My head hurts. I’ve just spent a few hours attempting to read the
Cordiant demerger documentary bumf and a thoroughly tedious task it has
Unsurprisingly, most of the national press have chosen to focus on the
potentially lucrative share option schemes dangled in front of various
Bates and Saatchis executives. Me, I’ve been thinking about Zenith and
the first conclusion to draw is that, as far as it is concerned, the
whole situation is a bugger’s muddle.
I say this because there is probably nothing so unsatisfactory for a
business, especially one that is based on people and relationships, as
to have to serve two masters. But this is exactly what Zenith will be
required to do in the form of its joint 50/50 owners, Saatchis and Bates
(as was), who will soon also be, of course, in ferocious competition
with one another.
Veterans will say this is no different from before. I disagree. While
everyone knew that Bates and Saatchis hated each other, the point was
that, at the end of the day, Zenith answered to the holding company, not
the agency networks. It was therefore, up to a point, its own
This is a consideration that WPP, in making MindShare report to it
rather than O&M and JWT, has grasped.
But with two owners who are no longer connected to each other, however
nominal that may have been under the old arrangement, Zenith will have
some tricky barriers to negotiate. What happens, for example, if it
wants to invest a few million in IT or open new offices and one owner
says ’yes’ and the other ’no’ (or indeed both say ’no’ because they have
to attend to their own needs)? This is going to be tricky enough anyway,
and that’s even before you get a scenario in which someone like Grey or
WPP (and I pluck those names entirely at random) buys Bates. These are
not insignificant questions because, if it is going to stay in the game,
Zenith will have continuously to invest in kit, systems, people and so
On the other hand, you could look at Zenith and say that, for the dozier
global networks or holding companies who have been slow to grasp the
importance of media, it represents a heaven-sent chance - probably the
last of its kind - to buy an oven-ready global (of sorts, anyway) media
Who fits into this category of potential buyer? Well, it’s easier to say
who doesn’t since that is really only WPP and Omnicom plus, if you’re
feeling especially kind, Interpublic. All the others - Grey, Y&R, Havas,
Publicis, True North - are still, relatively speaking, at the starting
gates of global media. And, if it has regained its City credibility, you
could also chuck in Aegis as an interesting candidate.
The official line naturally will be that Zenith is viable under this new
arrangement and speculation otherwise is irresponsible (come on then,
Perriss, phone me and let’s have an argument). Bah! The worst of all
worlds for Zenith is one in which its owners won’t let it go forward but
can’t, or won’t, let it go free either.
The Electronic Telegraph has signed Mitsubishi Computers to sponsor
its online Fantasy League. The sponsorship forms part of Mitsubishi’s
new online strategy, Computers for a Connected World, which started last
Channel 5 is launching an ad campaign through Mother to promote the new
series, La Femme Nikita. The campaign includes movie-style full-colour
ads running in the national press and on the cinema pages of listings
magazines. The show will be screened on Friday nights at 10.50pm.
After topless darts and weather forecasts in Norweigian, Live TV is
introducing a stripping business reporter. The cable station’s financial
editor, Tiffani Bannister, will take an item of clothing off with each
financial report she delivers.
The cinema medium recorded its highest cinema admissions since 1971 last
month. An average of 3.89 million admissions were recorded each week
throughout August, resulting in a 5.4 per cent increase in cinema
attendances year on year. August was the sixth consecutive month that
admissions were up on 1996.
Smash Hits, the Emap Metro teen magazine, is claiming a first by
publishing five covers, each showing a different Spice Girl. Gavin
Reeve, the editor, said: ’Smash Hits wants to recognise the Spice Girls
as the biggest pop band and help them break another record.’
The Gramophone Awards will be televised for the first time on ITV on 28
October. The event, which is being sponsored by the Britannia Music Club
and hosted by Jill Dando, will be featured in a special awards issue of
The pan-European music channel, MTV, is joining forces with the Planet
Hollywood company to develop an entertainment and live-music venue in
central London. The initiative will tap into MTV’s brand values and its
audiences to attract top pop names to play at the venue.
Link House Magazines has bought the monthly consumer magazine, Rally
Sport, from A&S Publishing. The title will be incorporated into Cars &
Car Conversions from the December issue.
BBC 1 unveiled its new balloon ident on Saturday as it gears up for the
launch of its digital services. Created by Martin Lambie-Nairn, the new
look cost the BBC pounds 1.7 million. Alan Yentob, the BBC’s director of
television, said: ’The choice of a balloon seemed to us an imaginative
way of emphasising the universal appeal of BBC 1.’
The monthly music magazine, the Wire, has launched a Website -
http://www.dfuse.com/the-wire/ - which publishes news on music and
festival events, back issues and the contents page for each new issue
before it is published.
The self-build and home renovation magazine, Individual Homes, from
Ascent Publishing has changed its title to Individual Homes Homebuilding
& Renovating. The magazine is also sponsoring a programme about DIY
housebuilding, These Four Walls, on the Discovery Home and Leisure
Stephen Bradley, the former managing director of Kentish Times
Newspapers, was found guilty of nine counts of fraud at Middlesex Crown
Court on Friday.
The incidents relate to Bradley’s stint at AB Marketing, a joint venture
promotion company set up with Alan Kirkland. Bradley will be sentenced
on 14 November at the same court.