Hotlines: Late-Breaking Industry News

3 Shops Remain in Wrigley $200 Mil. Global Creative

NEW YORK The three remaining contenders in Wrigley’s global creative review on Friday submitted financial data to the Chicago-based company, sources said. Sources identified the shops as Omnicom’s DDB—a roster agency that has Wrigley business in Australia and New Zealand—and two non-roster agencies: Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi and IPG’s DraftFCB. Not advancing to the final stage were Omnicom’s BBDO, Publicis’ Leo Burnett and WPP’s Grey, said sources. EnergyBBDO in Chicago remains Wrigley’s lead agency in the U.S., however, and BBDO is expected to remain on the roster. At the onset of the review [Adweek Online, April 25], Brian Wright, the company’s director of marketing communications, said BBDO would continue as a “key advertising agency,” adding that Wrigley was “assessing how best to consolidate the remainder of our agency roster globally so that we can be more efficient, synergistic and faster to market.” No strategic or creative pitches are planned. Rather, Wrigley will base its decision primarily on credentials, chemistry and cost, said sources. The agencies either declined comment or could not be reached. A client representative declined to confirm the list, saying only that the process was continuing and would be completed this summer.



Yahoo Buys College Sports Site Rivals.com for $100 Mil.

NEW YORK Yahoo said it has reached an agreement to purchase Rivals.com, a college football and basketball news and community site. While the company did not disclose terms of the deal, sources placed its value around $100 million. Rivals, which launched in 2001, is one of the more popular online communities catering to fans of college sports, while also boasting a robust high school sports section. Besides Rivals.com, the company has relationships with over 100 local fans communities, such as the University of Florida-focused GatorBait.net, which Yahoo Sports can now leverage for traffic and advertising revenue. A Yahoo exec said that the Rivals brand would remain intact, though it’s likely that Yahoo Sports content will be integrated into the site and its partners, and vice versa.



Decision on Amp’d Postponed; Contenders Express Doubts

LOS ANGELES Amp’d Mobile’s bankruptcy hearing scheduled for last week has been delayed until June 28, according to a company representative. That also put off the decision on whether to continue the Los Angeles-based company’s $65 million creative review, which was scheduled for final presentations the week of June 3—only days after Amp’d filed for bankruptcy protection, owing more than $100 million to various media outlets (MTV), networks (Verizon) and agencies (Horizon Media and incumbent Taxi). Omnicom’s Cutwater, San Francisco, and independent shops Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Sausalito, Calif. and 72 and Sunny here were finalists, but some agency executives expressed skepticism that the review would ever continue and said they would be unlikely to participate further without assurances of being paid up front.



$35 Mil. Epson Awards Media, Creative to Butler Shine

LOS ANGELES Independent Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners won the $35 million creative and media chores for Epson, the agency confirmed last week. The incumbent, Omnicom’s DDB in Venice, Calif., retained only the business-to-business professional imaging account, with annual billings of less than $5 million. Proxicom, Marina del Rey, Calif., picked up interactive chores previously handled by roster shops. VitroRobertson, San Diego, and SS+K, New York, were also finalists in a review launched in April and conducted by Russel Wohlwerth and Ark Advisors. Greg Stern, CEO of the Sausalito, Calif.-based shop, said the agency would try to “reignite the brand relevance” to consumers. The Long Beach, Calif., client spent $35 million on measured media in 2006, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.



Anheuser Busch Outlines Changes Coming to Bud.tv

NEW YORK Anheuser-Busch last week outlined changes it is making to Bud.tv in an effort to revitalize the struggling Web channel. Among them are: Putting its content—tagged with Bud.tv—on more sites like YouTube, AOL and Yahoo to raise awareness; reducing Webisodes to mostly one minute from the current 5-6 minutes; challenging content providers to come up with edgier programming and playing a larger role in deciding on the type of content it thinks will work; and making Bud.tv an aggregator of Web content the brewer thinks its audience would enjoy.



Four Countries Expect Internet To Be Main News Source by 2012

NEW YORK A new Harris poll said the Internet is expected to overtake TV as the No. 1 source of news by 2012 for people in the U.S., France, Italy and Spain. Network TV is currently the top source of news in each of those countries, the survey found. The survey, conducted in May, polled a total of more than 5,000 people in those four countries. Twenty-five percent of those polled in the U.S. stated that network TV was their primary source for news, while 18 percent cited the Web. But 26 percent of respondents said they expect to go online five years from now to retrieve news, while 22 percent said they expect to continue to rely on TV news. The biggest swing will occur in Italy, where 39 percent said they expect to be going online in five years to get news, up from the current 22 percent, while those relying on TV for news will drop from a current 30 percent to 22 percent by 2012.