Newswires: Late-Breaking News

Judge Asks Biegel for More Info to Support Dentsu Claim
NEW YORK A U.S. District Court judge has asked former Dentsu creative director Steve Biegel for more information to support his allegations of sexual harassment against the agency. However, the judge also said Dentsu’s motion to dismiss many of the claims made in a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit Biegel filed in October would be denied. Biegel has until Thursday to provide evidence about when and to whom he complained at Dentsu about the various incidents that allegedly constituted harassment. Dentsu then has five days to respond. Dentsu and attorneys for Dentsu and Biegel declined to comment last week. The former Dentsu exec filed his original complaint against the agency’s top North American executive, Toyo Shigeta, and Tim Andree, Dentsu America’s CEO, who fired the creative director in November 2006.

Ogilvy Cuts 75 Staff Positions In New York Headquarters
NEW YORK In the aftermath of anemic new business performance, WPP’s Ogilvy & Mather last week eliminated some 75 jobs from its New York headquarters, sources said. The estimated 4 percent cut impacted both Ogilvy and its direct marketing and interactive arm, OgilvyOne, with the bulk of the layoffs coming in account management, said sources. Both units are part of a single P&L in New York. Ogilvy declined to comment. In the past year, the agency has failed to win major pitches such as those for Wal-Mart (January 2007) Sprint (March) and the U.S. Census (September). At the same time, existing clients such as IBM and Dove have shifted dollars out of advertising and into branded content and interactive initiatives, which are generally less lucrative.

Broadband Video Grows, But TV Is Still Preferred Platform
NEW YORK Six out of 10 high-speed Internet users either watch or download online video content at least once a week, and as many as 86 percent do so on a monthly basis, according to the “Broadband Content and Services 2007” study by market research and consulting company Horowitz Associates, Larchmont, N.Y. Although broadband video consumption is on the rise, the study determined that traditional TV remains the preferred platform. Seventy percent of Internet users who watch TV online said they did so because they missed the original broadcast. Roughly 18 percent said they watch shows online to watch them again, after first viewing the program on TV. “The data suggest that broadband video is not cannibalistic to linear video, but rather an enhancement to consumers’ traditional TV experience,” said Howard Horowitz, president of Horowitz Associates.

WPP Acquires Yankelovich; To Merge With Henley Centre
NEW YORK Yankelovich Holdings, a U.S. consumer trends and lifestyle research business, will merge with WPP’s Henley Centre HeadlightVision, following its acquisition by the holding company. Henley Centre is a consumer trends and futures research and consultancy and a unit of Kantar, WPP’s information, insight and consultancy division. Sian Davies, CEO of Henley Centre, will assume leadership of the combined operation. J. Walker Smith remains president of Yankelovich, and Steve Bodhaine and Kevin Brown continue as president of the Segmentation Co. and evp of sales, respectively. WPP plans to build a global insight offering focusing on the changing habits of consumers and the ability to act on these changes. “We are seeing major shifts in consumer attitudes and lifestyles as BRIC and other fast-growing economies expand, as health and well-being and environmental concerns gather pace globally, and as consumers use new media in innovative ways,” said Davies.

Mobile Phone Ads Gain Ground With Consumers
NEW YORK One in three mobile phone users in the U.S.—or 78 million people—have seen or heard advertising on their phones within the last three months, according to the Mobile Advertising Report, a joint survey conducted by Limbo and GFK/NOP Research. “The fact that so many people are aware of advertising [on their mobile phones] shows that it’s going to have some sort of real presence in the eyes of the consumer,” said Rob Lawson, CMO, Limbo. Lawson said this indicates that advertisers are beginning to use it as a mass-market media channel. SMS (a text-messaging protocol) is the dominant media for mobile advertising; one in six mobile users recalled seeing SMS advertising. The study found that men are 20 percent more likely to recall advertising than women, and people under 20 are twice as likely to recall ads as those over 50. “[SMS is] the simplest of the services, but has the highest reach,” said Lawson.