asked consumers what they wanted to know about Chrysler, they told us to tell them about our products, tell them why they should buy our vehicles and give them a reason why they should be confident in the future of this company,” said Steven Landry, the company’s evp, North American sales, marketing, motor parts and service. “We believe this campaign delivers on all of those objectives. In addition, this campaign gives us the opportunity to reinforce that it’s business as usual and demonstrate a bright future ahead for Chrysler.”

Advertising slump shows no signs of relenting

The news media may be preoccupied with Swine Flu and the Banking Crisis and the Auto Industry meltdown, but look beyond those hot topics and you will see a familiar story — you know, the advertising-business-is-getting-slammed story.

Advertising group WPP today said it would not meet its 2009 forecasts after quarterly sales fell 5.8 percent, as companies slashed marketing budgets. This comes after rival Omnicom on Monday reported that its first-quarter revenue fell 14 percent.

Interpublic needed a heap of cost-cutting moves — including job cuts — to help it post a loss that was smaller that Wall Street expected. Revenue fell nearly 11 percent — maybe that’s a case of it-could-have-been-worse for a company that counts General Motors as one of its single largest clients.

Good news for Madison Ave: WPP will only be slightly down

Slightly down is the new up.

At least judging from the reception that advertising giant WPP received today after it predicted like-for-like revenue would drop 2 percent this year.

Shares were up about 5 percent after the report from WPP, the last of the big three advertising holdings to post quarterly results. For all the worry about the advertising recession — and no doubt advertising is bad right now — WPP, Omnicom and Interpublic also showed some bright spots in their numbers.

WPP, in fact, said the in the ”long-term” the outlook for the advertising and marketing services business “appears favorable.” “Long-term” isn’t a particularly well-defined timeframe, but nonetheless those are pretty upbeat comments coming from an industry that has seen auto, retail and financial services spending drop like a stone.

Looks like Yahoo’s not buying Tumblr

Gawker/Valleywag created a bit of stir on the blogosphere Monday with its report that Yahoo was in talks to buy blogging startup Tumblr for “low to mid-eight figures,” or as much as $50 million.

From the post:

We hear the talks are serious, led by Tapan Bhat, a fast-rising executive in charge of Yahoo’s homepage and other key properties — but as with any acquisition talks, they could fall apart.

We figured Yahoo’s new CEO Carol Bartz was too busy figuring out where Yahoo should seek growth and how to stem the leaky ship to pursue an acquisition. Sure enough, Silicon Alley Insider knocked down the Valleywag story by getting Tumblr founder David Karp on the record:

See you at the job bank

We were talking the other day about job cuts — more specifically about who would be next to feel the axe blade. We’d seen big cuts at Viacom, Omnicom, Warner Brothers and Time Inc, and, you know, it obviously didn’t take a genius to figure more were coming.

The next day: A memo from AOL Chief Executive Randy Falco announces that the Internet unit of Time Warner will cut 700 jobs, or about 10 percent of its workforce;  Reader’s Digest says it will cut 8 percent of its staff.

And now we come to Walt Disney Co, which is cutting about 5 percent of its workforce through a combination of 200 layoffs and a job freeze on another 200 positions.

Fight on the blogs! Fight on the blogs!

There’s the story, and there’s always the side-story. The snarky, juicy, lip-smacking stuff. 

Case in point is last night’s news that Jerry Yang is stepping down as chief executive of Yahoo — which itself is an interesting tale. But we’d like to draw your attention to RealDanLyons.com, where you’ll find a wonderfully catty distraction.  

In his blog, Dan Lyons rips into Kara Swisher, the AllThingsD honcho and prominent tech writer, who apparently took issue with him for not crediting her with getting the scoop on Yang’s departure. 

Take my savings — but not my mediocre TV shows

No doubt about it, the financial crisis has been tough on the media business. Just ask Sumner Redstone, the folks over at the Associated Press, or anyone on Madison Avenue.

Then there are some of the poorly rated television shows to consider… The Hollywood Reporter writes that thanks to the economic downturn, the broadcast networks could play it safe and order full-seasons of some low-rated programs rather than replace them with new series.

There are a number of reasons for this, one of which is that it costs money to order and market a new series.

More Boo-Hoo in Yahoo shares

yahoo-sign.jpgWho was it that wrote about the “The Road Not Taken”? Robert Frost?

That’s somewhat ironic, because you have to figure Yahoo shareholders are feeling pretty frosty toward Yahoo’s management now that its stock price is wallowing around $13 , near five-year lows, amid a weakening display advertising outlook.

The road not taken? Microsoft’s offer of $33 a share for Yahoo. That deal died in the summer, before the global banking crisis had reared its ugly head. What was once a $47 billion deal would be worth significantly less today. 

Yahoo’s premium display business is getting roughed up by a slow-down by advertisers such as financial companies and automakers, and caution among online advertising customers.

Advertising budgets: What’s the deal there?

scissors.jpgQuarter after quarter, analysts and the financial press keep pressing advertising executives about the economy and spending. For good reason, too, since corporations often take scissors to advertising budgets during downturns.

Thing is, the chief executives of the big ad holding companies so far have given very much the same answer during conference calls and interviews: everyone is worried, nobody is cutting spending.

Interpublic CEO Michael Roth is no exception. Here’s what he said on Wednesday about the economy/spending issue during his company’s earnings call: