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Apr 18, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Levin bullish as AOL TW stock surges

AOL Time Warner CEO Gerald Levin told investors this morning that the company’s better-than-expected first-quarter results are proof the merged entity is on track to “generate sustained and consistent growth and mitigate volatility.”

The company is on track to meet its full-year 2001 targeted $11 billion in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization on $40 billion in revenues, despite the soft advertising market.

That news, buoyed by a surprise half-point interest-rate cut, boosted AOL Time Warner stock by 10 percent in midday trading to $48 a share. The company reported first-quarter earnings growth of 20 percent to $2.1 billion on a 9 percent increase in overall revenues to about $9 billion.

Report: TV ad recession possible: Recession in the television advertising business is an “imminent possibility,” and ad-supported cable is leading the way downward, according to the latest Myers Mediaeconomics and Advertising Confidence Index reports from New York-based Myers Reports.

More than seven out of 10 advertisers and agency executives surveyed by Myers said their upfront strategies this year will be aimed at achieving “greater flexibility,” with increased emphasis on scatter buys or upfront buys that can be canceled.

The first media sector to meet the commonly accepted recession definition of two consecutive “down” quarters will be network cable, according to Myers.

‘Link’ doesn’t shrink in ratings: Despite near-universal pans from newspaper TV critics over the perceived mean-spiritedness of British host Anne Robinson, NBC’s “Weakest Link” posted night-to-night increases in the key young-adult demos en route to winning its special 9:30 p.m.-to-10:30 p.m. Tuesday (ET) airing and the key demo for the Peacock last night.

Coming out of “Frasier” and holding all its lead-in, “Weakest Link’s” 6.3 rating/17 share in adults 18 to 49 won the 9:30 p.m. hour by scoring a 10 percent increase over its premiere Monday night (5.7/17), according to comparable Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate returns.

More clearances for ‘Justice’: The slow rollout of Twentieth Television’s fledgling court-show strip “Texas Justice” will continue in upcoming weeks with expansions toward both the East and West coasts to give the series nine markets, all on Fox owned-and-operated stations. The series has been added at 11 a.m. on WTVT-TV, Tampa, Fla., and at 10 a.m. on KSAZ-TV, Phoenix.

Weak ‘Chains’: The WB Network’s perennial 8 p.m.-to-9 p.m. Tuesday winner “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” defeated “Chains of Love,” UPN’s provocative new reality series, which premiered last night.

Airing in 45 of Nielsen Media Research’s 50 metered markets, “Chains” posted a 3.3 rating/5 share household average, marking 28 percent share and 45 percent rating deficits to The WB’s airing of an original “Buffy” episode (4.8/7). On a week-to-week basis, “Chains” did manage to improve UPN’s time-period share by 25 percent (over its previous movie night), but The WB’s return from a repeat marked a 75 percent spike.

Moos signs extension with CNN: New York-based national correspondent Jeanne Moos, a 20-year veteran of CNN, signed a multiyear contract deal.