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Apr 30, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Yudkovitz New TiVo President

NBC veteran Martin Yudkovitz has been named president of TiVo, replacing Morgan Guenther, who resigned in January.

Mr. Yudkovitz, who resigned his posts as president of NBC Digital Media and executive VP of NBC, will be responsible for the deployment of TiVo through satellite, cable and advertising partnerships. He’ll also help content creators develop new revenue opportunities on TiVo’s DVR platform, the company said.

At NBC, Mr. Yudkovitz was responsible for devising NBC’s new media strategy, developing new growth businesses and ventures and supervising NBC’s digital media interests and partnerships and development of broadband and ITV technologies.

TiVo CEO Mike Ramsaysaid in a prepared statement, “TiVo intends to be a major player in the industry, providing compelling services for the TV viewer, networks and satellite and cable service providers. Marty’s joining TiVo reinforces our commitment to realizing these goals, and his experience will help to build our business moving forward.”

Dark Cloud Hovers Over Omnimedia: Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. swung to a first-quarter loss of $7.5 million, as the dark cloud over Chairman and CEO Martha Stewart’s sale of ImClone Systems Inc. shares combined with lower revenue from her syndicated TV series to weigh on the company’s performance.

A year earlier, the company reported a profit of $5.8 million. Revenue for the period slipped nearly 15 percent to $58 million, while EBITDA-earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization-was negative at minus-$5.4 million from $6.8 million a year earlier.

In terms of the company’s television assets, the company said its TV revenues fell 1 percent to $6.7 million, as strong revenue from cable shows was offset by weakness in ad sales at its syndicated program and the loss of airtime on CBS’s The Early Show.

Revenue at the publishing unit tumbled 21 percent to $34.1 million, hurt by weakening advertising and circulation numbers.

Universal Names Weiss Marketing VP: Universal has tapped Dan Weiss to the newly created post of executive VP, worldwide marketing, for Universal’s domestic and international television divisions. Mr. Weiss will oversee all marketing functions for both the domestic and international television markets, including worldwide pay-per-view and video-on-demand, with campaigns for an extensive slate of network and first-run series, off-network programming and motion pictures.

Departments that fall under worldwide marketing reporting to Mr. Weiss include affiliate relations and advertising, communications, promotions-partnerships and creative services. Mr. Weiss joins Universal from Carsey-Werner-Mandabach, where he has been senior VP, marketing and creative services, since 1995.

‘Idol’ Tops the Charts for Fox: Fox beat its nearest competitor in adults 18 to 49 last night by 120 percent. Once again, American Idol was the big winner with a 9.5 rating and 27 share and 19.9 million total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research fast affiliate data. Fox’s 24 won the 9 p.m.-to-10 p.m. hour in the 18 to 49 demo with a 5.8/15. From 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., ABC’s NYPD Blue showed it still has a lot of life in it with a time slot win with a 4.5/12, beating out NBC’s second-place Dateline (4.1/11).

For the night, Fox won in adults 18 to 49 with a 7.7/20, followed by ABC (3.5/9), NBC (3.4/9) and CBS (3.0/8). In total viewers, Fox won the night with 16 million, followed by CBS (12.8 million), ABC (9 million) and NBC (8.1 million).

Engel Heads to NBC News: NBC News has won the competition for Richard Engel, who became a star of the war in Iraq as a free-lancer who stayed in Baghdad, reporting for ABC News, after other U.S. TV news crews were ordered out either by their protective management or by the Iraqi government.

Mr. Engel, 29, will be based in Baghdad and will cover the Middle East (where he has lived since graduating from Stanford University in 1996), Asia, Africa and Europe. He is fluent in Spanish, Italian and several Arabic dialects. His resume also cuts across borders. He has reported for The World (produced by the BBC World Service, Public Radio International and WGBH Radio in Boston) and has written for USA Today, Reuters, AFP and Jane’s Defence Weekly.

“I am grateful to ABC News for the opportunity to report on the war with Iraq from Baghdad,” said Mr. Engel, who reported from Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel on the room-rattling first night of coalition bombing of the Iraqi capital.

CNBC’s ‘Faber’ to Discuss Digital Piracy: Digital piracy will be a major topic on Leaders With David Faber, a special hosted by the Wall Street correspondent at 8 p.m. (ET) Monday on CNBC.

Among his guests: Sony America Chairman Sir Howard Stringer, who is a guest on Tina Brown’s first special tonight and thus will be making two prime-time appearances on the business channel in less than a week; Liberty Media CEO John Malone; MPAA President Jack Valenti; “pirates” and prosecutors; US Weekly turnaround architect Bonnie Fuller; and Survivor producer Mark Burnett.

Clear Channel Reports 21 Percent Profit Drop: Clear Channel Communications, the radio giant that also owns 36 television stations, on Wednesday reported a 21 percent drop in first-quarter profit to $71 million as revenue climbed nearly 5 percent to $1.78 billion on the strength of revenue at its outdoor and television businesses.

A year ago San Antonio-based Clear Channel recorded a profit of $90.3 million, driven largely by a $28.1 million pre-tax gain related to the sale of a television license, the paying down of long-term debt and a sale of securities. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization slipped 1.5 percent to $376 million for the period.

Clear Channel, which lumps together its television and media and sports representation businesses, reported a 23.7 percent jump in revenue in that group to $125.4 million for the quarter. Earnings were flat at $15.8 million.

News Corp. Acquisition of Telepiu Complete: Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. on Wednesday completed its billion-dollar acquisition of Telepiu from Vivendi Universal and will merge the satellite pay TV platform with News Corp.’s smaller Italian satellite company, Stream, to form Italy’s largest pay-television provider.

The newly formed satellite company will be called Sky Italia. It will be 80 percent controlled by News Corp., with Telecom Italia holding the remaining 20 percent. With more than 2 million subscribers, Sky Italia will effectively control Italy’s pay-TV market-a fact that the European Union considered earlier this year before ultimately approving the deal in early April-and generate expected revenue of 1 billion euros ($1.12 billion).

As part of the acquisition, News Corp. said that all litigation, including a Stream lawsuit against Telepiu, was terminated.

The transaction called for News Corp. to pay 457 million euros ($510.2 million) and to assume 414 million euros ($462.2 million) in debt.