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1 Sep, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response

Sony to Purchase Full Stake in SonyBMG

By Jacqueline Renfrow (

NEW YORK — Sony Corp. has agreed to acquire Bertelsmann AG's 50-percent stake in SonyBMG. The music company, to be called Sony Music Entertainment Inc., will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Corp. of America. Sony and Bertelsmann AG originally created the separate music company in August 2004.

"Music has been a vital and vibrant part of Sony's culture for over 20 years," says Sir Howard Stringer, chairman and CEO of Sony Corp. "This acquisition will allow us to achieve a deeper and more robust integration between the wide-ranging global assets of the music company and Sony's products, operating companies and affiliates. It enables us to offer a total entertainment experience to consumers."

Bertelsmann AG's chairman and CEO, Hartmut Ostrowski, agreed to sell its stake in the music company as a step to benefit the stakeholders in both Sony Corp. and SonyBMG.

"This move is consistent with our new growth strategy and will enable us to focus on our defined growth areas," says Ostrowski. "Sony has been an excellent partner, and they are the right company to take this business to the next step and ensure that it realizes its full value and potential. We look forward to witnessing Sony Music Entertainment's exciting future."

Under the new deal, Sony Music Entertainment will consist of labels such as Arista Records, Columbia Records, Epic Records, J Records, RCA Records and Zomba. Bertelsmann also will take over some selected European music catalog assets from SonyBMG.

Obama Campaign Launches Infomercial

By Jacqueline Renfrow (

WASHINGTON — In early August, Democratic nominee Barack Obama launched a long-form television commercial for the 2008 presidential campaign. The infomercial is the first for a presidential candidate since Reform Party candidate Ross Perot in the 1992 and 1996 elections.

Obama's 28-minute, 30-second long-form show aired first at 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 10 on ION Television. The advertisement was mostly biographical and included scenes of the senator's keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, other campaign appearances and background on the candidate. The show also included call-in numbers for voters — a recorded message from Obama greets callers.

When asked for comment, an Obama campaign spokesperson Moira Mack, told Response, "This was another effective way for us to communicate with folks who may not normally see other communications we have with voters who are paying closer attention to the race."

As with most DRTV campaigns, the early morning timeslot was chosen as part of the testing phase for the marketing strategy. The campaign has also bought time on MTV Networks' Spike, as well as a limited number of other outlets.

Other previous presidential long-form spots included Bill Clinton's 1992 "A Man From Hope," a biography originally produced for the Democratic National Convention that was later run as an infomercial.

This is the second precedent set by Obama in the 2008 presidential campaign. The campaign set political and broadcast history last month by buying $5 million of advertising in NBC Universal's Olympics programming.

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