Field Reports1 Dec, 2008 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response
More DMA Cutbacks Follow Annual Event
NEW YORK — The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) has laid off more than 10 senior level staff members, the third round of downsizing in the organization this year. The announcements were made following the association's annual convention in Las Vegas in mid-October.
"Like so many prudent businesses, DMA is restructuring to ride out the current economic situation ensuring we remain strong and capable of continuing to provide outstanding service to our members and customers well into the future," reads a statement from the DMA. "It is our intent to enhance our members' DMA experiences, build upon our strengths and continue to improve and deepen the value of DMA to the growing direct marketing community. It would be inappropriate to discuss individuals affected by this restructuring."
The cutbacks were not a surprise, since rumblings of more downsizing were heard all around the association's annual conference. There was also speculation due to the association's significantly reduced revenue. In a recent annual report, the DMA reported $39 million in revenue for the fiscal year ending in June 2008. Just one-year prior, revenue was $39.7 million. Operating expenses were up to $39.6 million from $37.3 million.
Among those laid off include Peter Johnson, vice president and senior economist for strategy, analysis and planning, who was instrumental in developing the current research platform; Charles A. Prescott, vice president of global development, who played a role in the DMA's global symposium at the annual conference; Leslie J. Benjamin, director of education and event marketing; Douglas Berger, director of member communications; James F. Conway, vice president and counsel for corporate and social responsibility; Alan Kuritsky, senior vice president sales and marketing; Marci Silverman, director of membership and research marketing; and Scott Roberts, vice president of corporate marketing communications.
MTV Networks Sets Deal With MySpace
SAN FRANCISCO — MTV Networks, owned by parent company Viacom Inc., plans to pair advertising with clips from television shows uploaded onto the social community MySpace, reported the Los Angeles Times.
Led by a consumer desire for digital video, MTV and MySpace are partnering with Silicon Valley-based Auditude, a company providing the advertising technology. The idea is similar to that of YouTube, which late last year launched a system that identifies video clips and then offers copyright holders a choice between removing the video or letting YouTube place ads on it in exchange for revenue.
"This is a sign that we are finally ready to do this," says James McQuivey, a Forrester Research analyst. "Two years ago, the solution was 'Let's sue YouTube and block this.' It really hasn't worked. Now the solution is 'Let's create a system where content can derive some benefit.'"
For this endeavor, MySpace will not control copyright but instead it will split the advertising revenue and MTV will be able to target ads to fans of its shows and direct them to its shows and merchandise.
Auditude's technology is able to identify virtually any professional video uploaded across the Internet and then its content owners can be asked if they want to run ads with the content. Auditude is one of several companies looking to monetize television content on the Web. "We are looking for consumer-friendly, copyright-friendly solutions that fit everyone's needs," says Mika Salmi, MTV Networks' president of global digital media.
The move was announced at the same time that Viacom reported slow third-quarter earnings of $401 million, a 37-percent drop from one year ago. Softness in the ad market caused a 2-percent decrease in worldwide ad revenue for Viacom, particularly at cable networks, such as MTV, VH1 and BET. All of these networks posted rating declines in the third quarter, and operating income declined by 4 percent because of ad softness and higher production costs.
FOR THE RECORD
A chart in the October 2008 edition of Response was incorrect. On page 23 of that issue, in the story titled "Long-Form Media Billings Rise 3.3 Percent in 2Q 2008," the results in the chart labeled "Fig. 3 — Second-Quarter 2008 Long-Form Categorical Distribution" were incorrect. The correct chart can be found below, as well as online at responsemagazine.com. The editorial staff of Response regrets the error.
Figure 3: Second-Quarter 2008 Long-Form Categorical Distribution