News in Brief

02 May 2002

UK: The Media
Carlton Slaps Writ on UBM for Merger Tryst with Granada
A failed merger two years ago has prompted Carlton Communications to issue a writ on United Business Media claiming a £30 million ($43.95m; €48.54m) ‘break-up’ fee. After regulatory limitations prevented the sale to Carlton of UBM’s flagship Meridian ITV asset, the deal was abandoned on grounds that this “undermined the merger's rationale and significantly reduced benefits to shareholders”. UBM then sold its entire ITV portfolio to Granada Media, thereby boosting the latter to top dog slot among ITV franchisees. Ironically, Carlton and Granada, co-owners of the failed ITV Digital platform, are now engaged in active merger negotiations.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff

Global: The Media; Ecommerce to Charge for Online Content, the online unit of the Pearson group’s Financial Times, and self-proclaimed ‘world's most popular business website’, is to follow the recent trend will this month start to charge for much of its content. Although access to most of’s daily news services will continue to be gratis, certain specialty services such as the highly respected Lex column and business sector surveys will attract annual fees ranging of up to $300 ($440; €485).

Data sourced from: New York Times; additional content by WARC staff

Spain: The Media
Spanish Pay-TV Service Goes to the Wall
In what has rapidly become a bloodbath, another European pay-TV operator has gone to the wall. After only thirty months of operation Spanish digital terrestrial service Quiero TV has handed back its licence to the nation’s technology ministry, having amassed losses of €400 million ($362.18m; £247.19m). The 14-channel platform is the first privately-owned Spanish TV operator to go under. One of the failed station’s investors, with a 6% stake, is the hapless UK broadcaster Carlton Communications, still reeling from its losses on ITV Digital.

News source:; additional content by WARC staff

USA: The Media
Disney Ousts ABC Television President
ABC Television, the ailing broadcast network owned by Walt Disney Corporation, has ousted president Steven Bornstein, a long-serving staffer who has spent twenty-two years with the Disney empire. He resigned, according to Disney, “to pursue other interests”; but insiders believe his departure augurs a major management shakeup aimed at jolting the network’s performance. It has shed 20% of its peak time audience since 2000 when it was the most watched of the four major networks. ABC now languishes behind CBS and NBC in third place. Tipped to replace Bornstein is Susan Lynch who joined the network in January to head programming.

Data sourced from: Financial Times; additional content by WARC staff

USA: Advertisers/Brands
GM Revamps Discount Promos, Axes 0% Financing
General Motors is fine tuning its promotional marketing, dropping its successful but expensive zero percent discount plan and tweaking the discount percentages offered on its range of autos. The revamped program, named 1-2-3 (which refers to the finance deals on offer, 1.9%, 2.9% and 3.9%) will see cashback discounts reduced on GM’s more popular brands and increased on others. GM is “clearly de-escalating” the auto industry’s incentive wars, according to a company statement.

News source: Wall Street Journal; additional content by WARC staff

Sources as attributed