March 28-23 archives

March 28, 2006

Omma opens today





Written by Joyce L Chow & William Hoehne March 27 2006


www.montebubbles.com for more MBN news

MONTEBUBBLISM: Today I was told by a member of the Wheaton Mafia that I looked like a pile of you know what. That’s all right I consoled myself and my mommy by going home with a first place ribbon.

When someone insults you that it is probably because they are very little people trying to make you as little as them.


Paul Dana dies due to injuries in Indy car prerace crash

Operation Scorpion Concludes

Busch fifth victory in the last nine Bristol races.

Consumer Confidence With Complex Transactions Peaks Online Auto Insurance Sales



VDS To Introduce Promotor at NAB 2006

THIRD SCREEN" COULD become a primary advertising outlet


Today we attended OMMA. The Business of the internet.

By William Hoehne

I found that I was the oldest person at the event where many panels were held dealing with the net. Most of those heading the panels where young enough to be my children.

Panel Discussions deal with such topics as the internet becoimg the primary distribution channel for all media, Online content, Measurement of who and how many coming to sites, changing media buying practices.

There was much information given this first day but what stood out greatly was how litle is really known.

Just what should be measured and how and whose measurements are to be used.

And the "L" word kept coming,lawyers. The fear of endless litigation was always on the lips of those speaking. What content could be used and not used, rights verus no rights to use material.

There was much to be learned about this medium and over the next few days I hope to share this with you.






Paul Dana dies due to injuries in Indy car prerace crash

IndyCar Series driver Paul Dana was pronounced dead at Jackson Memorial Hospital – a Level 1 trauma center – in Miami just before noon (EST) from injuries suffered in a race warm-up crash at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Driver Ed Carpenter will remain in the hospital overnight for observation, according to Dr. Henry Bock, the Indy Racing’s League’s senior director of medical services. Scans showed nothing broken. Both drivers were airlifted to the trauma center.

About two minutes (10:03 a.m. EST) into the session in preparation for the season-opening Toyota Indy 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Carpenter’s car spun and made contact with the Turn 2 SAFER Barrier, and then slid down the racetrack. It almost came to a stop when it was struck in the left-rear by Dana’s car traveling at full speed.

“Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with the Dana family and everyone associated with the Rahal Letterman race team,” Indy Racing League president and COO Brian Barnhart said in making the announcement at the track.

Team co-owner Bobby Rahal said the Nos. 15 (Buddy Rice) and 16 (Danica Patrick) cars would not compete in the race in honor of their teammate. Rahal said the team would compete at the April 2 Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, and plans for the No. 17 Rahal Letteran Racing Team Ethanol car are unclear.

“It is a very black day for us, and on behalf of our entire team our prayers and sympathy go out to the entire Dana family,” Rahal said.

Barnhart said the yellow dashboard and track caution lights functioned properly, the starter was waving the yellow flag and spotters relayed the track's status via radio to drivers immediately after Carpenter's car made contact with the SAFER Barrier. The IndyCar Series has long been recognized as the motorsports leader in safety equipment on the cars and at racetracks at which it competes.

"It's a busy time out there with a lot of traffic and Paul was the second car involved with the accident," he said.

Rahal said there weren't any communication problems. "The spotter made clear the incident," he said.

Barnhart said discussions were held with International Speedway Corp. officials, including track president Curtis Gray, with the decision to contest the 200-lap race. A moment of silence was observed during the invocation.

Last year, Dana competed in three races with Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing with a best finish of 10th at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He suffered a season-ending back injury during the first week of practice for the 89th Indianapolis 500.

He was looking for a fresh start after the setback, and qualified ninth in the No.17 Rahal Letterman Racing Team Ethanol Panoz/Honda/Firestone.

“It is literally a dream come true to be driving for Rahal Letterman Racing,” he said recently. “As a young driver, you dream about an opportunity like this with a championship-caliber team. I am certainly behind my teammates (Buddy Rice and Danica Patrick) in terms of experience, but even though I didn’t run a lot of laps last season, I did log a lot of time in the pits, and I learned a lot of things just by watching.

“I feel great after a strong winter of workouts. I am fully recovered from last year’s injury and I feel better than I have ever have.”

Dana, a St. Louis native and Indianapolis resident, was runner-up in the 2004 Indy Pro Series standings. He literally worked his way up the racing ladder, taking a number of jobs to learn and pay the rent, including mechanic, racing instructor and marketing account representative while competing various series. Dana would have turned 31 on April 15. He is survived by his wife Tonya.

Carpenter qualified 13th in the No. 20 Vision Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone. Entering his third year in the IndyCar Series, he had a best finish of 10th last year at Nashville Superspeedway. This year, Vision Racing expanded to a two-car team with the addition of veteran driver Tomas Scheckter.

Operation Scorpion Concludes

Iraqi soldiers, with assistance from U.S. troops, detained 52 suspected insurgents March 24 during Operation Scorpion, a sequential cordon and search of eight villages in and around Hawijah, Iraq, that military officials said yesterday had ended. During the second Iraqi-led operation in as many months, soldiers of the 2nd Brigade, 4th Iraqi Army Division, confirmed that 24 out of the 52 detainees were on their target list, built from their own intelligence gathering.

The other detainees are being held for further questioning. "This Iraqi army brigade has made tremendous progress in the five months we've been working with them," said U.S. Army Col. David Gray, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, which assisted the Iraqis. "In October, they were loosely organized and not very well trained. The success of Operation Scorpion, and their ability to conduct a complex mission in the Hawijah area without suffering or inflicting casualties, demonstrates their professionalism and improved level of discipline," he said.

The Iraqi-planned and -led offensive started just before sunrise on March 24, as Iraqi soldiers linked up with their U.S. comrades to begin coordinated movement. Just after 4 a.m., Iraqi soldiers moved through the villages, systematically searching for the selected targets that Iraqi intelligence indicated were in the area. OH-58 Kiowa scout helicopters from 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, circled above and soldiers from 1st BCT's 1st Battalion, provided outer perimeter security.

The thorough searches provided intelligence leading to more evidence and capture of more suspects. "The willingness and ability of the Iraqi soldiers to take on a mission of this scope, and in an area that has been a hotbed of terrorist activity, is an indicator of the progress the Iraqi army has made," Gray said. Operation Scorpion began with supporting operations in the village of Mahoos and the city of Kirkuk. While 101st soldiers provided perimeter security, Iraqi soldiers, acting on their own intelligence sources, moved by helicopter into Mahoos, searching for seven terror suspects.

Within two hours of touching down, the Iraqi company had searched its designated targets, captured five of its intended suspects, and was back on helicopters headed for a nearby U.S. Army compound. Meanwhile, in another supporting operation, soldiers from the Iraqi Army's 2nd Battalion, 2nd Brigade, teamed up with soldiers from 1st BCT's 2nd Battalion to conduct raids for suspected terrorists in Kirkuk. As coalition soldiers provided outer cordon security, Iraqi soldiers moved through the neighborhoods, capturing six intended targets. They also discovered a weapons cache of two unregistered AK-47 rifles and various materials used to make improvised explosive devices


Busch fifth victory in the last nine Bristol races.


Kenseth was leading, but had slowed because he couldn't get past Dale Jarrett, who was fighting to stay on the lead lap. Tired of being held up, Busch rammed Kenseth's back bumper to send him into a slide. That allowed Busch to scoot on by for his fifth victory in the last nine Bristol races.

``I bumped into him a little bit and that was my window to get the lead,'' Busch said. ``If I was still a teammate of his, maybe I would have let him live. But I was hungry.''

Indeed, it was Busch's first victory since joining Roger Penske's team at the start of the season and taking over the famed No. 2 Dodge that nine-time Bristol winner Rusty Wallace drove. Busch celebrated his victory by jumping from his car, grabbing the checkered flag and doing ``snow angels'' on the finish line as a nod to the wintry weather that plagued the track all weekend.

``This is unreal,'' Busch said. ``I'm just so happy to be able to have this car and have Roger's privilege to do so.''

Wallace, who missed his first Bristol race in 23 years because he was in his new job as an analyst for the Indy Racing League, called Busch in Victory Lane. During the call, Busch told him he was naming the winning car ``Rusty.''

``It was very emotional to drive his car,'' Busch said. ``I mentioned to him I am going to name the car, and you could almost see that he had a tear in his eye.'' Kevin Harvick was second and seemed disappointed with his best finish of the season.

``Good day for us, but I hate to see Kurt Busch win,'' Harvick said. ``He's a big whiner. But what do I know?''

Kenseth wound up third, but had to fight for it. He faded after Busch's pass, worked his way back up but drew the ire of Jeff Gordon along the way. The two made contact in the closing laps that sent Gordon spinning all the way back to a 21st-place finish.

Still wearing his helmet and HANS device, Gordon stalked Kenseth on pit road. When Kenseth approached in what looked to be an apologetic way, Gordon gave him a hard shove that knocked him back several feet.

The two were quickly separated by NASCAR officials.

``I'm sure he didn't mean to do it and all that stuff, but I wasn't happy about it,'' Gordon fumed. ``I showed it to him after the race. I like racing with Matt ... that stuff rarely happens with him. But I'm going to give it back what he gives to me.''

Kenseth took full responsibility for the on-track altercation.

``That was my fault, it was an accident and I didn't mean to do it,'' Kenseth said. ``I would be hot, too. He raced hard all day long for his third-place finish and it got taken away from him. I probably should have known better than to go over him.''

Tony Stewart, who led a race-high 245 laps, faded at the end and wound up 12th.

``I am really disappointed,'' Stewart said. ``We had an awesome car, I felt like I ran the most patient race I have ever run at Bristol. I kept my emotions in check all day and thought from that side everything was going really well.''

Bristol is always a race of attrition, with drivers hoping to avoid the numerous accidents while keeping their tempers intact. This one was no different, except that the usual temper tantrums weren't in play until very late in the race. Instead, shoddy driving skills seemed to contribute to most of the 18 cautions.

The many accidents led dozens of torn up race cars -- at one point, a piece of sheet metal from Jarrett's car flew into the stands and was quickly snatched up as a souvenir -- and only 21 of the 43 cars finishing on the lead lap.


Consumer Confidence With Complex Transactions Peaks Online Auto Insurance Sales

According to an analysis released recently by comScore Networks, the total number of auto insurance quotes submitted online increased by 24 percent in 2005 versus the previous year, and insurance policy purchases jumped by 29 percent during the same time period.

Nicolas Tabbal, vice president of comScore's Financial Services division, said "The auto insurance sector grew faster in 2005 than any other financial services category. Purchasing insurance online is more involved than ...paying bills or applying for credit cards. The rapid surge in online auto insurance quotes and purchases... confirms consumers' increased comfort in conducting complex financial transactions online."

Some factors that contributed to the drop in the auto insurer site abandonment rate from 51 percent in 2004 to 44 percent in 2005:

Visual and functional upgrades have enhanced insurer sites, improving navigability, ease of use and site customization. Most insurer and aggregator sites consumers can select from a menu of coverage options and receive recommendations tailored to their specific needs and circumstances.

Technological innovations such as VoIP and online chat enable consumers to connect directly with insurers at any stage in the process, resulting in an increase of quotes submitted at agent insurer sites of 75 percent, and 42 percent more policies purchased online



not just in programs but ads as well, according to a new study from Ball State University's Center for Media Design in Muncie, Indiana, commissioned by interactive TV cable provider GSN. The study, titled "The Power of Play: Exploring the Impact of the iTV 2-Screen Gaming Experience," found that interactive TV programs drove higher levels of consumer engagement with interactive TV commercials, leading to more recall and longer retention of brand awareness.

According to Chris Raleigh, senior vice president of ad sales for GSN, the Ball State study found that one type of TV programming in particular--game shows--was most successful in pushing higher viewer involvement with commercials that also had a "quiz show" theme. Raleigh explained that "the same motivations driving people who play along with the shows also drive their interaction with the commercials: the sense of competition, the sense of challenge, and the fact that you're rewarded."

"Rewards" refers to a points system that allows GSN users who "play along" with commercials to participate in raffles and buy gift cards. Vanity also plays a role in program participation, according to Raleigh: "For 'Who Wants to be a Millionaire' we have a leader board that shows the top 10 viewers [who answered questions correctly], and some people really want to get up there." The competitive environment created by social viewing of game shows--for example, vying with family or friends to answer questions correctly--also fits well with interactive programming.

Overall, among viewers participating in game show programming, Raleigh said that 68 to 92 percent also interacted with quiz-style ads, with a 76 percent average participation rate. Of this group, Raleigh claimed almost "100 percent recall of all the interactive ads," as well as "more retention than usual." A high percentage "remembered interacting with a commercial three or four days before."

As advertisers strive to avoid creating a feeling of "intrusion" or content disjuncture in viewers, with the introduction of a competitive, interactive element, according to Raleigh, "all of a sudden, [advertising] becomes non-intrusive."

Furthermore, interactive TV ads provide a higher a level of measurability for consumer engagement than is generally available for ordinary TV. "We get third-party reporting on it from GoldPocket," the nuts-and-bolts digital infrastructure provider behind GSN's service," Raleigh said. "The advertiser gets a report, almost like a post-buy, on demographic information for people who participated in the ads. It will tell you the number of people who interacted with it, and the number of people who got it right." Later, Raleigh boasted that "no one else can put a deck in front of somebody with data from a third party."

With "engagement" the new advertising buzzword, the implications of interactive TV advertising are clear, Raleigh said: "It's a win-win situation. The viewers win because they want more interactivity. And the advertisers win because they're trying to find a way to get through all the ad clutter and reach their consumers."


WEB TRAFFIC TO CBS' MARCH Madness games spiked for the first day of the tournament, but then slowly declined over the next several days, according to new estimates by Nielsen//NetRatings.

The CBS SportsLine network of sites--CBS SportsLine.com, CSTV.com Networks, NCAASports.com, PGA Tour, and TennisDirect.com--drew more than 3.6 million visitors from home and work on Day 1 of the college basketball tournament, March 16. But traffic then started falling off--tapering to approximately 3.1 million on March 17, and 2.1 million on each of the next three days, and then plunging to 1.7 million on Tuesday, March 21 (the most recent date for which Nielsen//NetRatings' figures were available).

CBS SportsLine.com's traffic for the week ending March 19 jumped 219 percent at work, from 1 million unique visitors to 3.2 million. At home, traffic also nearly doubled, from 1.6 million to 3.1 million.

CBS has placed its free March Madness streams front and center of its Web strategy. Larry Kramer, president of CBS Digital, last year compared the streams of the games to AOL's Webcast of 'Live 8,' a streamed music event last summer that found a mass broadband audience. "This is our Live 8," Kramer said of the free streaming basketball games, adding that the network expected "huge" viewership. Last year, CBS offered streams of the games, but at a fee of $19.99.

VDS To Introduce Promotor at NAB 2006


Automatic Generation Of Promos And ‘Coming Ups’ a leading developer of broadcast automation software, content design and plug-in products will be introducing Promotor, a new system for the automatic generation of promos at NAB 2006 in the VDS Booth SL4573.

Promotor is a suite of applications configurable to the operating environment of the broadcaster (graphics, Automation, traffic, etc.) and provides extensive capabilities for the automatic generation and playback of common promo graphics and audio overs. VDS developed Promotor on its Cortex platform with the multi-channel facility in mind. Cortex is a robust, modular platform consisting of core applications and extension modules that support diverse operations such as VDS' AutoClips automated clip titling and branding suite, DiReCT asset management and distribution system and now, Promotor.

The promo types that Promotor provides automation for are bugs, promo clip bugs, audio promos. With Promotor, graphics creation is reduced from several hundred combinations of graphic elements, show names and time slots to one template per graphic type with all dynamic content inserted by Promotor in a just-in-time fashion.

The dynamic content can be entered using the Promotor Authoring Station or can be set to extract content information from the automation playlist or SQL database used for metadata.

Promotor greatly reduces the number of graphics that need to be tested and loaded on the correct air systems while also eliminating the need to create a lot of secondary events on the automation system in order to program events for triggering. Promotor also eliminates the need to program the other secondary events such as keyer events and audio mixers to support the graphics events.

The tightly integrated Promotor interface to the facility station automation system allows for the triggering of complex graphics in a timely manner as graphics and audio promos can be cued in advance of their scheduled airing. In addition, timing, calendar and other rules for the display of these graphics can be set by using the Promotor authoring station.

“Promotor answers a lot of needs for broadcasters who regularly generate graphic and audio promos”, said Larry Mincer, President of VDS. “The system greatly reduces the amount of manual and redundant effort currently required in getting promos to air and at the same time increases the accuracy and frequency, as desired.”

About VDS

VDS is committed to providing automation and content design tools for the broadcast, cable television, internet, and post production markets. VDS designs products for the automated control of broadcast television systems, with an emphasis on graphics-related operations, content distribution and automation, and internet-to-video and video-to-internet systems. VDS content creation systems provide industry tools that deliver graphic design, universal file translation and integration capabilities.

Marketing & Product Development
David-Ray Worthington


THIRD SCREEN" COULD become a primary advertising outlet

THE SO-CALLED "THIRD SCREEN" COULD become a primary advertising outlet for marketers, according to a new report by Magna Global. And the media-buying firm recommends that advertisers begin conducting research on how best to utilize the emerging medium.

"With a potential audience in the billions, as infrastructure is deployed to meet advertisers' needs, we believe this vast untapped market will ultimately emerge as one of the most important of the early 21st century," the report said.

Furthermore, Magna Global said, it expects cell phones to provide the most fruitful opportunities. At the end of 2005, there were more than 2 billion mobile phone users globally, of which 236 million had 3G service enabling video playback--a segment growing exponentially. "With video-capable devices growing market share rapidly, we expect that in the long-run, the best opportunities to market to consumers in mobile environments will be through cellular phones," Magna Global wrote in the report.

Magna Global expects the cell phone segment to provide greater marketing options than two other sectors: "stored mobility," which includes devices such as Sony's PSP and Apple's iPods, and "place-shifting," which allows consumers to remotely access their home cable/satellite services through devices such as SlingBox and coming products from EchoStar, DirecTV, and TiVo.

Still, mobile video as a dynamic ad marketplace may be some time off, since usage is relatively small, although millions of consumers have access to it. The reasons for this include a modest amount of content available, subscription fees, and the cost of handsets. (Text messaging and ring tones remain the "killer apps" on cell phones, according to Magna Global.)

Also, the cell phone industry's infrastructure has some upgrades to make in order to be able to support distribution of live content--as opposed to simply clip-based offerings--to a wide audience, the report said. In a sense, service quality is hampered by many of the problems that years ago plagued AOL on the Internet, including network congestion. But mobile operators are experimenting with ways to improve the systems.

Advertising revenues could bring the financial resources to allow mobile video distributors to overcome these obstacles. But, Magna Global said, several issues need to be resolved to make mobile video "an advertiser-friendly medium." Advertisers need uniform standards allowing them to prepare creative that can be used across multiple networks and devices; a user-friendly buying process that enables the business to support advertisers' needs to make last-minute changes; and a measurement process to ensure advertisers that an a commercial ran and how it performed, including whether it was subject to trick-play behavior.

"With many different places to allocate budgets, it is important that any new medium support the needs of agencies and marketers in executing their media buys," the report said.

Magna Global said that mobile video needs a critical mass of consumers who aren't as easily reached through another medium. The report says, for example, that if 15 percent of Americans used mobile content, and 80 percent of those were also avid viewers of traditional television, the medium might not hold much allure for marketers. But if 80 percent of mobile-content users were adults ages 18 to 24, and half of them did not regularly watch television, Magna Global said "we would have a medium with more than sufficient unduplicated reach for many advertisers."

Overall, mobile operators will need to avoid the same pitfalls that have plagued VOD, and work with advertisers to optimize the medium, the report said. Magna Global said: "we believe that if suppliers had worked more closely with advertisers at the outset of the development of VOD and made accommodations in their favor, VOD would be a much larger business today."

March 26, 2006

Nascar, Indy, Champ and Formula 1 News






Written by Joyce L Chow & William Hoehne March 26 2006


www.montebubbles.com for more MBN news


MONTEBUBBLISM: If everyone is mad at you because you’re here it is not wise to advertise that you are here.


Tony George pursuing unification

Procter & Gamble Co. has become the biggest backer of reality TV in China

Causalities Afghanistan

2006 Kia Sedona

Davis Love first to gone

Weather canceled qualifying Friday for the NASCAR Food City 500

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced a model change for its CBR1000RR

Hispanic smokers

Official FIA Press Release RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada

The World Motor Sport Council met in Paris on 22 March, 2006. The following decisions were taken:

PFClean V2 Launches At NAB 2006

Toyota Indy 300 Daily Trackside Report

Marines Distribute Food to Nigerien Poor

Revolabs Introduces Unmatched Audio Performance with Soloâ Wireless Microphone Systems



China has 17 million middle income households

Hard times create thrifty consumers


Tony George pursuing unification

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Indy Racing League founder Tony George confirmed published reports that he is pursuing unification between the two North American open-wheel racing series.

At a news conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway, where the IndyCar Series opens its season March 26 with the Toyota Indy 300, George said he and Kevin Kalkhoven, co-owner of the Champ Car World Series, have been talking and exchanging e-mails frequently since December because “open-wheel racing needs to be unified.” But he cautioned not to expect another news conference regarding a resolution anytime soon.

“Is there reason to be optimistic?” he said. “I think (an agreement) is certainly possible, but I think we're a long way from there at this point. Everybody would like to see it happen sooner rather than later, but it’s not something you can hurry along. It’s not something we can resolve in a few weeks or a couple of months.

“I don’t think we can solve the big problems in a short period of time.”

Issues include equipment (chassis and engines) and event venues. While the IndyCar Series uses normally aspirated Honda Indy V-8 engines, Champ Car employs turbocharged engines. Chassis – though both series use Panoz (along with Dallara in the IndyCar Series) – are different, and Champ Car has plans for a radically different concept beginning in 2007. While the IndyCar Series has 11 ovals and three road/street courses on the 2006 schedule, Champ Car only competes on one oval (The Milwaukee Mile) and many of its races are outside the United States.

“There are a lot of people who have a lot of ideas about what a schedule should look like, and what chassis we should run and what the engines should do,” George said. “All of that is open, as far as I’m concerned. We just need to be very careful in how we plan a transition.”

North American open-wheel racing has been fractured since 1996, when the Indy Racing League held its first event at Walt Disney World Speedway. George, whose family owns the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, announced plans for an alternative, oval-based series almost two years earlier. Today, almost all of the top teams and drivers who competed in the Championship Auto Racing Teams series, which went bankrupt and was resurrected in 2004 as Champ Car, are in the IndyCar Series.

“There's always the temptation to start charging ahead but, so far, I've tried to keep focused on really trying to understand what all we both have to consider in discussions we've had on unification.”

“There's reason to be hopeful, but I would caution everyone from getting their hopes set too high,” George said. “I think if it comes together, great. That would be wonderful. It depends on what the issues are. If we can eliminate the hairy issues, it won't be a problem. If we have a bunch of big, hairy issues, then it will be a problem.”

Procter & Gamble Co. has become the biggest backer of reality TV in China

Procter & Gamble Co. has become the biggest backer of reality TV in China, teaming up with local broadcasters to find innovative ways to embed its brands in programming.

“This is poised to be the year of reality TV in China because of last year’s ‘Super Girl’ success,” said J. Alfonso (Pon) De Dios, P&G’s associate director, media in Greater China, based in Guangzhou, referring to a Hunan Satellite TV talent contest, China’s most successful television show to date. “What P&G is doing in this area in China depends on where you are and which brands we’re marketing.”

The company recently invested nearly $1 million with the same Hunan provincial channel, which has national distribution through cable and satellite media, to make Gillette Vector the title sponsor of a folk art show and a series featuring outdoor singing performances.

P&G has teamed up with News Corp.’s Star network, “which has very good ideas,” said Mr. De Dios, for its Whisper brand to sponsor "Dance Competition." The popular reality show on Star’s Mandarin-language Xing Kong channel hunts for the most entertaining and talented dancer across China. The deal entitles P&G to sponsor billboards after each break and promotional events in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.

P&G has a multiyear arrangement with Viacom’s MTV Networks for Head & Shoulders to co-present the "MTV Super Talent Search" show in China. Also with MTV, P&G has created a promotional initiative aimed at university students in Beijing to promote Olay through sponsored campus events.

Elsewhere P&G has signed a deal with Chongqing TV to search for the best smile in that city, including TV coverage and a road show sponsored by Crest.

Although P&G isn’t trimming much off its traditional media budget in China, branded content and co-sponsored events are a cost-effective way to deflect the increasing cost of airtime on TV, said Mr. De Dios, particularly on the country’s national network CCTV (although P&G remains CCTV’s largest advertiser), and to help cut through the clutter of China’s media market.

$400 million media spending
Despite a rocky start, China’s largest advertiser is feeling pretty good these days. Procter & Gamble, in mainland China since 1988, spends about $400 million on media per year, according to Nielsen Media Research. Its distribution arm reaches consumers in 2,000 Chinese cities and more than 11,000 towns and villages.

The investment is paying off with strong growth and brand leadership in nearly every category. Crest’s share of China’s toothpaste market, for instance, increased eight percentage points last year, to over 25%, according to P&G figures.

China is now the company’s second-largest company by volume and its fifth-largest in value, up from 10th place just three years ago, according to Jim Stengel, P&G’s global marketing officer based in Cincinnati. “And that’s pre-Gillette, although Gillette will not provide a huge short-term bump here.” (See related Player Profile on Jim Stengel.)

Too expensive for Asia
P&G was not always such a nimble competitor. A decade ago, the company approached Asian markets by following the same pattern that had made it a giant in the U.S.--develop better products through innovation, then slightly raise the price for an enhanced product. It also charged nearly as much for a box of Tide or bottle of Pantene in Asia as it did in North America.

That approach didn’t work in Asia, where most consumers earn a few dollars a day, limiting P&G’s appeal to a sliver of the population. Unilever, meanwhile, drew on its earlier start in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Instead of selling large bottles of shampoo in stores, for example, it sold small, inexpensive packets to rural consumers through village markets.

As P&G struggled to find its footing in Asia, the company made a strategic decision to focus on China. As a relatively new consumer market, China offered a level playing field; unlike in India, P&G wasn’t fighting for market share against an established rival like Hindustan Lever. And there were few local players with credible brands and national distribution at that time.

“Witnessing the fast-growing affluence of Chinese consumers, P&G was keen to heavily invest in television commercials, supported by its unrivaled financial capabilities to woo Chinese consumers,” said Heng Sheau Jing, a Euromonitor cosmetics and toiletries analyst in Shanghai.

Shift in thinking
P&G resolutely slashed production costs and streamlined distribution, said Jeff Bradley, Leo Burnett's regional brand director, P&G, Asia/Pacific in Hong Kong. "They made a huge commitment to approach their business in a way that would allow them to drive a lot of costs out of their system without stripping their brands of quality. Instead, they said, 'This is what we want to offer our customers, so how can we do it from the ground up?' It was a huge shift in thinking and very liberating."

It also invested heavily in market research to better understand consumers, even sending senior P&G execs on pilgrimages to third and fourth tier cities. They bunked with local consumers, shopped with them and helped clean their homes to better understand how they live and what would appeal to them. The experiences paid off with sometimes simple but important insights.

“If you go to a market like the Philippines,” said Irwin Lee, P&G’s Guangzhou-based VP of fabric and home care in Greater China, “you’ll find they wash lots of clothes together. So our formulation needs to be altered to address the fact that their wash loads are 40 garments at once, whereas in China, on average there are only seven garments per wash load.”

Such cultural differences also mean P&G needs to understand how to speak to consumers about product benefits: “Take a product like Tide, a big brand of the people. We would reach out to consumers in China in a charming way, something like a traditional house courtyard setting." In India, the style would be more Bollywood, he said.

Breakthrough technologies
P&G also established an R&D center in Beijing, now one of the global company’s most important research hubs. One Beijing development--a more affordable, higher quality Crest formulation--is rolling out beyond China.

“Also, we are working closely with India on detergents. We have some breakthrough technologies that are superior to mass-market products yet are very affordable,” Mr. Lee added. “And we have just begun an intensive program on personal cleansing, adding whitening technology and moisturizer into body cleaning products.”

Another significant decision that helped P&G pull ahead of rivals was the introduction of a tiered pricing structure in 2003, when P&G introduced a 320 gram bag of Tide Clean White for 23 cents, compared to 33 cents for 350 grams of Tide Triple Action. While the Clean White version did not offer all the stain removal and fragrance benefits of its pricier cousin, it was more affordable and still outperformed every other brand at that price point.

Tiered pricing
The China experiment grew sales without damaging Tide’s brand equity. P&G expanded the tiered pricing concept to other brands such as Crest, Whisper, Pampers and Olay, and other markets, even the U.S., where Bounty Basic and Charmin Basic launched last year.

P&G has also bought out local partners to cement control over its operations in China’s shady manufacturing and distribution worlds. In 2004, for example, the company purchased the remaining 20% stake of its joint venture with Hutchison Whampoa for $1.85 billion.

But P&G credits its growth and scale in China to its determination to understand consumers. When Mr. Stengel visits China each year, he said he personally visits the homes of middle class and poor consumers “to better understand how Asians live,” and pokes around stores. However, he said, “China is in a state of constant development. It’s never static.”

Causalities Afghanistan

One U.S. servicemember was killed, and one U.S. servicemember and one Afghan National Army soldier were wounded during joint offensive operations in the Sangin District of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, today, military officials reported. Afghan and coalition ground forces engaged an estimated 20 enemy with small-arms fire. In addition, close-air support aircraft delivered 11 Joint Direct Attack Munitions on enemy positions. "I am deeply saddened by the death of our servicemember today, and my deepest sympathies are extended to his family and comrades in arms," said Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, commanding general of the coalition's Combined Joint Task Force 76. "There are known Taliban extremists in the Sangin District, and the Afghan National Army and coalition forces will continue to attack these enemies of Afghanistan until the district and province are safe and secure," he said. "We will not be deterred from our mission to provide a safe and secure environment to the Afghan people." The wounded U.S. and Afghan soldiers were evacuated to a coalition medical facility in Kandahar province for treatment.

The deceased servicemember's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin. The Defense Department released the names of two other servicemembers killed recently in Iraq. Army Sgt. 1st Class Randy D. McCaulley, 44, of Indiana, Pa., died in Habbaniyah, Iraq, on March 23, when his dismounted patrol came under enemy small-arms fire. McCaulley was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Indiana, Pa. Army Staff Sgt. Brock A. Beery, 30, of White House, Tenn., died in Habbaniyah on March 23, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle and his unit came under attack by small-arms fire. Beery was assigned to the Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 123rd Armor Regiment, Bowling Green, Ky.


2006 Kia Sedona

Completely Redesigned Minivan Adds More Room, More Standard Safety And Convenience Features More Power And
For 2006, Kia Motors America (KMA) will introduce an all-new Kia Sedona minivan that will offer more horsepower and will be substantially larger in length and width, providing more passenger room and versatility over its predecessor. New features found on the all-new Sedona will include a standard fold-flat-into-the-floor third-row seat and available power-sliding doors and liftgate. The new Sedona is expected to go on sale in early 2006.
Utilizing an all-new platform, the new Sedona’s longer wheelbase and increased length and width contribute to the minivan’s nearly 15-percent improvement in passenger room over the previous Sedona. Fresh styling cues and additional standard and available equipment were designed to bolster Sedona’s established position as a safety and value leader in the highly competitive minivan market.
The original Sedona went on-sale in summer 2001 and quickly gained recognition for its tremendous value and generous list of standard comfort, convenience and safety features. In addition to earning the Federal government’s highest safety ratings -- Five Stars -- for the driver and front- and rear-seat passengers in both frontal and side impact crash tests, the Sedona has received quite an impressive list of accolades, including:
  • AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award – 2002
  • Sport Truck Connection Television’s “Best Van” – 2002, 2003
  • Winner, Strategic Vision Total Value Index – 2002, 2004
Safety First
Serving as Kia’s flagship safety vehicle, the original Sedona received the company’s first Five Star crash rating for each seating position from the U.S. government. The next-generation Sedona will continue Kia’s commitment to offering high levels of standard safety equipment, including six standard airbags (dual advanced front and front seat-mounted side air bags, and full-length side curtain air bags for all three seating rows).
Sensors controlling the dual advanced front supplemental restraints determine the position of the seat, whether the seat belt is buckled, whether the front passenger seat is occupied, and the severity of a frontal impact before deployment.
A four-channel, four-sensor, anti-lock brake system (ABS) is also standard. This system incorporates electronic brake force distribution (EBD), which helps to distribute braking force to all four wheels in proportion to weight shifts during cornering. The EBD adapts to individual wheel grip conditions, which helps to improve both control and stability.
Additional standard safety equipment will include a tire pressure monitoring system and
active front seat headrests, while features such as an electronic stability program (ESP) and a traction control system (TCS) with brake assist are also standard.
Enhanced Performance
With increased horsepower and torque, the all-new Sedona offers class-leading power and performance in the minivan segment. Sedona’s completely new 3.8-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 engine is expected to generate more than 240-horsepower – a 25-percent increase over the previous powerplant – and 253 lb.-ft. of torque. This new aluminum block engine is mated to a five-speed Sportmatic™ transmission.
Despite its increase in size, the new Sedona is expected to be significantly lighter than the previous model when compared on an equally equipped basis. With more power, less weight and a new chassis with 4-wheel independent suspension, the next-generation Sedona is designed to be more rewarding to drive than its predecessor and its competitors.
The new Sedona’s four-wheel independent suspension system is comprised of MacPherson struts with coil springs and a stabilizer bar in the front, while the rear suspension uses a multi-link design with coil springs and a stabilizer bar.
Stopping power has increased with the addition of a power-assisted four-wheel-disc braking system with larger diameter vented front disc brakes (11.7-in.) and solid rear disc brakes (11.9-in.).
Sedona models come with new, larger wheels and tires, including 16-inch steel wheels and 225/70 R16 tires or 17-inch alloy wheels fitted to 235/60 R17 tires.
Spacious, Adaptable and Comfortable
Competitively sized, the new seven-passenger Sedona’s generous dimensions and unibody construction boost both passenger and luggage space, and greatly improved ride and handling. Adding to the Sedona’s space and versatility, flip and fold second row seats provide easy access to third row seating. A new, simple-to-operate 60/40 split-folding -into-the floor third row seat is standard on all models to create a larger flat cargo area.
Available in two trim levels – LX and EX – the all-new Sedona maintains Kia’s tradition of high-value by offering a generous list standard features and amenities. Besides ABS, six airbags and a five-speed Sportmatic™ transmission, the Sedona LX also comes with tri-zone air conditioning, sliding doors with power windows, power mirrors and door locks, cruise control, AM/FM/CD player, captain’s chairs for the second row and keyless entry with an alarm system.
The Sedona EX adds a chrome grille, fog lights, eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated power mirrors, AM/FM/Cassette/MP3/CD stereo system, auto-dimming rear view mirror with Homelink, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, power rear quarter glass, compass, roof rack and wood trim.
In addition to the LX and EX models’ standard equipment, the all-new Sedona will offer several option packages for maximum convenience and entertainment. These options include: leather seats with front seat heaters, memory settings for the driver’s seat, outside mirrors and adjustable pedals, a backup warning system, power sliding doors, power liftgate, power adjustable pedals, power sunroof and a 660-watt premium entertainment system featuring a DVD player and 13 speakers with surround sound.
Like all Kia models, the Sedona is covered by a comprehensive warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in this program are a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty; a five-year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty; and a five-year or 100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/60,000-mile roadside assistance plan is also part of the comprehensive coverage program.
Kia Motors America, the U.S. sales, marketing and service arm of Kia Motors Corp. in Seoul, South Korea, offers a full line-up of vehicles, including: Rio subcompact sedan and Rio 5 five-door; Spectra compact sedan and Spectra5 five-door; Optima midsize sedan; Sportage compact SUV; Sorento midsize SUV; Sedona minivan; and Amanti large premium sedan. For more information and vehicle photography please visit www.kiamedia.com.

Davis Love first to gone

Davis Love III was leading after the first round of The Players Championship, and gone after the second.

Love was a record-tying 18 shots worse Friday than the previous day, a shocking turnaround at the TPC at Sawgrass.

He and Jim Furyk started the second round atop the leaderboard after opening with 65s. Furyk stayed out front with a 1-under 71, while Love steadily faded back.

Twenty-five players were within five shots of the leadFuryk started quickly with birdies on the Nos. 11 and 13 to open a two-shot lead, took bogey on the rare occasion he missed the fairway, and was steady down the stretch as Love fell apart.

Love won't soon forget his final 18 holes. He was so far behind by his last one that he needed par on the 581-yard ninth to make the cut.

Love's tee shot landed right behind a tree, forcing him to take a penalty shot, his second shot buried in a bunker and a three-putt sealed his fate.

"It was one of those days," Love told a PGA Tour media official after declining to speak to reporters. "When I hit a bad shot, I never got away with it."

Love dropped 11 shots during the final 14 holes and finished with an 83, becoming the first player in the 33-year history of the PGA Tour's showcase event to go from leading the field to missing the cut.

"It kind of jumped up and got him today," said Furyk, who played the first two days with Love.

Weather canceled qualifying Friday for the NASCAR Food City 500

Awful weather canceled qualifying Friday for the NASCAR Food City 500, putting defending series champion Tony Stewart on the pole.

A mix or rain, sleet and snow with temperatures in the low 40s kept the cars off the .533-mile track at Bristol Motor Speedway. There is more inclement weather forecast through Sunday morning, including snow showers.

The Food City 500 is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. EST. The Busch series Sharpie Mini 300 is scheduled to hold its qualifying and race on Saturday afternoon.

It is the fifth Nextel Cup race of the season, the last in which owner points from the previous season are used to determine starting lineups if qualifying is canceled.

As a result, Stewart - who has yet to win a race this season - gets the pole in his Chevrolet Monte Carlo. He was third in this race last year.

Greg Biffle will start alongside him in a Ford Fusion. He has an average finish of 10.33 in six starts at Bristol, the best of any active driver.

The second row is comprised of the Fords of Carl Edwards and Mark Martin. Behind them in a Chevrolet is Jimmie Johnson, who has been virtually unstoppable early in the season.

Johnson won the season-opening Daytona 500, finished second in the Auto Club 500 and won the UAW Daimler-Chrysler 400 before finishing sixth at last week's Golden Corral 500 outside Atlanta, which was postponed one day by rain. He was sixth in this event last year.

Johnson's quick start has come without crew chief Chad Knaus, who was suspended for a month during preparation for the Daytona 500 for illegal adjustments on Johnson's car. Knaus returned Friday.


Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced a model change for its CBR1000RR

Honda Motor Co., Ltd. has announced a model change for its CBR1000RR large-displacement super sports model. The new CBR1000RR, which comes equipped with a water-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC, in-line 4-cylinder, 1000cc engine featuring advanced technologies developed on the MotoGP circuit—the world pinnacle of motorcycle road racing.

The new model inherits the same basic styling and specifications as its predecessor, carefully refined down to the smallest detail to ensure nimbler handling and greater concentration of mass. Overall weight has been reduced, shaving 4.0kg off the previous model to achieve quicker acceleration and nimbler handling.

The styling employs a smooth, curvaceous design with the surface area of the cowl reduced by 13% compared to the previous model. The lower cowls have been fitted with larger air outlets for improved engine cooling and enhanced riding comfort.

Engine enhancements include a reworking of the cylinder head shape and size, valve shape, and combustion chamber shape, resulting in better combustion and more efficient engine aspiration for improved low-to-midrange torque.

For the chassis, caster angle and the amount of trail have been adjusted to obtain more nimble handling, while the engine mount bolts were also reworked to achieve exquisitely sensitive, responsive handling characteristics.

Improvements to the brakes include thinner, larger diameter front brake discs and lighter, more compact rear brake calipers, to deliver both weight savings and improved braking performance.

The new model offers a selection of four color schemes. Graphite Black and Winning Red impart an intrepid feel that breathes quality. Two more color schemes feature stripe patterns using the Honda wing mark as a motif on a background of either Candy Phoenix Blue or Winning Red.

The CBR1000RR, successor to CBRR900RR series released in North America and Europe in 1992, first made its debut in April 2004. Employing HESD (Honda Electronic Steering Damping), Unit Pro-Link suspension, and other advanced technologies inherited from Honda’s RC211V MotoGP machine, it has earned a reputation as a versatile bike suitable for a wide range of uses from touring to racing.

Key Changes

The latest model has been given a complete makeover from nose to tail, styled on a tight, aggressive, clear-cut design concept. While inheriting the overall design of its predecessor, the bike’s cowl has been given a sharper cut to create a more aggressive forward visage. This results in an approximately 13% reduction in the surface area of the cowl compared to the previous model, while also contributing to weight reduction, easier maintenance, and nimbler handling performance. The lower cowls have also been fitted with larger air outlets that channel engine heat to the rear for enhanced riding comfort.

The CBR1000RR comes fitted with a water-cooled, 4-stroke, DOHC in-line 4-cylinder 998cm3 engine that is lightweight and compact yet offers a combination of outstanding power and control characteristics throughout its broad power band.

The new engine inherits the same basic specs as its predecessor, but has been carefully refined down to the smallest detail in pursuit of lower weight and more powerful output.

The cylinder head intake ports have been made straighter and the size of the exhaust ports increased. Modifications to the valve shape and adjustments to valve timing were also implemented, and a finer grain size employed for the materials used to form the inner mold when forging the intake ports. These modifications result in more efficient engine aspiration for higher torque in the frequently used low-to-mid speed ranges.

The volume of the combustion chamber has also been reduced by 2.7% to increase the compression ratio from 11.9:1 to 12.2:1, resulting in greater fuel efficiency.

The engine has been lightened throughout, through the use of lighter camshaft materials, a lighter ECU (Electronic Control Unit), which controls fuel injection and other engine functions, and a lighter shift change drum. The Center-Up exhaust system and radiator have also been lightened, contributing to more nimble handling.

Modifications to the chassis were implemented to achieve greater concentration of mass and take full advantage of the engine’s output, without any major changes to the size of the frame or other components.

The head pipe was repositioned on the frame body, prompting a change in caster angle from the previous model’s 23°45’ to 23°25’ and a reduction in trail amount by 2mm, from 102mm to 100mm. The specs for the engine mount bolts were also reworked to achieve exquisitely sensitive, responsive handling characteristics. The diameter of the front disc brake rotors was increased from 310mm to 320mm and their thickness reduced from 5.0mm to 4.5mm. The rear brake also employs a smaller, lighter caliper that combines improved braking performance with lower weight. Other changes include a modified instrument panel design for better visibility and greater ease of use.

Hispanic smokers

According to a recent report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 41.1 percent (15.1 million) of U.S. adult smokers who smoke everyday reported they had stopped smoking for at least one day during the preceding twelve months because they were trying to quit.

Nationwide, another study reports that 41.7 percent of Hispanic adult smokers tried quitting for at least one day. To help those Hispanic smokers who have decided to quit be more successful, Philip Morris USA is now offering its information resource - QuitAssist – in Spanish online and nationwide. QuitAssist is a free resource designed to connect smokers who have decided to quit to quitting websites, guides, quitting programs, quitlines, information on what has worked for others and more.

"Quitting smoking can be difficult.

Many smokers who try to quit do not succeed," said Rafael Art. Javier, PhD, clinical professor of psychology and an advisor to Philip Morris USA’s QuitAssist Review Board. "Most people try to quit 2 or 3 times before they are successful.”

Included in the information available in the QuitAssist Information Resource is the U.S. Public Health Service’s Five Keys for Quitting that can help smokers prepare for the process of quitting:

Get ready. Think about the ways that quitting smoking will improve your life and your health. Make a list to remind yourself.

Think about the ways that quitting smoking will improve your life and your health. Make a list to remind yourself.

Get support and encouragement. Talk to friends and family about why you want to quit, and how important it is to you. Research shows your odds are better if you get support from others for quitting smoking.

. Talk to friends and family about why you want to quit, and how important it is to you. Research shows your odds are better if you get support from others for quitting smoking.

Learn new skills and behaviors. Plan ways to distract yourself when the urge to smoke strikes. Take a 2-minute walk or call a friend.

. Plan ways to distract yourself when the urge to smoke strikes. Take a 2-minute walk or call a friend.

Get medication and use it correctly. For many people, medication can be the key to getting through those first weeks or months without cigarettes.

. For many people, medication can be the key to getting through those first weeks or months without cigarettes.

Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations. Plan ways you can cope when you are around other smokers or in difficult situations where you’re tempted to take a puff.

. Plan ways you can cope when you are around other smokers or in difficult situations where you’re tempted to take a puff.

Smokers who have decided to quit can find the free QuitAssist resource guide online at www.philipmorrisusa.com/es or by calling 1-888-784-7848.



Official FIA Press Release RallyRACC Catalunya-Costa Daurada

Following today’s tragic accident, the FIA extends its sincerest condolences to the family, friends and team-mates of Jörg Bastuck.

As a mark of respect, there will be no celebrations in Salou at the finish of the event on Sunday 26 March.


The World Motor Sport Council met in Paris on 22 March, 2006. The following decisions were taken:


The 2008 FIA Formula One World Championship Sporting Regulations were accepted and will be published in full on 23 March 2006.

The 2008 Sporting Regulations have three objectives:

• to reduce the cost of competing;
• to improve the sporting spectacle; and
• to maintain and, where possible, improve current safety standards.

Entries for the 2008 Championship will open on 24 March 2006 and close on 31 March 2006.

The FIA will then begin a series of meetings with the teams which enter the 2008 Championship in order to finalise the regulations for 2008. The regulations which affect the design of the cars must be finalised before 30 June 2006 to give the competing teams sufficient time to design and develop their 2008 cars. The regulations not affecting the design of the cars can be modified at any point up to the start of the 2008 season.

A regulation can be modified following a majority vote of the Sporting Working Group, consisting of one senior representative from each team, and ratification by the Formula One Commission and the World Motor Sport Council.


Shekhar Mehta was appointed acting chairman for the World Rally Championship Commission pending the appointment a new permanent incumbent.

As part of the specific conditions for the participation of a Manufacturer 2, that manufacturer must inform the FIA of the names of the two drivers nominated for the purpose of scoring points no later than five weeks prior to the start of the Rally concerned.


The Royal Automobile Club of Belgium will hold a test day at Spa on Wednesday 5 July 2006 in preparation for the Spa 24 Hours event. The event, which will feature rounds of the 2006 FIA GT Championship and GT3 European Championship, is scheduled for 30 July 2006.

In GT3, for 2006 only, the maximum number of teams per manufacturer is three, with a maximum of nine cars. If a manufacturer is represented with fewer than six cars, none of the cars from that manufacturer can score points in the championship.


The 2006 FIA European Touring Car Cup event will be held at Estoril on
22 October 2006.


PFClean V2 Launches At NAB 2006

NAB 2006 Stand: SL3764 Windsor, UK. 15 March 2006. The Pixel Farm is using this year’s NAB to launch version 2.0 of its image clean up and preparation application, PFClean. Since its launch at the end of last year, this product has been gaining popularity and PFClean is already becoming the tool of choice for DI and film restoration facilities. PFClean is proving to be a significant time saver when it comes to dust busting and rig / wire removal with its ability to automatically pre process and clean up images of any resolution. And its extensive paint, grain and effects toolset. Added to this, is support for all major platforms, a truly scalable architecture and an economic price point. NAB will also see the first public showing of PFTrack 3.5. Already way ahead of its competition in terms functionality, number of tools and price, PFT3.5 adds even more firsts to its already groundbreaking tracking application.

The brand new solver allows shots to be broken down into different motion types and solved in a single pass. The Pixel Farm will be on stand SL3764 so come along and see all this - as well as the new PFTee - ENDS - About The Pixel Farm The Pixel Farm was formed in 2002 to provide innovative solutions for digital composting. Based in the UK, with a very strong focus on research and development, The Pixel Farm work with customers on key projects to ensure PF products match the needs of the production environment. By utilising its industry experience and working with some of the best researchers and developers in the world, The Pixel Farm ensures it is always one step ahead of the competition. The Pixel Farm looks to integrate best of breed technologies into a focused collaborative environment. www.thepixelfarm.co.uk


Toyota Indy 300 Daily Trackside Report

Welcome to the Toyota Indy 300, the season opener in the 2006 IRL IndyCar® Series season. John Griffin, vice president of public relations for the Indy Racing League, and the Indy Racing League and Homestead-Miami Speedway media relations staffs are here to assist you. This is the sixth IndyCar Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Dan Wheldon is the defending race winner. Buddy Rice holds the qualifying record with a lap of 24.5920 seconds, 217.388 mph set in March 2004. This is the fourth Indy Pro Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Travis Gregg is the defending race winner. Paul Dana holds the qualifying record with a lap of 28.1746, 189.745 mph set in March 2004.


Each of the five previous IndyCar Series winners at Homestead-Miami Speedway is entered this weekend: Sam Hornish Jr. (Marlboro Team Penske, 2001, 2002 and 2004 winner) Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 2003 winner) and Dan Wheldon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing, 2005 winner). Five Indianapolis 500 winners are entered: Dan Wheldon (2005), Buddy Rice (2004), Helio Castroneves (2001, 2002), Eddie Cheever (1998) and Buddy Lazier (1996).


Three IndyCar Series rookies are entered this weekend: Marco Andretti (Andretti Green Racing), P.J. Chesson (Carmelo Hemelgarn Racing) and Paul Dana (Rahal Letterman Racing). All are eligible for the $50,000 Bombardier Rookie of the Year title.


Six Indy Pro Series rookies are entered this weekend: Matthew Hamilton (Dave McMillan Racing), Brett Van Blankers (Brian Stewart Racing), Geoff Dodge (Brian Stewart Racing), Bobby Wilson (Michael Crawford Motorsports), Jay Howard (Sam Schmidt Motorsports), Jonathan Klein (Andretti Green Racing). All are eligible for the Lucas Oil Rookie of the Year Award and its $5,000 prize.


Live timing and scoring reports from the Toyota Indy 300 and Miami 100 will be available on the Internet at www.indycar.com. The live timing and scoring module provides statistical information, including track segment speeds, lap information and much more.



10:30 a.m. – GREEN. #15 Rice is first on track.

10:42 a.m. – YELLOW. Track inspection.

10:46 a.m. – GREEN.

10:58 a.m. – YELLOW. Track inspection.

11:13 a.m. – CHECKERED. Group 1.

11:15 a.m. – GREEN. Group 1.

11:28 a.m. – YELLOW. Track inspection.

11:35 a.m. – GREEN.

11:45 a.m. – CHECKERED.


Danica Patrick will turn 24 on Saturday. She took the opportunity to celebrate her birthday with her friends and family on Wednesday night in Phoenix,

DANICA PATRICK (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Team Argent anoz/Honda/Firestone):

“My birthday is Saturday, but we went out (Wednesday) night. It was chance for me to put on the little black dress and go out and celebrate.”


Selected quotes from Danica Patrick’s press conference on Thursday:

DANICA PATRICK (No. 16 Rahal Letterman Team Argent anoz/Honda/Firestone):

(About her second season): “I have a lot more familiarity, and I’m more comfortable. I know what to expect, but on the otherhand, I don’t know what to expect from the handling of the car every time out. That changes from event from event. Take Michigan last year. I went in there thinking “If there’s a race I’m going to win, it’s Michigan.” We went there and I couldn’t keep my foot down on the enormous oval for the life of me and we had a horrible weekend. Just because it’s year two doesn’t mean it will go better, for sure.” (About racing on road and street course): “If we’re at at trach where we’re going well, then it’s fun. No one likes to run in the back. Even if it’s your favorite track, if you’re not doing well, it won’t be your favorite track anymore. I’m looking forward to going to St. Pete because it was going well. Right up to the point where I hit the pit speed limiter and couldn’t get about 65 mph and totaled the gearbox. It doesn’t mean it’s going to go badly this year.” (What about running here at Homestead?): “I’m looking forward to not waking up with a bright light in my face and an IV in my arm, like last year. That wasn’t fun, but (the accident) wasn’t my fault. It was an accident. I’m looking forward to this track. I thought I came to grips with it and running on my first oval. Even at the end, I was making passes three-wide. I was getting more brave and looking forward to finishing well. I think we have solid cars and perform well here as a team. I love tracks where you can race and some fun with it.”



11:52 a.m. – GREEN.

12:19 a.m. – CHECKERED.



2 p.m. – GREEN. Group 1.

2:03 p.m. -- YELLOW. #4 Meira does a half spin in Turn 4 and made heavy contact with the SAFER Barrier. There is significant damage to the right side and rear of the car. Meira climbs from the car without assistance from the Delphi IRL Safety Team.

2:25 p.m. – GREEN.

2:41 p.m. – YELLOW. Track inspection.


Medical update from Dr. Henry Bock, IRL senior director of medical services: Vitor Meira has been checked and released from the infield care center. He is cleared to drive.

VITOR MEIRA (No. 4 EcoNova Panther Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone): “We’re not really sure what happened. Panther has a couple of the best engineers in the business working on all the data we collected today. I know the EcoNova Honda was great this morning and as hard as the Panther crew works, we’re going to be very strong tomorrow. If there is any team in this paddock that can bounce back from a challenge, it’s Panther Racing. We’re going to be very fast during qualifications tomorrow and even better when the race gets here on Sunday.”

“We’re not really sure what happened. Panther has a couple of the best engineers in the business working on all the data we collected today. I know the EcoNova Honda was great this morning and as hard as the Panther crew works, we’re going to be very strong tomorrow. If there is any team in this paddock that can bounce back from a challenge, it’s Panther Racing. We’re going to be very fast during qualifications tomorrow and even better when the race gets here on Sunday.”


2:47 p.m. – GREEN.

2:54 p.m. – CHECKERED. Group 1.

2:55 p.m. – GREEN. Group 2.

3:03 p.m. – YELLOW. Track inspection.

3:08 p.m. – GREEN.

3:16 p.m. – YELLOW. Track inspection.

3:22 p.m. – GREEN.

3:37 p.m. – CHECKERED.


DAN WHELDON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, quickest in practice):

“I'm still getting use to working with my engineer (Andy Brown) with the limited testing time that you get. I think it takes a little bit of time to get a car set up for you and exactly what you want and just working through that process. Obviously, the series has mandated we can run a lower rear wing angle and add some more rear wicker, so we're getting use to that, too. I think certainly there are other cars out there that are very quick also. As a team, we just want to keep trying to improve what we've got because of the limited time that we've run here at Homestead.”

SCOTT DIXON (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara/Honda/Firestone, second quickest):

“It was pretty good. The first session went smoothly. I think both of us worked most of the day on race setup. The cars were comfortable with no major issues. We basically tried running together. I think in the end, it's like any sort of test. Whoever gets the biggest tow ends up in the front.”

SAM HORNISH JR. (No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, third fastest):

“Our day went pretty much as expected. We spent the two sessions working on the race set-up to make sure the car handles well in traffic. That will be the key on these mile-and-a-half ovals this season. We’re not quite where we need to be yet, but I’m sure the Marlboro Team Penske crew will get it figured out for race day.”

TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fourth fastest):

"We are working on making the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car fast and comfortable. We're still a little behind, but we also still have all of Saturday and Sunday morning to get there. I'm not really complaining because being fourth isn't all that bad. But I think we can still improve the car a little bit more."

We are working on making the No. 11 Team 7-Eleven car fast and comfortable. We're still a little behind, but we also still have all of Saturday and Sunday morning to get there. I'm not really complaining because being fourth isn't all that bad. But I think we can still improve the car a little bit more."

HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Honda/Firestone, fifth fastest):

“We worked on the race set-up of the Marlboro Team Penske car today. We’ve still got some work to do and hopefully we’ll be able to get a little closer tomorrow. We’ll also spend some time working on our qualifying setup, but obviously getting the best race set-up is our main goal. I’m happy with our performance today – it’s always good to finish in the top-five and I think we’ll be in good shape on Sunday.”

Transcript of this afternoon’s Tony George’s Q & A with the media:

I'm excited to be here this weekend. It's been a long off season, and I for one am ready to get on with the new racing season. In that vain, I would like to keep the focus on this weekend's kickoff to the season, and we're back-to-back with St. Petersburg next weekend.

(About recent conversations with Kevin Kalkhoven) We've had fairly frequent communication since December. I think it's safe to say that they are very early in the get-to-know-one-another stage. We have talked about some issues of substance, no question, but for the most part it's getting to know one another as individuals. They've been fairly frequent. There have been several face-to-face meetings, several telephone conversations, e-mails, that kind of thing. I would characterize those, as I mentioned, very get-to-know-one-another conversations. There's always the temptation to start charging ahead, but so far I've tried to keep focused on really trying to understand what all we both have to consider in discussions we've had on unification.

He's certainly an interesting guy, and I've enjoyed getting to know him. I, for a long time, have been one of those who believed it certainly would be nice if open-wheel racing were unified. I understand that in my position it is incumbent upon me to get to know the people in the industry who influence our lives and influence our sport on many levels. Kevin is rather new to the scene, relatively speaking, and someone I don't have any history with so I've been building that relationship the last couple of months and it's been quite enjoyable and worthwhile.

(About talking solely to Kevin Kalkhoven) He obviously has some partners and people that he is accountable to. But it is refreshing. You know you're talking to the right guy. I got to know Dick Eidswick a little bit over the course of the last 12 to 16 months, and I've known Steve Johnson obviously, but it's nice to talk to Kevin because I think he's the one shapes the thinking over there. The other guys are good guys, and I certainly understand their roles, but Kevin is the one who I think I need to be developing a relationship with.

(About optimism about unifying soon) Optimistic? I think it's certainly possible. I think we're a long way from there at this point. I think everybody would like to see it happen sooner rather than later. Our partners, our sponsors, our teams, fans, and I think likewise on the other side, I'm sure there are those that feel the same way. But, it's not something that you can hurry along. It's not something we can resolve in a few weeks or a couple of months. It's certainly going to take some time. But, you know, I consider every conversation we've had, and every exchange, whether it be e-mail or what not, to be positive and with an eye towards moving things forward. It's just a question of how long it may take to get there.

(About the most important issue keeping the sides apart) I think that the most important thing is that we have an orderly transition that will allow us to really look toward the future together and shape and build a future together. I think it needs to be something that is achievable, something that we can execute, something that will put our best foot forward. To that extent, it's something that's going to hopefully meet everyone's expectations. There are a lot of people that have a lot of ideas about what a schedule should look like, what chassis we should run, what engines should be. I think all that stuff is open as far as I'm concerned. I just think we need to be very careful in how we plan and transition, as I like to characterize it, as we look to build this long term. I don't think we can solve all of the big issues in a short period of time, certainly not for 2007.

(About being in favor of unification) I'm very, very excited about what the Indy Racing League is today.

Certainly I wish we had more fans in the stands, more sponsors involved with the league and sponsoring the race cars. I wish we had more awareness and more attention. We've got a lot of positive momentum going, but it's safe to say that there's room for improvement. Over the last 10 years, I've been rebuilding some of the relationships that have been strained with people over that period of time. It's been awkward at times, and challenging at times, but it's getting better every day. I've felt this way for a while. It may not be obvious, because I've tried to stay out of media rooms and what not. I thank some of you for not forcing it. Sometimes it's easier to sit back and reflect on what I may have said rather than what I actually said.

(About 2007) I suppose if all the stars, moons and planets aligned, it could be possible, but what are the chances of that? There's reason to be hopeful, but I would caution everyone from getting their hopes set too high. I think if it comes together great. That would be wonderful. It depends on what the issues are. If we can eliminate the hairy issues, it won't be a problem. If we have a bunch of big, hairy issues, then it will be a problem.

(About philosophical differences) There's a lot of things to be philosophical about, I guess. I think Kevin and I agree on many of the big issues. Similarly, our experiences have allowed us to sit and talk about some things, frankly. I think we both appreciate diversity in schedules and circuits and having a combination of road and street and ovals. As I've said many times, although maybe not heard very often, we've always thought that road racing would be part of the Indy Racing League calendar sooner or later. It seemed to take a while, but we're there. Racing in the right markets, wanting to work at recapturing some of the unique qualities that we all believe open-wheel racing represents and get the public to believe that and think about that. I think those are things we share philosophically and we'd like to see happen. Certainly we want to operate profitably.

We want all our constituents to receive good value, and a fair return on their investment.

We would like to make money. It's a delicate balance. This sport is tough, because it really is a delicate balance between sport, business, entertainment, technology. You've got to find the right balance and not let any one drive it.

(About support from the IndyCar Series partners) Partners come in all shapes and sizes. We've certainly been very up front with all of our partners in the league that we've had long-term relationships with. We've entered in to long-term relationships for the future and don't want them to be surprised by all that is going on, so I've been upfront with the teams. I think I've had more conversations with a few. By and large, I haven't had in-depth conversations with any of them. I'm certainly getting some of their input. That's for sure. I think everybody is supportive of unification if it can be done. It's also been made very clear to me that they also support the Indy Racing League. The course that we've chartered for the years to come is important to them as is their relationship with us. We try to keep everybody in the loop as best we can.

(About teams focusing on the season) It's going to be very difficult, I'm sure. To the extent that maybe it becomes an issue every weekend, it will be even more of a challenge. I hope it doesn't become a weekly issue. Clearly, our partners have a tremendous investment in our series, and they have a tremendous investment in theirs. In the interest of what Kevin said of maybe leaving us alone to conduct our business, that probably would be good advice today. I'm very proud of the relationships that we've had with our partners. Some of them have been with us for 10 years.

The most important thing to me is relationships, and I feel that every partner we have should have an opportunity to be a part of unification if it comes about to the exclusion of none. Some of them may decide that it's not something they want to be involved with and that's OK, but I think everybody should be afforded the opportunity, because it could be a really great thing. It's sometimes easier to manage fewer variables, but having them all in there is important too, and I think it just adds to the excitement.

Matt Jonsson, chief mechanic for the No. 6 Marlboro Team Penske IndyCar Series entry driven by Sam Hornish Jr., is the brother of Nic Jonsson, the driver of the No. 75 Krohn Racing Daytona Prototype in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.



4:15 p.m. – GREEN.

4:58 p.m. – YELLOW and CHECKERED. #3 Van Blankers spins and continues in Turn 4. There is no contact with the SAFER Barrier.



WADE CUNNINGHAM (No. 1 Brian Stewart Racing, fastest of the day):

“We were working on the car most of the session by ourselves. Obviously, the fast times were achieved with the towing. I went out there and looked for a tow, and I put a big lap in, because it's nice to see number one, up at the top. It's hard to say how good we'll be for qualifying. The Sam Schmidt/AGR cars will be quick, but I think we'll be close enough to start."

We were working on the car most of the session by ourselves. Obviously, the fast times were achieved with the towing. I went out there and looked for a tow, and I put a big lap in, because it's nice to see number one, up at the top. It's hard to say how good we'll be for qualifying. The Sam Schmidt/AGR cars will be quick, but I think we'll be close enough to start."

JONATHAN KLEIN (No. 27 Klein Tools, second fastest):

“Today was good. We were quickest in the first session, but part of that was how well the car worked in traffic. In the second session we picked up a little bit of understeer. We kept chasing it and we were able to improve on it by the end of the session. We didn't get as much of a chance to run in traffic this afternoon as we would have liked, but overall we're happy with the Klein Tools/Turn-Key Forging and Design car."

JEFF SIMMONS (No. 24 Kenn Hardey Racing, third fastest):

“We were running pretty good there at the end. (Chris) Festa was right at the top, but he looked fast on his own there at the end. He was down in the 28's, which is pretty tough to get to it seems, so he was looking good to, my car is good. We had a fuel pressure problem there at the end that we're going to have to look at. I don't know what was causing it, but it was making it cut out the last few laps that I ran, so we've got to figure out what the problem is there. I'm fairly happy right now. It seems that it's the best that we've run on the big tracks on our own."

MARTY ROTH (No. 4 Roth Racing, fourth fastest):

"We're frustrated, because we had a really good car here at the Open Test. We've just been struggling to get it back. We still have a few more sessions, and we'll continue to chip away at it. We were third quick in that last session. We were really struggling this morning, so we've narrowed the gap a little bit. We still have some improvements to make."

Marines Distribute Food to Nigerien Poor

Traveling through the crowded, sandy streets here, most people would be reminded of the animated film "Aladdin." Street vendors, blacksmiths and potential customers trying to haggle and barter with merchants down alleyways are found throughout the town. But for the Marines of 3rd Platoon, Company E, 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, it seemed like an opportunity to help the citizens of an African country in need.

The Marines are in Niger as part of Shared Accord 06, a U.S. European Command exercise designed to bring humanitarian aid to the country while allowing an opportunity to train with Nigerien forces. "(Shared Accord) is a great opportunity to take a few minutes a day and make a difference, no matter how small," said Marine Sgt. Adam Love, squad leader.

During an escort mission with their chaplain, he said, the Marines stopped to hand out the contents of a packaged military meal. After more townspeople caught wind of the free goodies being passed out by the Marines, a large crowd came to catch a glimpse of the visiting Americans while seeing what they had to offer. "They were starving," said Cpl. Dan McCabe, a rifleman. "Mothers were trying to get food for themselves ahead of their kids; people almost trampled over kids.

It was bad. People were fighting over a half-pack of crackers." Even though the Marines were told Niger was one of the poorest countries in the world, the plight of the Nigerien people didn't strike a chord with the Marines until they were able to see it first-hand, Love said. "I wish we could spend more time and help here," Love said. He and the rest of the Marines are completing their annual training, which usually lasts between 14 and 17 days. "Now that I see how much good could be done here, I'd look forward to doing a year tour here, if it were possible." But even during goodwill missions, the Marines have to remain aware of possible security risks. "We gave food and candy to the Nigeriens, but we always remember that security comes first," Love said. "It's not just for our good, but for (the Nigeriens') good, too.

For example, what kids like to do is climb on the sides of the Humvee for a better chance at getting one of the packets we throw out. Not only does that restrict our vision, to see incoming threats around us, but if we were to pull out of the area, we'd hurt them and maybe even run some of them over." Security is the most important part of a mission, especially humanitarian ones, Love said.

Revolabs Introduces Unmatched Audio Performance with Soloâ Wireless Microphone Systems

Soloâ Executive and Soloâ Desktop to Debut at NSCA Expo,

Revolabs, Inc. a wireless product development company, announced today the launch of its Soloâ suite of products, a secure wireless microphone system for professional conferencing and audio solutions. Debuting at the 2006 NSCA Expo taking place March 16-18 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, the Solo Executive and Solo Desktop System combine optimized voice audio quality and an innovative wireless form factor for conferencing, distance learning and other professional collaborative applications.

Unlike traditional tabletop conference microphones, the Solo system moves the microphone off the table and closer to the source to dramatically reduce extraneous ambient noises that can lower productivity in meetings. Solo also incorporates full duplex, wideband audio capability, which enables participants to move freely and naturally while in a meeting, even leaving the room and remaining engaged in the call. By easily connecting to traditional conference equipment (both video and audio), the Solo system seamlessly and securely enhances the audio of any conference call.

“Executives at corporations both large and small have long been concerned about the audio component of high-end conferencing systems,” said Martin Bodley, president and CEO of Revolabs. “Our suite of Solo products provide a breakthrough in conference audio performance and we invite systems integrators, technical consultants and business executives to hear the difference for themselves.”

The Solo Executive System can be configured with up to 24 wireless microphones in a single room, brining tremendous productivity improvements to large meetings. The Solo Desktop system provides the same performance benefits, compact size and security to individual professionals in their own offices for VOIP and IP telephony applications.

Solo wireless microphones have eight hours of continuous talk time and rapid recharge capability. Both the Executive and Desktop systems offer single channel audio for each microphone enabling the ability to control, capture, process and transcribe high-fidelity audio from each meeting participant.

Each Solo microphone, which measure .9” x .8” x 2.6”, is clipped to an executive’s lapel allowing for a more natural posture, as well as increased mobility. Additional features include:

Range of 30 meters

128-bit proprietary encryption

Audio bandwidth of 100-8,000 Hz

1.5 hours charge time for up to 9 hours of talk time

Two hours charge time

About Revolabs

Launched in August 2005, Revolabs is a wireless product development company committed to providing superior audio conference solutions. The privately held company has regional offices in Maynard, Massachusetts and San Diego, California. For more information, visit www.revolabs.com.


DIGITAL VIDEO RECORDERS, WHICH HAVE been deploying at rates much slower than had long been forecasted, are suddenly taking off, Nielsen Media Research disclosed during its client meetings in Orlando this week. Nielsen, which had been estimating that DVRs were present in only about 8 percent of U.S. TV households, Wednesday revised that projection upward to 10 percent, and said it now anticipates DVRs will reach 18 percent of U.S. homes by the end of the year. That's a much more rapid uptake of the device, which was supposed to transform the TV landscape, but which had failed to live up to the hype - until now.

During a presentation on Wednesday, Pat McDonough, senior vice president of planning, policy and analysis at Nielsen, said the TV ratings research has suddenly come upon far higher rates of DVR penetration in its sample, causing it to revise its estimates upward.

The disclosure appeared to surprise some of the clients in attendance, said Nielsen spokesman Jack Loftus, who said Nielsen discovered the higher than expected presence of DVRs while it was upgrading its national TV ratings sample.

While still lower than some of the most ambitious estimates of DVR penetration, the Nielsen revision is significant, because it is part of the official universe estimates for the presence of the technology in Nielsen's sample, which is the basis for the TV industry's advertising currency.

The estimates are significantly higher than one Madison Avenue's most respected tracking studies, the periodic "on-demand" study issued by Interpublic's Magna Global unit, which placed DVR penetration at 8.8 percent as of the third quarter of 2005, in its last report issued in December 2005.

"Our long-term forecast for DVR subscribers at the end of 2010 remains at 33 million," Magna Vice President-Director of Industry Analysis Brian Wieser wrote in that report, adding, "We continue to believe that DVR services provided by cable and satellite operators will be offered as premium, incremental-fee services, and that penetration rates will be limited by this strategy."


Reflecmedia, will be introducing its brand new product at NAB 2006. Planned for release later in the year, the UK chromakey specialist is developing a new addition to its award winning (NAB Innovations Award 2003) range of Chromatte products.

Intended to be used specifically on the floor, Basematte (working title) will even further expand the companies’ Chromatte capabilities. Visitors to the stand will also see demonstrations of the definitive hardware keying solution for the Digital Video market, Ultimatte DV. Developed in conjunction with Ultimatte and launched at NAB 2005, this much-lauded product has made a significant impact on the Industry and celebrates its 1st birthday at the show this year. These, and all other Reflecmedia products, will be available for demonstration at the show, on stand C5119G Availability And Pricing Now shipping, ‘Ultimatte DV’ is available, with ChromaFlex in a bundle, for £ 2995.00 RRP / $4995.00 MAP / € 4495.00 For all other product information please visit: www.reflecmedia.com

About Reflecmedia Reflecmedia are changing the art of chroma key. The company's Chromatte and ChromaFlex products have received industry acclaim including America's National Association of Broadcasters AIM award in 2003. Reflecmedia's latest product 'mattenee' is a software plug-in for digital compositing and editing applications – this and the entire product range are now sold in 45 countries around the World.

The company's products are already used by the BBC, AOL Time Warner, Disney, MTV and many others. Reflecmedia is a division of Reflec plc. www.reflecmedia.com About Ultimatte Ultimatte Corporation is the World's recognized leader in blue/green screen compositing technology and has been in business for over twenty-five years, continually refining, enhancing and improving the craft of traveling matte generation. Ultimatte's products have been awarded Oscar® and Emmy®, and are in use by broadcasters and film studios worldwide. www.ultimatte.com Please contact Louise Gray-Murray at Bubble & Squeak PR for further information and images: louise@bubblesqueak.co.uk T: +44 (0)20 7659 2256


China has 17 million middle income households

China has 17 million middle income households, defined as those with monthly salaries worth $622-$1,244 (5,000 to 10,000 RMB), accounting for 50 million people, or 3.8% of the total population. In neighboring Hong Kong, middle class homes account for half of the Chinese territory's population.
Source : China Daily, McCann Worldgroup

Hard times create thrifty consumers

WUHAN--If cities like Guangzhou and Hangzhou have benefitted from China’s economic transformation over the past two decades, it came at the expense of other Chinese cities including Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.

Despite extreme heat in the summer and bitter coldness in winter, the 3,500-year-old city used to be one of the premier manufacturing centers in China, thanks to its geographic location. Wuhan is divided into three towns (Hankou, Hanyang and Wuchang) by the Yangtze River and its largest tributary, the Han River, creating the country’s largest inland port. Lying in the center of China, it is also the national hub for the country’s railway, highway, airline, and telecommunication networks.

In 1911, the first shot of the Xinhai revolution was fired in Wuchang, ending China’s 2,000-year-old feudalist regime. Over the course of the 20th century, Wuhan evolved into an industrial powerhouse for manufacturing, science and technology, as well as an important university town for technical and engineering fields.

Starting in 1979, however, when Deng Xiaoping normalized relations with the U.S. and opened China to nationwide economic development, Wuhan’s star began to fall.

Lucy Zhang, MindShare’s director of insights in Shanghai, compares modern-day Wuhan to “a local bus, purely functional, working in a bad environment that is gray and depressing.”

Consumers there “used to be very proud of their important city but over the past two decades, they’ve lost that pride, because they’ve lost out on foreign investment to other cities” like Chongqing, Nanjing and Shanghai, she said.

As a result, the city’s unemployment rate is higher than in other Chinese cities, more than 20% compared to less than 10% in Shanghai. “When you visit Wuhan, you can feel that people there are not optimistic. While China as a whole is growing quickly, people there aren’t feeling the benefit,” said Ms. Zhang.

Consumers, predictably, are less inclined to opt for expensive foreign brands, she added. “In general, they are still very price-sensitive. They don’t know much about foreign brands, what they mean and why they are famous, because they have low purchasing power and therefore don’t have a relationship with them. They don’t think they can afford them, and even if they did, many people in Wuhan don’t believe they are worth the premium prices.”

“A lot of the work McDonald’s has done in Wuhan is built around understanding how they can get to a value equation that makes sense to local consumers. They had to look at different pricing combinations to find something that worked,” agreed Peter Rodenbeck, Hong Kong-based director of operations, Greater China at DDB Worldwide. He visited the city many times in his last position at Leo Burnett, where he ran the fast food company’s advertising business in China.

Convincing consumers to splash out on a Happy Meal for their kids led McDonald’s to turn their restaurants into virtual community centers, handling everything from selling bus tickets to getting film developed.

“The strength of the brand and the food wasn’t enough there, so the company had to play roles that it wasn’t used to,” he said.

But he is optimistic about Wuhan’s potential as a gateway for the growth around it, as foreign investors continue pumping money into central China. As a result, more Taiwanese, Hong Kong and Malaysian Chinese are starting to look at Wuhan as a valuable operational base.

The city also has some scenic spots, including the European-style buildings on Yanjiang Street; the Yellow Crane Tower dating back 1,700 years (the name comes from a legend about a Taoist priest flying to Heaven on the back of a yellow crane); East Lake, whose natural beauty rivals that of the West Lake in Hangzhou; and Guiyuan Temple, a picturesque 400-year-old Buddhist temple filled with hundreds of sitting, sleeping, laughing and angry Buddha statues.

Wuhan cuisine is known for freshwater fish and soup dishes like Steamed Wuchang Fish, Soy Sauce Grass Carp and Wangji Chicken Soup, as well as Mianyang Three Steamed Dishes (steamed fish, pork and meatballs), Huangzhou Dongpo Pork, Wudang Hedgehog Hydnum and Hot Dried Noodles.

Fast Facts: Wuhan

Population: 7.86 million
GDP (2004): $23.57 billion (195.6 billion RMB)
TV households (2005 est.): 1,231,000
Ad spend (2005): $1.21 billion (10.08 billion RMB)*
Ad spend (2004): $0.90 billion (7.5 billion RMB)*
Year-on-year increase: 34.4%*
Adspend as a percentage of GDP (2004): 3.8%
Average minutes viewed per day per viewer of all channels (aged 4+): 158.7
Basic cable subscription cost (per month): $1.20
*based on published rate card

Average cost of 30”spot during prime time on Hubei TV Economic, the city’s most-watched local channel (based on rate card value):
18:55-19:33 - $1,446
19:33-20:30 - $1,550
20:37-21:30 - $1,610

Top 10 brands by ad spend on TV (2005)
1. Oil of Olay (Procter & Gamble)
2. Rejoice (Procter & Gamble)
3. Crest (Procter & Gamble)
4. Gai Zhong Gai (Chinese tonic/vitamin)
5. Colgate (Colgate Palmolive)
6. DHT Proportion Growth Hair (hair pharmaceutical)
7. Head & Shoulders (Procter & Gamble)
8. Pantene (Procter & Gamble)
9. Omo (Unilever)
10. Safeguard (Procter & Gamble)
(Local channels only, based on rate card.)

Top 10 advertising categories on TV (2005)
1. Shampoo & Conditioner
2. Tonic & Vitamin
3. Oral Hygiene
4. Professional Services
5. Skin Care
6. Cough & Cold Preparation
7. Chinese OTC pharmaceuticals
8. Soap
9. Communication Equipment & Services
10. Stomach Medicine
(Local channels only, based on rate card.)

Top 5 local channels by ad revenue
1. Hubei Satellite TV
2. Hubei TV - l
3. Hubei TV Economic
4. Wuhan TV 2 - Culture & Art
5. Wuhan TV 4 - Movie

Sources: Nielsen Media Research & AGB Nielsen Media Research

March 25, 2006

The Honda Racing F1 Team News




Written by Joyce L Chow & William Hoehne March 25 2006


www.montebubbles.com for more MBN news


MONTEBUBBLISM: Rather you like it or not change is inevitable.


EDITORIAL: Recently while covering an event we were told that the press is nothing but moochers that waste peoples valuable time and give nothing in return.

Recently while covering an event we were told that the press is nothing but moochers that waste peoples valuable time and give nothing in return.

The press is the best sales force that a event or business can have. We cost you no salary. We come and we observe and if there is something to print then it is printed, shown or committed to audio for broadcast.

The internet today is thought in even less kindly terms then the traditional forms of the media. The internet is somewhat the little brother or sister to the traditional forms of media. It is the new kid on the block and has to work harder like “Avis” used to say to be taken seriously.

Regardless of what types of media we work in we are not people that just show up for a free meal and give nothing in return.

Over four decades ago I was told that the only thing I had to offer that was really worth anything was my time. I and all reporters give our time to every event or interview that we go to. We give what we have that is valuable every time we go to work.


First test at Vallelunga comes to an end

DOD Identifies Army Casualties

Swiss Cheese Worlds Best Cheese.

The Paralympic flame has gone out

The WB backs down in FCC showdown.

Military to use hydrocarbon-based fuels

Military Contracts

VOD revenue versus Internet revenue

Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co., Ltd

Google revenues rising

CBS to make “60 Minutes available online.”


Few New shows expected on CBS for 2006 fall schedule

Like this was a no-brainer with Coke and Powerade

KIA warns against rate hikes for commercial time

Strike a strong possibility for actors unions

Advertising losing effectiveness

College Grads March To A New Beat




First test at Vallelunga comes to an end

The Honda Racing F1 Team returned to the test track this week following the first two flyaway races of the 2006 Formula One season.

Fresh from a podium finish for Jenson Button in Malaysia, the team has now turned its attention to preparations for the upcoming race in Australia and the European season which starts in four weeks time.

Third driver Anthony Davidson and young driver James Rossiter completed the bulk of the test programme at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy, with Rubens Barrichello joining the team on the third and final day. The focus for the week was a comprehensive Michelin tyre programme, brake evaluations and chassis set-up work, alongside running the latest specification Honda engine.

As with the other F1 tests throughout Europe, the inconsistent weather played its role in the test schedule this week. Intermittent rain showers prevented any dry running on Tuesday morning, so both drivers completed early wet set-up runs. The circuit dried out sufficiently by early afternoon to allow Anthony and James to begin their dry programmes. Anthony ran through a tyre evaluation completing 140 laps, with James concentrating on a chassis programme looking at various set-up options in the new chassis 05, completing 97 laps.

Wednesday dawned bright and sunny although the weather conditions deteriorated quickly. Both drivers concentrated on chassis set-up evaluations in their respective cars. Despite rain showers which affected the test programme during the afternoon session, Anthony completed 67 laps, with James running for 35 laps.

Rubens joined the team on Thursday and completed some early runs to acclimatise himself to the circuit and track conditions. Anthony began the day running through further chassis set-up work before a rain shower brought the morning session to an early close. The weather conditions continued to deteriorate with thunderstorms followed by heavy rain preventing any further running until the last hour of the day. Both drivers were then able to go out on extreme wet tyres to complete a few runs before the circuit closed. Rubens completed 46 laps today, with Anthony running for 82 laps.

Rubens Barrichello
“I had a few dry runs in the car this morning but was still learning the circuit by the time that it started raining. The end of the day was more positive as I had a couple of runs right at the end on wet tyres to give me more of a feel for the car and set-up. This track has helped me test the new ideas that we have, which I found useful, and I will certainly be using these in Australia and hope to have a good weekend there.”

Anthony Davidson
“It was interesting going to a new circuit at Vallelunga this week, although we struggled with the weather. Day one was the best day of running where we did 140 laps. We have made good headway with some control developments over the week and found positive results. We also worked on general set-up for the car and put lots of mileage on one engine. I’m looking forward to going to Melbourne and driving on Friday again.”

James Rossiter
“We had a good day in Vallelunga on Tuesday. It was the first time I’ve been here so we spent some time learning the circuit. The afternoon session was particularly useful as we were able to complete some good dry running which really helped me understand the car and we made some progress on the set-up. The weather interrupted our running on Wednesday but we did manage to get some evaluations completed towards the end of the day.”

Mark Ellis – Chief Engineer Vehicle Performance
“Despite the variable weather this week, we have had a very positive test. Our main focus has been to work on the areas prioritised following the opening races and the Vallelunga circuit has lent itself well to these requirements. The weather has not prevented us working through a comprehensive programme with the electronic systems and we have made good progress with both the control systems and the chassis set-up in dry and wet conditions. We did not have enough dry running to complete all our planned tyre tests, but we have some very positive results that will carry forward to the next tests before the start of the European races.”

Shuhei Nakamoto – Management Board Member, Honda Racing F1 Team - Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development
"Due to the rain, we concentrated more on control systems improvements rather than the search for more power and higher revs this week. That has brought us some good results which will help us fix the most appropriate engine maps for Melbourne."

DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Staff Sgt. Brock A. Beery, 30, of White House, Tenn., died in Habbaniyah, Iraq on March 23, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his LMTV followed by enemy small arms fire during combat operations. Beery was assigned to the Army National Guard's 2nd Battalion, 123rd Armor Regiment, Bowling Green, Ky.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Sgt 1st Class Randy D. McCaulley, 44, Indiana, Pa., died in Habbaniyah, Iraq on March 23, when his dismounted patrol came under enemy small arms fire during combat operations. McCaulley was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 110th Infantry, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division, Indiana, Pa.

Swiss Cheese Worlds Best Cheese.


An emmentaler swiss cheese crafted in Switzerland with near perfect distribution of the holes that make the cheese famous took top honors Thursday at the World Championship Cheese Contest.


The cheese, with a taste the top judge described as nutty and sweet, beat out two gouda entries from the Netherlands as the overall winner. There were 1,793 entries from 18 countries, ranging from cheddar to edam to flavored spreadable cheese.

After tasting some 50 cheeses in a two-hour championship round, judge Mark Johnson said the swiss crafted by Walo Von Muhlenen was near perfect.

"The workmanship that had to go into that piece of cheese was outstanding," said Johnson, who works at the University of Wisconsin's Center for Dairy Research as a troubleshooter for cheese makers.

Thursday marked the culmination of the three-day world championships, with 50 categories for cheeses and butters. Each begins with a score of 100 with deductions for imperfections as judges arrive at scores that produce a gold, silver and bronze winner in each class.

Judges can take several minutes with each cheese in the early rounds, grading for presentation, texture, smell and taste. They swirl the samples in their mouths like fine wine, trying to pull out the characteristics — before spitting out a mouthful of cheese into a garbage can.

Johnson said judges deduct points if flavors are not in balance or a cheese does not smell right. Having an overpowering horse blanket taste is a typical problem. Johnson described it as "sweaty, barny, unclear."

"You know it when you taste it, but it's not a pleasant one," he said.

Entrants are not allowed to sample their cheeses, which must be received in their original packaging, uncut, or they are disqualified.

John Umhoefer, executive director of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association, said producers will often taste cheese from the same batch but are unsure of the quality of the sample the judges will taste. He said producers have to trust their skills and have faith that their ingredients were good enough to create the right smell, flavor and texture.

The champions from each class were re-evaluated Thursday as part of the final judging. Judges went through some four dozen cheeses in two hours.

The champion averaged 98.271 from the 18 judges.

A good showing can be a boom for small cheese makers who specialize in hand-crafted cheeses.

Reining U.S. champion Randy Krahenbuhl came up short Thursday, taking only a bronze medal among the 12 entries he submitted.

His U.S. title last year for his swiss cheese emmentaler has opened doors for his growing cheese factory.

Krahenbuhl, who left his native Wisconsin four years ago as competition for quality milk among specialty cheese producers drove up prices, said markets in Pennsylvania, Texas and northern Indiana came calling after he took the title. His operation doubled in size over the past year, he said.

Krahenbuhl said he has long-term plans to continue growing his operation.

"I just love it in everything. We had macaroni and cheese last night," he said. "It goes in everything we make."

The Paralympic flame has gone out

The Paralympic flame has gone out in Piazza Castello in the centre of Turin

From 10 to 19 March, 477 athletes from 39 countries took part in the Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games. Fifty-eight medal events were contested in four sports: Alpine skiing, ice sledge hockey, Nordic skiing and wheelchair curling.

Moments of sporting “firsts”

Besides some outstanding sporting moments, there were also moments of sporting “firsts”.

- It was the first time that wheelchair curling was on the programme.

- Two National Paralympic Committees, Mexico and Mongolia, competed for the first time.

- These were the first Paralympic Games at which the new Paralympic symbol, the ‘Three Agitos’, was used in the Games emblem.

- Emily Jansen was the first female Australian athlete to compete at a Winter Paralympic Games.

- Italy participated in ice sledge hockey for the first time.

- It was the first time that the factor system was used in all events in Alpine skiing and cross country in a Winter Paralympic competition.

- The Torino 2006 Paralympic Winter Games were the first Paralympic Winter Games in which athletes raced in three classes in Alpine and Nordic skiing – sitting, standing and visually impaired.

- Gerd Schonefelder became the first athlete in Alpine skiing to win 17 Paralympic medals.

- It is the first time two Paralympic Villages were used for the Paralympic Games.

- ParalympicSport.TV allowed the first Internet television broadcast of the Paralympic Winter Games Paralympic Games

The Paralympic Games are elite sport events for athletes from different disability groups. They clearly emphasise, however, the participants' athletic achievements, not their disability. The movement has grown dramatically since its early days.

The Paralympic Games are elite sport events for athletes from different disability groups. They clearly emphasise, however, the participants' athletic achievements, not their disability. The movement has grown dramatically since its early days.

In 1948, Sir Ludwig Guttmann organised a sports competition involving World War II veterans with a spinal cord-related injury in Stoke Mandeville, England. Four years later, competitors from Holland joined the Games, and the international movement, now known as the Paralympics, was born. Olympic-style games for athletes with a disability were organised for the first time in Rome in 1960. In Toronto in 1976, other disability groups were added and the idea of merging together different disability groups for international sports competitions was born. In the same year, the first Paralympic Winter Games took place in Sweden.

The Paralympic Games have always been held in the same year as the Olympic Games. Since the 1988 Seoul Summer Games and the 1992 Albertville Winter Games, they have also taken place at the same venues as the Olympic Games. On 19 June 2001, an agreement was signed between the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee aiming to secure the organisation of the Paralympic Games. The agreement reaffirmed that the Paralympic Games, from 2008 on, will always take place shortly after the Olympic Games, using the same sporting venues and facilities.

Since the Salt Lake 2002 Games, one organising committee is responsible for hosting both the Olympic and the Paralympic Games. Athletes from both Games live in the same Village and enjoy the same catering services, medical care and facilities. Ticketing, technology and transport systems for the Olympic Games are seamlessly extended to the Paralympics.

Immediately following the end of the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City, important transformations took place to prepare for the 2002 Winter Paralympics, held from 7 to 16 March 2002. Four hundred and sixteen athletes from 36 nations competed in Alpine and Nordic Skiing and Ice Sledge Hockey at the Salt Lake City Paralympics.

The last Paralympic Summer Games were held in Athens, Greece, from 17 to 28 September 2004. A total of 3806 athletes from 136 countries competed in 19 sports in the state of the art venues at the 2004 Paralympics.

The next Summer Paralympics in 2008 will be held in Beijing, China, with the 2010 Winter Paralympics being staged from 12 to 21 March (2010) in Canada.

The Opening Ceremony for the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games is to take place in Vancouver and all competitions in Whistler. Some 1,700 athletes and team officials from more than 40 countries are expected to participate.

The WB backs down in FCC showdown.


Barry Levinson said he doesn't blame the WB network for airing a censored debut episode of his drama revolving around a college class on sexuality. He holds the Federal Communications Commission responsible.

"We don't believe that the show should have been edited, but the network is very fearful of what the FCC has been doing recently," Levinson said Thursday. "They're intimidating the networks and levying these fines, so the networks are not sure of what they can or can't do."

The Bedford Diaries, set to premiere 9 p.m. ET Wednesday, will air minus scenes of two girls kissing and a girl opening her jeans, said Levinson, a prominent producer-director whose film credits include Rain Man,The Natural and Diner.

set to premiere 9 p.m. ET Wednesday, will air minus scenes of two girls kissing and a girl opening her jeans, said Levinson, a prominent producer-director whose film credits include and

The network, which has used the Internet before to promote new series, is streaming a full, uncut version of the pilot on its website. The cast includes Matthew Modine, Milo Ventimiglia and Audra McDonald.

Last week, the government renewed its crackdown on what it considers indecency in television by proposing a total of $3.9 million in new fines, including a record $3.6 million fine involving the depiction of a teenage sexual orgy on CBS' Without a Trace.

The FCC also upheld its $550,000 fine against CBS stations for Janet Jackson's 2004 Super Bowl flash of nudity.

Levinson said he and fellow executive producers Tom Fontana (Homicide: Life on the Street,Oz ) and Julie Martin had already delivered what they and WB agreed was the final cut of The Bedford Diaries when the FCC fines prompted WB's second thoughts.

The producers refused to make further edits because they were "out of the bounds of logic we could understand," Levinson said.

"You can't even argue it," he said. "In its context, the show doesn't advocate any behavior. In fact, in many ways it talks about the responsibility of the individual. But the FCC doesn't look at anything in context. So, therefore, they're upset that two girls kissed, period."

"We can't point the finger at the network," he said. "The network is responding to governmental intimidation."

In a statement, the WB said it "takes its responsibility as a broadcast network very seriously and we have always been mindful of the FCC's indecency rules."

"While we believe that the previous version of The Bedford Diaries is in keeping with those rules, out of an abundance of caution, we decided to make some additional changes" to the first episode, the network said.

Other episodes may be at risk, including one in which a teacher discusses sexual abstinence, Levinson said: The network is concerned that the FCC will consider only the sexual phrases and deem them indecent.

"We're living in absurdist times, that's all you can really say. You can't even give this real credibility," he said.

Federal law and FCC rules ban radio and over-the-air TV stations from airing obscene material, such as describing sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, at any time. The rules also bar stations from airing references to sex or excretions between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., when children might be more likely to watch.

Military to use hydrocarbon-based fuels

Emerging automotive technology may eventually assist Americans -- and their military -- in reducing their dependence on hydrocarbon-based fuels for transportation needs. Government agencies such as the Defense and Energy departments are working to adapt new technologies like hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered vehicles that conserve finite, pollution-producing and increasingly expensive fossil fuels.

The Army has been testing a prototype hydrogen-fuel-cell system installed within a conventional truck platform for about a year now, said Bill Haris, a mechanical engineer at the Army's National Automotive Center. The NAC is part of the U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center at Warren, Mich.

The application is geared toward nontactical vehicle usage. A hydrogen fuel cell is a device that produces electricity, water and hot air, Haris said. Hydrogen coming into the fuel cell, he said, is chemically converted into electricity and steam. "There is zero pollution," Haris said. The one-of-a-kind prototype is based on a Chevrolet Silverado, Haris said.

The truck's original engine, transmission and gas tank were removed and replaced with two hydrogen fuel cells and two electric motors - one motor drives the front wheels and the other drives the rear wheels. And "the plumbing and the storage tanks for the hydrogen, as well as the brains to control all the energy flow" are installed, Haris said. In comparison, a hybrid vehicle uses two types of energy sources to provide motive power, Haris explained.

On method under study to solve the distance issue is employing some type of solid-hydrogen storage system. "We recognize it is a limitation and recognize that the industry is working really hard to address it," Haris said. The hydrogen truck came on line last spring, Haris said. "It's an interservice program with the military," he said. The Marines also have interest in the project.

Leveraging commercial research on hydrogen fuel cells dovetails with DoD's desire to harness private-industry expertise, said Harold Sanborn, an expert on alternative fuel sources who also works at NAC. "We need to look at commercial technologies and find out if they are ready for military applications," Sanborn said. The hydrogen-fuel-cell-truck concept also "is a good starting point for discussion about modernizing our bases and the base infrastructure to make our bases more efficient and cleaner overall," Sanborn said.

Right now, fuel cells are from five to 10 times more expensive than internal-combustion-engine-driven systems, Sanborn said. He also acknowledged that using compressed hydrogen, a highly flammable element, does present unique safety and storage concerns. However, those concerns are being addressed with success, Sanborn said. Some day military bases may replace their internal-combustion-engine truck fleets with fuel cell or fuel cell/ hybrid vehicles, Sanborn said. "Then they could use clean-burning hydrogen in that application and drive those vehicles in their duty cycles," he said.

Military Contracts


Electronic Data Systems Corp., Herndon, Va., is being awarded a $3,119,027,601 modification to a previously awarded indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (N00024-00-D-6000) to exercise an option for three additional years of Navy Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) services. The NMCI contract provides information technology seat management services across the Navy and Marine Corps. The option, which is being exercised subject to the availability of funds, will extend the period of performance of the contract from October 2007 through September 2010. Work will be performed at Navy and Marine Corps installations and bases across the country and in the Far East. No contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command, San Diego, is the contracting activity.

Bell Boeing Program Joint Program Office, Patuxent River, Md., is being awarded $42,132,742 for delivery order (0069) against previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00383-03-G-001B) to manufacture new parts to support the MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft. Work will be performed in Ridley Park, Pa., and work is expected to be completed by March 2008. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not awarded competitively. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

Bell Boeing Program Joint Program Office, Patuxent River, Md., is being awarded $28,693,500 for delivery order (0068) against previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00383-03-G-001B) to manufacture new parts to support the MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and work is expected to be completed by March 2008. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not awarded competitively. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

Bell Boeing Program Joint Program Office, Patuxent River, Md., is being awarded $26,785,000 for delivery order (0070) against previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00383-03-G-001B) to manufacture new parts to support the MV-22 tilt rotor aircraft. Work will be performed in Fort Worth, Texas, and work is expected to be completed by March 2008. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not awarded competitively. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Integrated Systems, Bethesda, Md., is being awarded a $17,419,243 cost-plus-fixed-fee contract for systems engineering and integration in support of Combat System Warfare Federated Tactical Systems (SWFTS). SWFTS is comprised of all submarine combat system subsystems, mainly consultation, command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence (C5I). This effort provides for the overall architecture integration of the subsystems to achieve a single total combat system for Naval Battlegroup interconnectivity. Work will be performed in Manassas, Va. (44 percent); Middletown, R.I. (12 percent); San Antonio, Texas (8 percent); Groton, Conn. (7 percent); Woodbridge, Va. (7 percent); Newport, R.I. (7 percent); Riverdale, Md. (5 percent); Canton, Ill. (3 percent); Greensboro, N.C. (3 percent); Bethesda, Md. (2 percent); North Waterford, Conn. (1 percent); Mystic, Conn. (1 percent), and is expected to be completed by December 2006. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The contract was competitively procured and advertised on the Navy Electronic Commerce On-line website, with two proposals solicited and received. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-06-C-6272).

Intergraph Corp., Madison, Ala., is being awarded a $17,000,000 modification under previously awarded firm-fixed-price, time and materials, fixed-price with award fee, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract (N00104-04-D-Q161) for engineering hardware systems and supplies; and related support services, software, maintenance and training in support of various NAVSEA computer aided design projects. Work will be performed in Huntsville, Ala. (70 percent), and various contractor and government CONUS locations (30 percent), and work is expected to be completed by September 2006. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The basic contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin, Moorestown, N.J., is being awarded an $11,000,000 undefinitized contractual action for a performanced based logistics supply support contract for manufacture of spare and repair parts used in the AN/SPY-1 radar of the AEGIS weapon system. Work will be performed in Moorestown, N.J., and work is expected to be completed by June 2008. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not awarded competitively. The Naval Inventory Control Point is the contracting activity (N00024-00-C-5139

General Dynamics, Advanced Information Systems (GDAIS) (formerly Digital System Resources (DSR) Inc.), Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a $9,500,000 cost-plus-award-fee modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-03-C-5136) for continued software system engineering design support under an existing Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) effort for the Program Executive Office for Integrated Warfare Systems PEO (IWS). This SBIR Phase III effort focuses on bringing the latest software systems engineering design, advanced combat system architectural schemas (Battle Group Interoperability), analysis of newly emerging technologies, strategies to insert these technologies and development of low-cost prototypes and tactical units to support PEO (IWS) programs and family of systems. The investigations will focus on the introduction of combat systems capabilities using open architecture constructs and will be designed to assess current and future capabilities in the areas of track formation, improvements in display architecture and frameworks, and merging of track files to support weapons deployment. Work will be performed in Fairfax, Va., and is expected to be completed by September 2007. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity.

Lockheed Martin Corp., Simulation, Training and Support Div., Orlando, Fla., is being awarded an $8,146,816 modification to a previously awarded firm-fixed-priced contract (N00019-00-C-0480) to exercise an option for the production of 38 test program sets in support of the Navy's new Electronic Warfare Test System platform. Work will be performed in Orlando, Fla., and is expected to be completed in December 2007. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md. is the contracting activity.

Rockwell Collins Government Systems, Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is being awarded a $6,204,366 firm-fixed-price order against a previously awarded basic ordering agreement (N00019-05-G-0024) for services in support of the design and development of the next generation of ARC-210 radio generation 5 (GEN5). Services to be provided for the fiscal year 2006 effort include program management, engineering, hardware and software development, testing and data deliverables. Work will be performed in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is expected to be completed in September 2006. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity.

DEFENSE LOGISTICS AGENCY ExxonMobil Fuels Marketing Co., Fairfax, Va., is being awarded a maximum $720,464,650 fixed price with economic price adjustment for jet fuel for Defense Energy Support Center. Other locations of performance are Baytown, Texas and Baton Rouge, La. This is an indefinite delivery/quantity, 12-month contract with a 30-day carryover. Proposals were Web-solicited using Federal Biz Opps and 21 responded. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is April 30, 2007. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-06-D-0489).

Shell Oil Products US, Houston, Texas, * is being awarded a maximum $633,427,579 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for turbine fuel for Defense Energy Support Center. Other location of performance is Deer Park, Texas. This is an indefinite delivery/quantity, 12-month contract with a 30-day carryover. There were 37 proposals solicited and 21 responded. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is April 30, 2007. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-06-D-0482).

Calcasieu Refining Co., Lake Charles, La., * is being awarded a maximum $251,056,698 fixed price with economic price adjustment for diesel and jet fuel for Defense Energy Support Center. This is an indefinite delivery/quantity, 12-month contract with a 30-day carryover. Proposals were Web-solicited and 21 responded. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is April 30, 2007. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-06-D-0485).

Hunt Refining Co., Tuscaloosa, Ala., is being awarded a maximum $52,259,348 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for turbine fuel for Defense Energy Support Center. This is an indefinite delivery/quantity, 12-month contract with a 30-day carryover. There were 37 proposals solicited and 21 responded. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is April 30, 2007. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-06-D-0483).

Air BP division of BP Product North America, Warrenville, Ill., is being awarded a maximum $44,956,788 fixed price with economic price adjustment for jet fuel for Defense Energy Support Center. This is an indefinite delivery/quantity, 12-month contract with a 30-day carryover. Proposals were Web-solicited and 21 responded. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is April 30, 2007. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-06-D-0484).

Hinman Specialty Fuels, Evanston, Ill., * is being awarded a maximum $35,745,150 fixed price with economic price adjustment contract for Naval distillate fuel for Defense Energy Support Center. Other location of performance is Saint Rose, La. This is an indefinite delivery/quantity, 12-month contract with a 30-day carryover. There were 37 proposals solicited and 21 responded. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is April 30, 2007. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-06-D-0490).

Select Energy Services, Berlin, Conn., is being awarded a maximum $19,155,851 firm fixed price electricity contract. Using services are Army, Navy, and federal civilian agencies. Other locations of performance are Lakehurst, Dover, Fort Dix, and Fort Monmouth, N.J. There were 79 proposals solicited and 5 responded. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is December 31, 2007. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-05-G-8034).

Pepco Energy Services, Arlington, Va., is being awarded a maximum $17,455,678 firm fixed price contract for electricity. Using services are Army, Navy, Air Force, and Federal civilian agencies. Other locations of performance are Indian Head, Md., Neptune and Colts Neck, Fort Dix, Fort Monmouth, Lyons, East Orange, Cape May, and Lakehurst, N.J. There were 79 proposals solicited and 5 responded. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. Date of performance completion is December 31, 2007. The contracting activity is the Defense Energy Support Center (DESC), Fort Belvoir, Va. (SP0600-05-G-8029).


VOD revenue versus Internet revenue

After just three years of selling advertising, the Internet had reached ad revenues of $907 million. Last year, video on demand was 3 years old, but it has only reached ad revenues of around $50 million. Why such a big difference? Magna Global’s Brian Wieser thinks he knows.

In his latest “On Demand Quarterly” report, Mr. Wieser, Magna Global’s VP-director of industry analysis, outlines a framework for what drives advertiser adoption of new media to “help understand and explain why media will and won’t take off,” he said. “New-media entrepreneurs should consider this as stuff … it’s meant to be a generic framework for any potential ad supported medium.”

And that new media doesn’t just include video on demand, mobile or Web TV -- several of the hot topics discussed in the marketplace -- but also can help guide more futuristic concepts such as digital out-of-home and newspapers and magazines delivered by electronic readers, a la Sony’s eReader.

The idea is to avoid the fate that has befallen VOD, a medium that has lots of potential but hasn’t been able to generate impressive ad dollars.

According to the Magna report, at the end of 2005 VOD had been commercialized for about three years and had 21% household penetration. Yet ad revenues were only likely around $50 million. Contrast that with the Internet, which had been commercialized for three years by the end of 1997 and had about 19% penetration. Its ad revenues at the time were $907 million, composed primarily of banner ads.

In Mr. Wieser’s opinion, there are real barriers that have prevented money from coming into VOD. One of those issues is measurability. Another is to benchmark it against another type of media. And a third may be lack of technological and creative standards and dynamic ad insertion.

“VOD was talked about as an ad platform from its earliest days, but I don’t think anyone told the engineers,” he said. “These systems were not built to handle advertising originally, they’re always retrofitting it after the fact.” If the cable operators created a national VOD interconnect, which would mean taking a smaller piece of a larger pie, they’d be further ahead, he said.

Mr. Wieser noted that a key to helping Internet blossom as an ad medium was the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s creation of recommended banner sizes, which allowed advertisers to compare their ads on one site to another.

“It also allowed them to compare the amount of real estate they’re buying online with that amount you buy online or in a magazine,” he said. Internet was originally more like a print medium and benchmarked as such, which was helpful for advertisers who had newspaper or magazine expertise they could build on.

And as advertisers try to figure out where they fit in the mobile space, carriers “will be well advised to account for this in their networks,” he said.

Advertisers have thus far felt fairly shut out of mobile video plays but that will change, Mr. Wieser predicts. Recently Fox Mobile Entertainment announced it is launching global phone-content company Mobizzo and CBS said it will roll out two mobile news products -- none of which will be ad supported, at least for now. By 2009, 36 million users will be watching video on their mobile phones, according to a study by eMarketer.

“Mobile video is one of the most promising media in the future but to drive penetration it will likely need to be ad-supported,” he said. “It’ll take some infrastructure building, but there’s lots of anecdotal information from around the world about the promise of the medium.” While Apple’s video iPod and Sony’s PSP are dominating the space right now, he pegged cellphones as the best best mobile-marketing platform in the long run.

Mr. Weiser lays out six criteria that emerging technology needs to meet before it can be widely adopted by advertisers:

1) Critical mass of unduplicated or unique reach. Advertisers require depth within their target audiences, whether mass or niche.

2) Uniform technological standards so advertisers can deliver the same creative content to multiple service providers without having to reformat.

3) Research into optimal creative formats. Advertisers need standard creative formats so they can benchmark for price and effectiveness against other media.

4) Smooth buying processes, such as dynamic ad insertion and the ability to make last-minute changes, are critical.

5) Robust user data and metrics are important for advertisers to know if the commercial ran and how many and who saw it. This is an especially vital need as advertisers and agencies are pressured to demonstrate accountability.

6) Keeping advertisers away from potentially objectionable content continues to be important for mass advertisers.

Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co., Ltd

Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co., Ltd., the automobile production and sales joint venture in China of Honda and Dongfeng Motor Group Co., Ltd., announced the debut of the all-new Civic passenger car, at a press conference held in Beijing. Top executives of Dongfeng Honda, including Zhou Wenjie, Chairman; Mitsuru Ozaki, President; and Liu Yuhe, Executive Vice President; attended the conference to explain product features and sales strategies as well as to announce the start of pre-order sales. The company has established a sales target of 50,000 units for 2006. The all-new Civic will go on sale April 22, through Dongfeng Honda’s 90 exclusive dealers in China.

Since it was first introduced in 1972, the Civic has been sold in more than 160 countries around the world and achieved cumulative global sales of 16 million units, making it Honda’s best selling single model. This 8th-generation Civic, developed with the concept of “a vehicle with a look, feel and drive that excites people,” features improvements in all basic performance measures of an automobile, including driving performance, fuel economy, environmental friendliness, and packaging. Further, the all-new Civic represents a sensual level of high quality equivalent to the product segment that is one class above previous Civic models.

The all-new Civic features a newly developed 1.8-liter i - VTEC engine that combines off-the-line acceleration on par with a 2.0-liter engine together with fuel economy equivalent to that of a 1.5-liter engine while cruising. Overall, Civic achieves top level fuel economy within its class. Exterior styling features a one-motion form to create an advanced look, while the interior is designed to pursue fun driving, easy operation, and spaciousness. The advanced multiplex meter strategically positions meter displays to minimize the driver’s eye movement while driving.

As for safety performance, the all-new Civic has achieved the highest 5-star level based on the Euro NCAP(New Car Assessment Program) safety performance standard in Europe, based on internal testing. In the area of environmental performance, the all-new Civic has met Euro 4, the emission regulation in Europe. Thus, the all-new Civic features industry leading performance in safety, the environment, and fuel efficiency, areas in which Honda puts the highest priority.

Prior to the introduction of the all-new Civic, Dongfeng Honda completed expansion of its automobile plant in Wuhan to quadruple annual production capacity to 120,000 units. The all-new Civic to be manufactured by Dongfeng Honda will be modified to meet the needs of Chinese customers, as well as the driving environment and regulations in China.

About Dongfeng Honda Automobile Co., Ltd.

Established: July 16, 2003
Capital Investment: US$ 200 million
Capitalization Ratio: 40% Honda Motor Co., Ltd.
10% Honda Motor (China) Investment Co., Ltd.
50% Dongfeng Motor Group Co., Ltd.
Location: Wuhan, Hubei Province, Economic and Technological Development Area

Representative: ZHOU Wenjie, ChairmanMitsuru OZAKI, President
Employment: Approximately 2,000 associates
Business: Production and sales of passenger cars
Start of Production: April 2004
Products: CR-V, Civic
Annual Capacity: 120,000 units
Production Processes: stamping, plastic injection molding, welding, painting, assembling, R&D
Size: Lot size : 690,000m2 (building size: 219,000m2)
Sales Operation: Exclusive Dongfeng Honda 4S dealers
(approximately 90 locations as of March 2006,
approximately 140 locations by the end of 2006


Google revenues rising

Google’s revenue is expected to climb to $10 billion worldwide by 2007, a new report by online market-research firm eMarketer predicted.

The reason for the growth is a combination of more searchers and the fact that the Google brand draws more searches, said David Hallerman, senior analyst and the report’s author. Indeed, there are expected to be 144 million U.S. search-engine users this year, rising to 166.2 million by 2010. And, in terms of total paid-search ad spending, Google’s share is expected to reach 57.2% in 2006, up from 32.9% in 2004.

“The largest reason for Google’s growth is because of the Google brand,” Mr. Hallerman said. “For the average user, Google is the equivalent of search.” Google has been wise in diversifying its business into content offerings, like Google Finance, which it introduced last week, the analyst said. “If Google can figure out how to do that in TV, with either video on demand or digital video recorders, and they can extend the technology of delivering relevant results, there would be even more of a gold mine,” Mr. Hallerman added.

Beyond 2007, Google will contend with pressures -- like click fraud and privacy -- that “will potentially chip away at, if not halt, the growth of search engine marketing,” the report said.

CBS to make “60 Minutes available online.”

CBS has committed to making its legendary news magazine “60 Minutes” available on Yahoo for the online masses. The partnership launches this fall, but Yahoo will offer a preview of what's to come this Sunday with a rare interview with golf superstar Tiger Woods.

"This puts some of our best material in front of people who might not ordinarily be watching the show,” “60 Minutes” executive producer Jeff Fager told Advertising Age. “I feel we do a lot of stories that appeal to every age group, but if younger people knew what we're doing they'd like it more than they think.”

Recent newsmakers appearing on “60 Minutes” have included U2 and Michael Jordan. "The most important thing to me is to bring in more young people,” Mr. Fager added. He confirmed that Yahoo was handling ad sales on the show. The Tiger Woods preview package is sponsored by Buick.

A quick check of Yahoo's video page reveals the extent to which individuals are already posting content from the show themselves. "60 Minutes" content can be found on Yahoo through links to undergroundclips.com, which has a segment featuring Jon Stewart, and chevrofreak.com serving up a "60 Minutes" segment called "Find the Gun."

Yahoo is expected to bring a little order to the chaos, however. The Web giant is creating a microsite dedicated to "60 Minutes," with details on forthcoming episodes and additional content once each episode has aired. The shows will be archived and offered for free. Vince Messina, Yahoo entertainment category officer, this week said Yahoo's focus was to increase the amount of video at its site.

"The past has been about bringing online existing assets to news stories and creating a compelling experience," said Neil Budde, general manager Yahoo News. "To me the next phase is really about what we can do to create things uniquely for online to take advantage. It may be offering content that doesn't exist anywhere else."

Among the potential plans for the "60 Minutes," site are tapping the Yahoo community to add interactivity via polls, ratings, interactive maps and time lines. The Yahoo brand name will appear on the show come fall to point viewers to additional material at the site.

For CBS, the deal helps it gain greater traffic for the weekly show, while assisting Yahoo to add more content to help draw viewers in to its video page. Users can already watch "60 Minutes" through CBS's Web site, CBSNews.com. The two companies have worked together previously. In December, Yahoo streamed full episodes of two CBS comedies, "Two and a Half Men" and "How I Met Your Mother."

CBS has been one of the most aggressive networks at exploring emerging media opportunities. Earlier this week, the company linked with Verizon's FiOS TV, a new TV service delivered over fiber optic cables. CBS, which is also making its content available in video-on-demand format, is being paid by Verizon for its content. The company has also linked with Google Video to provide programming, and posts podcasts of "60 Minutes" to Apple iTunes. There are no advertisers currently attached to the podcast.


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) awarded its 2006 world “Women and Sport” Trophy today to Argentinean tennis player Gabriela Sabatini at an official ceremony held at the headquarters of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Geneva (Switzerland). While Gabriela Sabatini’s many victories need no introduction – 27 singles and 12 doubles titles, plus a silver medal at the 1988 Olympic Games – her work to promote and develop tennis in her country, among youngsters and particularly girls, has not often made the headlines.

As well as the world trophy, five continental trophies were presented to women who played an outstanding role in promoting sport in their countries. The winners are as follows:

- Trophy for Africa: Albertine Barbosa Andrade (Senegal)

- Trophy for America: Charmaine Crooks (Canada)

- Trophy for Asia: Elisa Lee (Korea)

- Trophy for Europe: Dominique Petit (France)

- Trophy for Oceania: Lorraine Mar (Fiji)

The 2006 winners were selected by the IOC Women and Sport Commission, chaired by IOC member Anita L. DeFrantz, from dozens of candidatures submitted by the National Olympic Committees and International Federations of Olympic sports.

Information on the winners:

Gabriela Sabatini

The Women and Sport Commission’s choice for the world Trophy in 2006 was Argentinean tennis player and three times world number three Gabriela Sabatini.After retiring from an active sports career in 1996, Gabriela Sabatini devoted the same strength and energy to her support work, with a view, in her own words, to “giving back to sport something of the many things that sport gave to me”. She is behind a programme for young players run by the national tennis federation for which she has provided all the funding. She also finances women’s tennis tournaments and free tennis clinics for young children - all out of the public eye.

Albertine Barbosa Andrade

Albertine Barbosa Andrade, a militant figure from Senegalese sport and a traditional cycling family (three of her brothers have been national champions), is the winner of the trophy for Africa. She became in 1983 the first African female president of a sports federation (cycling) and the same year a member of the International Amateur Cycling Federation (FIAC) Executive Committee. Today, she is still the only female president of a Senegalese sports federation (gymnastics), a post she has held since 1988. Thanks to her determination, Albertine Barbosa Andrade managed to convince the Senegalese NOC – of which she is Assistant General Treasurer – to reserve at least two seats on the NOC Executive Committee for women. She is today one of the main leaders of the NOC’s Women and Sport Commission. On the media side, Albertine Barbosa Andrade played an active role in the creation of the Senegalese Association of Female Reporters.

Charmaine Crooks

Charmaine Crooks, winner of the trophy for America, represented her country, Canada, for almost 20 years on the athletics track. After five Olympic Games, a silver medal won in Los Angeles in 1984, she was elected in 1996 as a member of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and then served as an IOC member until 2004. An active member of the IOC Press Commission, World Olympians Association, Canadian NOC, and Vancouver Organising Committee for the XXI Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2010, Charmaine Crooks also holds other important positions within sports organisations at international, regional and national level. With her passion for sport and keen advocacy for athletes, young people, women in sport and the values of Olympism, Charmaine Crooks has featured regularly on television for more than ten years.

Elisa Lee

The winner for Asia, Elisa Lee, has distinguished herself in her country, Korea, as an athlete, then a coach and now a sports leader. At the age of 10, the girl who would later be nicknamed “the Ping Pong Queen,” saw her life changed for ever after discovering a 2.7-gram table tennis ball, which immediately captivated her. During 35 years, Elisa Lee and these balls won numerous medals. Elisa Lee continued her sports career as coach of the women’s Olympic team for the Games from 1984 to 2004, adding a gold medal in 1988, then silver and a bronze in 2004 to her collection. She was also involved in setting up the Korean Women’s Sports Association (WSA) in 1981. Armed with a PhD, in 2002 she began a sports administration career as Director of the Korean Physical Education Association for Girls and Women. No longer wishing to limit herself to training women and table tennis, in March 2005 Elisa Lee took full charge of Korean high-performance sport, becoming the first female Chief of the NOC’s Athletes Training Centre since its creation in 1966.

Dominique Petit

For Europe, the winner is Dominique Petit, the first female technical director of a French national federation of an Olympic sport: volleyball. Organiser of the European Women and Sport Conference in 2004 as part of the European Women and Sport (EWAS) network, Dominique Petit was behind the creation of the mixed “Women and Sport” group within the French NOC. A guiding principle in the career and work of Dominique Petit has always been the importance of training and supervision, for both technical and managerial aspects. While National Technical Director for volleyball, she greatly developed the training for the female coaches who are today working at the highest level. Dominique Petit currently runs the “Making the most of human resources” section of the NOC – the only female director -, and is constantly involved in awareness-raising and training initiatives all over France.

Lorraine Mar

Lorraine Mar, the winner for Oceania, is a role model in developing the participation of girls and women in badminton, both nationally and regionally. After a sports career spanning more than 10 years in badminton and tennis, during which she was voted Fiji Sportswoman of the Year in 1984, Lorraine Mar joined the Fiji Badminton Association in 1995 as Treasurer and Secretary. She has also been Office Manager of the NOC since 1998. Thanks to her enthusiasm, dedication and determination, women’s badminton has developed strongly in terms of participation, and some of the under-19 players discovered by Lorraine Mar are now in the national elite squad. She also ensures that a coach from the Oceania Badminton Association is regularly available to run training programmes for women and girls.


Few New shows expected on CBS for 2006 fall schedule

CBS TOLD ADVERTISERS IT IS doing so well there is little room on the schedule for anything new come the fall. With 14 shows already renewed, the network said it already has a strong hand--especially with two new mid-season shows that are also showing strength--"The Unit" and "The New Adventures of Old Christine."

Media agency executives who went to yesterday morning's New York City program development meeting at the Ed Sullivan Theater--which was closed to the press--weren't offering any videotape of developing show, much the way CBS's and Warner Bros.' CW development presentation went.

Some executives sense the network's development long-term plans seemed to more oriented to younger viewers.

"It looks like they are concentrating to get younger," said Brad Adgate, senior vp and corporate research director for Horizon Media.

One show in particular was a comedy called "The Class," about twentysomethings who originally form a friendship bond in the third grade, then separate, only to get back together at a surprise party. It stars ex- "Joan of Arcadia" star Jason Ritter, son of the late John Ritter. This comes from "Friends" producer David Crane.

"It's not your typical CBS show," said Adgate.

CBS also offered up its more typical hour dramas. "Shark" stars James Woods, who as a veteran attorney leads a bunch of inexperienced lawyers. Spike Lee directs. Brian Grazer and Ron Howard produce the show.

From "West Wing" producer John Wells, "Smith" follows a bunch of criminals making high-stakes heists across the country. Virginia Madsen and Ray Liotta star.

One noted reality show, "Tuesday Night Bookclub," is more of a docu-soap and is unscripted. It features a weekly book club meeting where housewives bluntly talk about the husbands, children, as well as their indiscretions."It's kind of a 'Girls Night Out,'" said Adgate.

In sticking with its suburbia-theme, CBS is also working on another comedy, "The Angriest Man in Suburbia" in which a Manhattan-based man moves his wife and family to Southern California, and is left scratching his head over the West Coast's confusing California social morays.

Like this was a no-brainer with Coke and Powerade

Coca-Cola Co. and PepsiCo have settled out of court their dispute over Coke’s TV campaign for Powerade Option that PepsiCo said unfairly 'False claims' charged
In a suit filed March 20 in U.S. District Court in Chicago, PepsiCo’s Stokely-Van Camp unit charged that the Option commercials makes a “literally false claim” of superiority over Gatorade that it “provides a performance advantage while containing fewer calories.”

The TV and print campaign via independent Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., claimed that Powerade Option with 10 calories for each 8.5-ounce serving “is better” than Gatorade’s 50 calories per serving. The first 15-second spot in a four-spot series broke March 16 during the NCAA men’s basketball tournament, showing an Amish “drag” race where one horse-drawn buggy carrying 10 bales of hay speeds past a competing buggy carrying 50 bales of hay.

Today’s settlement “follows an agreement by Coca-Cola to terminate the airing of one Powerade Option commercial and modify the language in a second ad to address the concerns expressed in the lawsuit pertaining to carbohydrate calorie content and relative energy benefits of Gatorade and Powerade Option,” said Gatorade spokeswoman P.J. Sinopoli.

She said Coke has agreed to immediately stop airing the Amish drag race commercials as well as a second spot that showed two tennis shoes, one with 50 lace holes and the other with 10. The laces spot will be referred to the National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau for an expedited review. NAD earlier recommended that the Powerade Option spot “clearly and conspicuously” disclose that the product doesn’t provide the energy benefits that Gatorade delivers.

“Our primary concern is to ensure that consumers are accurately informed about the benefits of a functional sports drink, and we are satisfied with Powerade Option's decision,” Cindy Alston, VP-equity development and communications for Gatorade, said in a statement.

Coca-Cola issued its own statement saying that under the settlement, advertising for Powerade Option will continue to run during the NCAA tournament. “As the No. 2 player, we want to set ourselves apart from the category, but we want to compete in the marketplace, not in the courtroom,” said Gloria Garrett, VP-hydration for Coca-Cola North America, in the statement.

“Powerade Option was created and is marketed based on what we’ve heard from consumers -– that there are many occasions when a full-calorie sports drink adds back more calories than people have just burned off. Our advertising will maintain the central theme of the campaign, which is that Powerade Option has fewer calories than Gatorade,” said Ms. Garrett. “We have agreed to modify the commercials to be clearer that Powerade Option has both fewer calories and less carbohydrate energy than Gatorade.”

A Coca-Cola spokesman said the marketer will add a voice-over to the TV spots that say “in essence, that everyone knows that calories equal carbohydrate energy.” He said there were no discussions about print creative slated to run March 31 in USA Today.

Gatorade’s suit charged that the Coke commercials make a false claim of superiority that it “provides a performance advantage while containing fewer calories.” It argued that the opposite is true because the added calories in Gatorade provide additional energy while the “negligible calories” in Powerade Option “cannot refuel athletes in a similar manner."

KIA warns against rate hikes for commercial time

KIA MOTORS MARKETING CHIEF IAN Beavis, who famously swore off broadcast advertising in a previous job, continued to needle the networks yesterday, warning them to stop bragging about rate increases, which he said makes it difficult for clients to justify the escalating costs to their top management.

Beavis said his CEO grows angry at news reports about how successful networks are at extracting more and more dollars from marketers, leading to greater scrutiny of his company's spending on network television and a potentially lesser budget.

"Except oil companies, no one else boasts about what they're taking from consumers," Beavis said in a provocative address to the Association of National Advertisers' annual television forum.

Beavis, vice president of marketing at Kia Motors America, said he wants to increase his television allotment--but finds it hard to justify, as his colleagues on the financial side are confronted with news about the networks' growing coffers. He said the issue peaks around Super Bowl time every year, when figures such as $2.5 million per spot begin to circulate.

Beavis, who dropped all network spending in 2004 when at Mitsubishi, said he spoke with more than 20 other marketers prior to his speech, and all expressed the same frustrations.

Jon Nesvig, president of advertising sales at Fox, who was in attendance, said that news about rate increases rarely starts with the networks, and he and his colleagues are not the ones "pushing that agenda." He said that top management at some client companies may be "listening to the trade press rather than their own people."

Nonetheless, referring to Beavis, Nesvig said: "Unfortunately, if it's affecting his ability with his management, it is an issue."

The increased coverage of the media business--with more trade outlets and a greater interest by the consumer press--over the last decade may have resulted in a heightened focus on topics such as each network's upfront performance, including total dollar amounts and CPM results. At the same time, top executives at media companies often speak about issues such as scatter market pricing in conference calls with Wall Street analysts, leading to the increased coverage.

Beavis' comments stirred at least one person to immediate action. A questioner--who weighed in via anonymous inquiry cards--suggested that his decision to halt network spending at Mitsubishi "killed" the brand in the United States. But Beavis said moving away from television was not the issue. Instead, he said, "the brand had more problems than you could count before I even got there."

Beavis had other advice--or a wish-list--for networks in his speech. He implored them to employ commercial, or minute-by-minute, ratings when negotiating with buyers and to alter the timing of the upfront to be more in sync with companies' fiscal years. Networks "should conform to the financial needs of the client," he said.

Beavis' advice wasn't limited to networks. He asked his marketing colleagues to produce better and more engaging creative, and not to be afraid to drop an outlet from a media plan. "There are no 'must' buys," he said. To agencies, he directed them to "remember you work for the client and not the network"--and to stop relying on "the 30-second drug."


Strike a strong possibility for actors unions

when the actors' unions contracts with the ad industry expire this fall. "The chance for a strike is high, and I think people need to plan accordingly," said Dan Jaffe, the ANA's executive vice president of government relations. Among the reasons, Jaffe said, is that the new leadership of the unions is admittedly "more radical" than its predecessors.

One main issue is how to compensate actors for their work when it is used on new media outlets such as iPods, cell phones, and broadband. Jaffe suggested that marketers who know they have a campaign breaking near the end of October--when the union contracts are scheduled to expire--stockpile inventory so the campaigns can run their course in the event of a lengthy strike. He also suggested marketers ensure that contracts with star talent are written to prevent interruptions.

Advertising losing effectiveness

The ANA and Forrester Research released a new survey reflecting marketers' frustrations with television. Among the results: 78 percent of advertisers feel traditional television advertising has lost effectiveness in the last two years (133 advertisers representing $20 billion-plus in media spending, including Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Verizon, participated.) The survey also found that 97 percent feel the television industry needs to rely on commercial ratings, not simply program ratings, for audience metrics.

Regarding the burgeoning DVR issue, almost 70 percent think increased DVR and VOD adoption will reduce the effectiveness of 30-second spots. And when DVRs reach penetration of 30 million--Forrester predicts they will be in 43 million homes by 2010--nearly 60 percent of advertisers will spend less on television.

American Express executive James Hedleston said the sky-is-falling view of the value of television may be "a bit of a red herring." Nonetheless, he said his company has moved to a more platform-neutral approach to planning and no longer classifies the medium as "television," instead going with "rolling video stock," a label which encompasses broadband, VOD, television, and cinema advertising. Multiple media were used in American Express' recent campaign featuring director M. Night Shyamalan. Although the campaign included a two-minute spot during ABC's Oscar broadcast, it also had other video incarnations. But Hedleston, the company's vice president of global media, said cinema--which American Express uses frequently--wasn't one of them.

The reason: it was not Madison Avenue, but Shyamalan himself who vetoed the idea. Apparently, the famed director, who was born in India, believes that cinema advertising has a deleterious effect on the movie-going experience in his native country, where a film will be stopped midway for a couple of minutes of commercials before resuming. "He felt it ruined his experience," Hedleston said.


College Grads March To A New Beat

The recently issued Y2M: eGrad 2005 College Graduate Survey concludes that new technologies and explosive growth in Internet usage are rapidly changing the buying habits and needs of college graduates. The study found that the top planned purchases upon graduation are professional clothing, travel/airline ticket, health insurance and furniture.

Additional areas of interest to this community, as determined by the study, include:

Though 74 percent of grads already own cars, more than a third plan to purchase a new vehicle within 12 months of graduation.

Nearly 30 percent plan to find a new credit card within a year of graduating, and will look to cards with no annual fees, low interest rates and rewards programs.

Online purchasers rose from 21 percent of respondents to nearly 80 percent. Seventy-one percent are active online banking users, while nearly half regularly download music from the Internet.

Sixty nine percent have posted a resume online. The bulk of these posting were on Monster.com, though postings on CareerBuilder.com showed the greatest year-over-year growth, with an increase of more than 400 percent.

Social networking is replacing many traditional avenues for entertainment and the sharing of information. There is a big shift away from alumni networks, supplanted by social networking sites and the use of instant messaging. Only 32 percent of respondents indicated they would seek out alumni for social purposes.

News consumption online has grown from 20 percent to 78 percent of respondents. Graduate publications, such as alumni magazines, are of little interest to graduates, but 73 percent would like to receive their college newspaper via e-mail.

Dina Pradel, general manager of Y2M, says "Generational changes and the evolution of the Internet from a business and information network to source of media and entertainment are the driving forces behind the buying habits of the new college grad."


America's Fifth Broadcast Network Increases National Coverage

America's Fifth Broadcast Network Increases National Coverage

To Almost 68% Of The Country

Tucson, Columbia (SC), Jackson (MS), Waco-Temple-Bryan And Dothan

Are The Latest Markets To Be Served By The CW

The CW announced today that it has signed exclusive, long-term affiliation agreements with stations in Tucson (Sierra Vista), Columbia (SC), Jackson (MS), Waco-Temple-Bryan and Dothan.

The addition of the six stations in these markets increases The CW's national coverage to almost 68% of the country, including 19 of the Top 20 markets and 26 of the Top 30.

The newly signed affiliates are:

* KWBA Tucson (Sierra Vista), AZ, owned by Cascade Broadcasting Group LLC.

* WZRB Columbia, SC, owned by Roberts Broadcasting Company.

* WRBJ Jackson, MS, owned by Roberts Broadcasting Company.

* KWTX Waco & KBTX Bryan in Waco-Temple-Bryan, TX, the digital stations of the CBS

affiliates owned by Gray Television, Inc.

* WTVY, Dothan, AL, the digital station of the CBS affiliate owned by Gray Television, Inc.

These stations are in the 71st, 83rd, 89th, 94th and 172nd largest markets in the country, respectively, and represent 1.39% of total U.S. TV households. 

WZRB, WRBJ, KWTX-DT, KBTX-DT and WTVY-DT are currently UPN affiliates. KWBA is currently an affiliate of The WB.

"We welcome these six fine stations as the newest members of The CW's affiliate family," said John Maatta, Chief Operating Officer, The CW. "The stations and the companies that operate them are joining with us for an unprecedented business opportunity -- launching a new network with a strong slate of

successful shows with proven appeal to young adults and to the many advertisers who want to reach that coveted demographic. We can't wait to start working with our new colleagues at KWBA, WZRB, WRBJ, KWTX-DT, KBTX-DT and WTVY-DT, and to fulfill the promise of the long-term commitments that Cascade Broadcasting, Gray and Roberts Broadcasting have made to The CW."

On January 24, CBS Corporation and Warner Bros. Entertainment announced their intent to form a new 5th network, The CW, to be launched in the fall of 2006. The new broadcasting network will be a joint venture between Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corporation, with each company owning 50%.

In an important strategic move that secures major market distribution for The CW, it was also announced on January 24th that Tribune Broadcasting and the CBS Corporation's UPN affiliates have agreed separately to sign 10-year affiliation agreements with the new network.  The combination of Tribune's 16 major market stations (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, Washington, D.C., Houston, Miami, Denver, St. Louis, Portland, Indianapolis, San Diego, Hartford, New Orleans and Albany) and the 11 CBS-owned UPN major market affiliates (Philadelphia, San Francisco, Atlanta, Detroit, Tampa, Seattle, Sacramento, Pittsburgh, West Palm Beach, Norfolk and Providence) cover the top 13 television markets, 20 of the top 25 television markets and have a total coverage area of more than 47% of the country.

The CW will incorporate The WB's current scheduling model, which consists of a 6 night-13 hour primetime lineup including Monday through Friday nights from 8-10 (EST/PST); Sundays from 7-10 (EST/PST); Sunday from 5-7 (EST/PST) outside of primetime as well as a Monday thru Friday afternoon block from 3-5 (EST/PST) and a 5-hour Saturday morning animation block.  Together, the network will program 30 hours a week over seven days for its affiliated stations.


CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS.A and CBS) is a mass media company with constituent parts that reach back to the beginnings of the broadcast industry, as well as newer businesses that operate on the leading edge of the media industry. The Company, through its many and varied operations, combines broad reach with well-positioned local businesses, all of which provide it with an extensive distribution network by which it serves audiences and advertisers in all 50 states and key international markets. It has operations in virtually every field of media and entertainment, including broadcast television (CBS and UPN), cable television (Showtime and CSTV Networks), local television (CBS Television Stations), television production and syndication (CBS Paramount Television and King World), radio (CBS Radio), advertising on out-of-home media (CBS Outdoor), publishing (Simon & Schuster), theme parks (Paramount Parks), digital media (CBS Digital Media Group and CSTV Networks) and consumer products (CBS Consumer Products). In Fall 2006, UPN will cease operations and The CW, a new fifth broadcast television network, will launch as a joint venture between Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corporation. For more information, log on to www.cbscorporation.com.


Warner Bros. Entertainment, a fully-integrated, broad-based entertainment company, is a global leader in the creation, production, distribution, licensing and marketing of all forms of entertainment and their related businesses. Warner Bros. Entertainment, a Time Warner Company, stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry, from feature films to television, home video/DVD, animation, comic books, interactive entertainment and games, product and brand licensing, international cinemas and broadcasting.


Featuring one-touch digital recording to Compact Flash or Microdrives, onboard editing with Copy Segment, Virtual Track Mode for playback and instant audio access to the preset marked points, the PMD560 provides convenient digital recording/editing in an affordable package

The PMD560 offers over 35 hours of recording time on a cost-effective 1 GB CF memory card

D&M Professional, manufacturer of the renowned Marantz Professional PMD series of professional recording products, is bringing in the new year with its latest compact flash recorder — the rack-mount PMD560 Compact Digital Recorder. The PMD560 is a direct result of feedback from users in the field who are working in an array of recording environments in various vertical markets such as: government/municipal, law enforcement, corporate, house of worship and education.

Because of the ongoing popularity of Compact Flash recording, and the recent success of the acclaimed Marantz Professional PMD660 Portable Digital Recorder, the company continues to develop products that provide advanced functionality and convenience, further emphasizing its ongoing commitment to supplying customers with market driven product solutions.

The single rack space (1U) PMD560 is a solid-state recorder with easy one-touch digital recording to cost-effective Compact Flash media cards or Microdrives. Uncompressed WAV files can be recorded at 44.1 or 48 kHz, and high quality MP3 files can be recorded in mono (at 64 kbps) or in stereo (at 128 kbps). Using a standard 1 GB Compact Flash card, the PMD560 can record over 1.5 hours of stereo and over 3 hours of mono uncompressed audio, over 17 hours of stereo MP3 and over 35 hours of mono MP3 audio.

Due to its solid-state design, the PMD560 has no moving parts, and therefore it is extremely more reliable than cassette, DAT or other tape/disc formats. This carries the added advantage of eliminating periodic maintenance and all its related costs — particularly important for recording meetings, archiving sound effects, gathering audio for video, surveillance and broadcasters/journalists who are doing in-the-field recording and playback.

Designed for the most demanding applications, the PMD560 features stereo or mono recording and has RCA input and output jacks, two remote jacks as well as an RS232C connection port. With intuitive controls, the front panel also offers a headphone jack with volume level and a built-in USB interface. The PMD560 is the perfect rack-mount companion to the Marantz Professional PMD660 Compact Digital Recorder.

The PMD560 offers editing capabilities in a class by itself. Included onboard are two editing modes. “Copy Segment” editing uses non-destructive cut-and-paste-style editing to create a new sound file, which can be up/downloaded via the front panel USB port. With Marantz Professional’s exclusive Virtual Track Mode, the user can create an internal edit list enabling immediate playback of file segments, without using card memory to create a new file. Up to 99 virtual tracks can be created to compare edits, set up multiple sound bytes or provide interview segments of differing durations.

A revolutionary optional RC600PMD wired remote control that attaches to any microphone is available to supply Record/Pause control, track marking and peak meter monitoring from the microphone position, allowing the user to concentrate on their work rather than the operation of the PMD560.

About D&M Professional
D&M Professional, parent company of Denon Professional, Marantz Professional and Denon DJ, manufactures and distributes a reliable line of professional audio and video equipment for the broadcast, commercial, corporate, DJ, education, government, audio/visual, education, houses of worship, security, and related industries.
Visit D&M Professional at www.d-mpro.com or Denon DJ at: www.denondj

March 24, 2006

Coalition forces rescued three hostages




Written by Joyce L Chow & William Hoehne March 24 2006


www.montebubbles.com for more MBN news


MONTEBUBBLISM: Most are blind when it comes to change, they can only see the past never the future.


More and more people are turning to the internet first

Coalition forces rescued three hostages

TV advertising is less effective than it was two years ago

Olympic Museum in Turin: a real treasure hunt

DOD Identifies Army Casualty


Patricia Neal to Attend NYC Screening of “Hud”

On eve of upfront, marketers unhappy

More buyers are looking to pay only for ads

DOD Women have much to be proud of.

Kia Rio


More and more people are turning to the internet first

More and more people are turning to the internet first, and sometimes as their only resource, to get their news. A report released yesterday by the Pew Internet & American Life Project put some numbers behind the trend. Of 3,011 people whom the report surveyed in December, 23 percent of respondents get their news from the internet. That compares to 59 percent for local TV, 47 percent for national TV, 44 percent for radio and 38 percent for local papers.

The numbers add up to more than 100 because many people utilize multiple sources to get the news. Among broadband users, the percentage of people getting news from the internet rises sharply -- to 43 percent. That compares to 57 percent for local TV, 49 percent for both national TV and radio and 38 percent for local papers. Among "high-powered" internet users, which the report defines as broadband users who do more activities online than the median broadband user, 71 percent of respondents get news online during an average day. That compares with 59 percent for local TV, 53 percent for radio, 52 percent for national TV newscasts and 43 percent for local papers. The report attributes 25 percent of the growth of daily online news consumption since 2002 to the increased use of broadband connections in the home.


Coalition forces rescued three hostages

Coalition forces rescued three hostages held by terrorists in Iraq since November in an early morning raid today, a Multinational Force Iraq spokesman said. "Based on intelligence that we recovered over the last 36 hours, an operation was planned and conducted, and those three hostages were rescued," Army Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch said during a briefing from Baghdad. "I'm happy to report all three are in good condition." The hostages, Christian peace activists, have undergone medical screening and are anxious to be reunited with their families, Lynch said.

A fourth hostage, and the only American in the group, Tom Fox, was found dead about two weeks ago. The kidnappers were not present during the rescue that took place west of Baghdad, Lynch added. Despite Fox's killing and a car bomb that exploded in Baghdad today, the perception of an Iraq rife with violence is not accurate, Lynch said. "The idea that Baghdad is the center of gravity for the enemy's operations (is) indeed a valid idea," he said. "But the concern that all of Iraq is experiencing widespread violence is incorrect." Fifteen Iraq provinces average fewer than six attacks a day, and 12 of those provinces see fewer than two attacks a day, he said.

The other three provinces, Baghdad, Anbar and Salah Ad Din bear the brunt of the attacks, Lynch said. Though those three provinces account for 75 percent of all attacks in Iraq, incidents in Baghdad between March 11 and 17 were down 10 percent, the general told reporters. Car bombings also decreased 50 percent during that period, to eight from 17 the previous week, Lynch said. The enemy, however, continues to try to derail democracy and discredit the Iraqi government, he said. Insurgents couldn't stop elections or the drafting and ratification of the new constitution, Lynch said, so enemy fighters have refocused their efforts on inflaming sectarian violence.

Iraqi civilians are increasingly targets of this violence, accounting for 65 percent of casualties across the country, he said. "There is, indeed, a spike in what we term 'ethno-sectarian' incidences," he said. "During this reporting period (of) 12 to 19 March, we found across Iraq about 100 events that we would label as an ethno-sectarian incident." Lynch described "ethno-sectarian" events as attempts to inflame sectarian violence. These acts have been aimed at all sectors of the Iraqi population -- Shiite, Sunni and Kurd -- he said. Eighty-two incidents between March 12 and 19 are suspected of being ethno-sectarian in nature, Lynch said. In 58 incidents, individuals clearly were executed, he added. "The enemy's still out there," Lynch said. "We're in a specifically vulnerable period right now as the national unity government forms and (the enemy) continues to conduct operations and inflame sectarian violence and drive a wedge between the Iraqi population." A joint effort between Iraqi security and coalition forces is under way to ensure the enemy doesn't succeed, he said.

Operation Scales of Justice is designed to counter the enemy's attempts to create a sectarian divide inside Baghdad, he said. The operation, started on March 12, brought in a total of 3,700 additional security forces, including a coalition battalion from Kuwait, Lynch said. This increase allows for 300 patrols -- 100 more than before -- in the city. Iraqi and coalition forces also are manning about 130 checkpoints, he said. The operation's goal is to keep car bombs and suicide attacks from occurring in the city.

That goal was achieved for the past five days, during which there were no attacks using those methods, he said. The reprieve was short-lived, however, as today's Baghdad car-bomb attack indicates, Lynch said. Another ongoing joint operation in Baghdad, Northern Lights, began March 21. It has resulted in the discovery of eight weapons caches and the detention of 18 suspects, including one considered a high-value target, Lynch said. Operation Swarmer, an Iraqi-led operation, began a week ago in Salah Ad Din province and has resulted in the detention of 95 suspected terrorists and the discovery of 24 weapons caches, he added. "What I continue to be amazed with is the number of operations, company level and above, that are planned and executed by the Iraqi security forces," Lynch said. "We're at a point now where a third of the operations during (March 11 to 17) were independent Iraqi security force operations." Between March 11 and 17, 512 operations were conducted across Iraq, he added.

The Iraqi forces that participated in Swarmer are a small portion of the 241,000 trained and equipped Iraqi security forces working operations across the country, Lynch said.


TV advertising is less effective than it was two years ago

TV advertising is less effective than it was two years ago, and the medium might take some hard knocks within the next two years in a market correction, according to a survey made public Wednesday at the annual Association of National Advertisers gathering here.

The ANA-Forrester Research study of 133 national advertisers found that 78% think TV advertising is less effective than it was two years ago. One major reason, according to Forrester vp Josh Bernoff, is digital video recorders, which allow users to skip commercials.

Despite a recent push by the Big Four networks to present research minimizing the impact of DVRs, Bernoff said the ANA-Forrester study finds that advertisers don't believe it. Sixty percent of respondents said that with a DVR "tipping point" of 30 million homes, they would spend less on conventional TV ads than they do today. Nearly a quarter of them will slice their spending 25% when that happens.

That's bad news for the television industry, which Bernoff predicts will see ad spending decline 5%-10% beginning in the 2007 season. But he said that it will not be a fatal blow to television or the tip of the iceberg to future declines: TV will adapt.

Advertisers are looking to find alternatives to the traditional TV spots, with the survey finding 61% interested in branded entertainment within shows, 55% looking at TV program sponsorships, 45% looking at online video ads and 44% for product placement.

"There's a gut feeling among advertisers that the 30-second spot is losing potency," Bernoff said. "Research aside, they're looking for alternatives."


Olympic Museum in Turin: a real treasure hunt

Last month, for the XX Olympic Winter Games in Turin, a delegation from the Olympic Museum moved to Piedmont. As is customary for each edition, it endeavours to enrich Olympic patrimony by collecting original items, some belonging to medallists, some evoking a story, and some quite simply representing the moments full of emotion, sadness or joy experienced by those who thrilled the whole world during the 16 days of competition.

Already a large haul

The Olympic Museum is soon going to present its recent acquisitions from champions and other individuals involved in these 2006 Winter Games. A big thank you to all these kind donors, whom the Olympic Museum looks forward to welcoming when they visit Lausanne, Olympic Capital.

Helmets, clothing and even a Ferrari nose!

Among the items already collected are the skeleton helmet worn by Gibson Duff (Canada), gold medallist; the all-in-one outfit and gloves of short-track speed skater Mathieu Turcotte (Canada), silver medallist; the team coat belonging to the skier Shailaja Narinder Kumar (India), who competed in the Calgary Games in 1988; the banner of the 1960 Olympic Games in Squaw Valley offered by the Association of Olympians who took part in these Games; or even more unusual, the “nose” of the Ferrari from the Opening Ceremony of the Turin Games offered by FIAT to the IOC.

…And much more

Even once the Games have ended, the collection continues in the form of reminders to the athletes who have made a promise to donate or who offered to come to the Olympic Museum in Lausanne to bring their equipment after the competitions in which they are still to take part. The season is often far from over for some!


DOD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Spc. Antoine J. McKinzie, 25, of Indianapolis, Ind., died in Baghdad, Iraq, on March 21, when his HMMWV came under enemy small arms fire during combat operations. McKinzie was assigned to the 4th Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Armored Division, Baumholder, Germany.

Two soldiers assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 28th Division, died due to enemy action yesterday while operating in Iraq's Anbar province, Multinational Force Iraq officials announced today. Officials provided no further details. The soldiers' names are being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Staff Sgt. Ricardo Barraza, 24, of Shafter, Calif., and Sgt. Dale G. Brehm, 23, of Turlock, Calif., died March 18 in Ramadi, Iraq, when they came under small-arms fire by enemy forces. Both soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, Fort Lewis, Wash. - Pfc. Amy A. Duerksen, 19, of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., died March 11 in Baghdad from a noncombat related injury. Duerksen was assigned to the 4th Combat Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.



Jadoo Fuel Cells for First Responders, Hobbyists, Law Enforcement
and other "Off-Grid" Critical Power Situations

Jadoo Power Systems Inc. (http://www.jadoopower.com), the leading supplier of portable fuel cell power systems, announced that it will be introducing its line of fuel cell products for prosumers, such as first responders, hobbyists, and law enforcement.

the leading supplier of portable fuel cell power systems, announced that it will be introducing its line of

Primarily shipping to the professional broadcasting market for the past two years, Jadoo Power will introduce the fuel cell power unit, N-Stor fuel canister and FillPoint refill stations for a variety of new applications, including field-ready laptops, emergency response radios and other equipment used in "off-grid" power situations, as well as professional broadcast cameras.

Advantages of the Jadoo fuel cell technology:

-Virtually infinite shelf-life compared to batteries

-Hot-Swap capable, so power never goes down like when replacing batteries

capable, so power never goes down like when replacing batteries

-Rapid refill/recharge time with the FillPoint

with the FillPoint

-Patented digital interface for State-of-Fill and other fuel management data

-Packaged in an easy-to-understand, easy-to-use solution.

"Commercialization has been priority number one for Jadoo and we are excited about bringing our tried and true technology to these new prosumer markets," said Jack Peterson, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Jadoo Power. "It is clear to Jadoo that the applications for a durable, reliable ‘off-grid’ fuel cell power source are many. That is why we are introducing the Jadoo fuel cell power unit, N-Stor fuel canister and FillPoint refill station to the prosumer market."

About Jadoo Power Systems

Jadoo Power Systems, Inc. is a market-focused company that develops and sells next-generation, portable energy storage and power generation products. Jadoo is financed by Mohr Davidow Ventures, Venrock Associates and Sinclair Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.

Jadoo Power Systems, Inc. is a market-focused company that develops and sells next-generation, portable energy storage and power generation products. Jadoo is financed by Mohr Davidow Ventures, Venrock Associates and Sinclair Ventures, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.

For more information about Jadoo Power Systems, please contact:
Jadoo Power Systems, 181 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, CA 956030

Jadoo Power Systems, 181 Blue Ravine Road, Folsom, CA 956030

Phone: (916) 608-9044 Fax: (415) 532-1426 Email: info@jadoopower.com.


Patricia Neal to Attend NYC Screening of “Hud”

New York, NY — Oscar®-winning actress Patricia Neal will be the special guest when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences screens “Hud” as part of the “Monday Nights with Oscar” series on Monday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in New York City.

Hosted by television host and film historian Robert Osborne, the evening will feature a discussion with Neal followed by a screening of “Hud,” the 1963 black-and-white drama directed by Academy Award® nominee Martin Ritt.

“Hud” stars Paul Newman (in his third Oscar-nominated performance) as Hud Bannon, the bitter, amoral son of a rancher, and Neal as Alma, a down-to-earth and soft-hearted housekeeper. The story weaves together family relationships, drunkenness and death.

Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank, Jr. earned Oscar nominations for their screenplay based on the novel “Horseman, Pass By” by Academy Award-winning screenwriter Larry McMurtry (“Brokeback Mountain”).

“Hud” won Oscars for three of its seven nominations in 1963 – Leading Actress (Neal), Actor in a Supporting Role (Melvyn Douglas) and Cinematography (James Wong Howe). In addition to the nominations for Frank Jr., Newman, Ritt and Ravetch, “Hud” also received a nomination in the Art Direction category (Hal Pereira, Tambi Larsen; Set Decoration: Sam Comer, Robert Benton).

This screening of “Hud” will feature a 2005 restored print from the Academy Film Archive, and will be preceded by the 1963 Oscar-winning Short Subject Cartoon “The Critic,” with Mel Brooks.

“Monday Nights with Oscar” is a monthly series showcasing high-quality prints featuring Academy Award®-nominated and winning films.

The Academy Theater at Lighthouse International is located at 111 East 59th Street in New York City. Tickets for the screening are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid I.D.

Tickets may be reserved by calling (888) 778-7575. Pending availability, tickets may be purchased in person the night of the screening. Doors open at 7 p.m.



On eve of upfront, marketers unhappy

Following a flat broadcast upfront last year, the feeling has been that things would perk up this spring, with some media analysts forecasting a 3 percent bump in network ad spending.


A new report, released just as the upfront season begins, suggests the broadcast networks could face a far tougher sell to the nation's advertisers, for this upfront and the next and the next.

Advertisers are fast losing confidence in TV advertising. And the 30-second spot, long endangered, is suddenly looking even more endangered. That's according to a report from the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Forrester Research that was presented yesterday before the Association of National Advertisers TV Ad Forum.

A chief finding: Some 78 percent of advertisers feel that traditional TV advertising has become less effective over the last two years.

“Television networks continue to publish research that traditional TV advertising is potent as ever," writes Josh Bernoff, vice president of Forrester Research, in a release of the study's findings. "But national advertisers aren’t buying it and are seeking alternatives to enhance their budgets and move them beyond the customary 30-second spot.”

Less clear from the study is just how soon this dissatisfaction will express itself in upfront ad sales. Will it be this year, or next, or the year after? But the sense is sooner rather than later, certainly by 2007.

The report, which will be issued in full by Forrester in a few weeks, was based on a survey of 133 national advertisers representing some $20 billion worth of advertising. Charles Schwab, Johnson & Johnson, Mattel, Pfizer and Verizon, among others, were questioned about their attitudes toward TV advertising.

Key to the survey were questions about what impact new technologies like digital video recorders and video-on-demand will have on their TV ad budgets.

A big impact, came back the reply. Some 70 percent of advertisers reported that DVRs and VOD will ultimately reduce or destroy the effectiveness of traditional 30-second TV commercials.

In fact, when DVRs have spread to 30 million homes, nearly 60 percent of advertisers say that they will spend less on conventional TV advertising. Of those, 24 percent will chop TV budgets by at least a quarter.

With DVRs currently in 10 million households in the U.S., that day is not yet here. However, Forrester predicts that in three years the number of households with this technology will hit the 30 million figure.

The survey also found that, while 55 percent of companies report that top executives are watching the changes in TV advertising, most advertisers have yet to jump in and experiment with advertising possibilities on DVRs (49 percent) or VOD (44 percent).

Not surprisingly, the internet looks set to benefit from the shifting of ad dollars. Some 80 percent of advertisers say they will spend more of their advertising budget on web advertising, and 68 percent of advertisers will look to search engine marketing.

But if the lure of the 30-second spot is diminishing, television is likely to remain an attractive advertising vehicle, with advertisers looking to find other ways to get their message across.

For instance advertisers said they intended to spend more of their advertising budgets on branded entertainment within TV programs (61 percent), TV program sponsorship (55 percent), interactive advertisements during TV programs (48 percent) and product placement (44 percent).

Some 45 percent also said they were looking at online video ads.

As the industry changes, advertisers believe the way TV is measured will also need to change. Some 97 percent of advertisers believe that reach and frequency will not be enough. Effective measurement of TV advertising will require new audience metrics to report commercial ratings, not just program ratings.

However while this survey may not paint a rosy picture for the TV industry, many expect the TV industry to be pushing to innovate in such a way that TV remains a large part of the marketing mix.

“As new and traditional media alternatives compete more aggressively for a share of the media pie, and marketers look to improve consumer targeting, reduce costs and enhance accountability, television is aggressively responding," writes Bob Liodice, president and CEO of the ANA, in a release.

“With technology-based advances in addressability, enhanced television options, internet convergence (IPTV), and branded entertainment opportunities, television is likely to continue as the dominant part of the marketing mix."

More buyers are looking to pay only for ads

Each year going into the upfront TV ad selling season, buyers and sellers jockey for dominance in negotiations by arguing for whatever market condition or new wrinkle in ratings or audience measurement will give them an upper hand.

This year it's all about redefining rating points, and the argument is over time-shifted versus minute-by-minute ratings.

The networks led by embracing Nielsen Media Research’s new time-shifted ratings for digital video recorders, advancing the argument that advertisers should be paying an additional cost for audiences that record a show but watch it at a later time. Nielsen now provides data on programs recorded on DVRs and viewed up to seven days later, and this new data is raising network ratings.

Media buyers have responded with a big no, as in no way. They say they'll refuse to pay additionally for DVR audiences during upfront negotiations for next year's primetime shows.

For their part, buyers are favoring an entirely different notion, one that's a radical departure: paying only for the audience that actually watches commercials, based on new minute-by-minute ratings, not for those watching the programming airing between.

Nielsen began issuing minute-by-minute ratings in October, and the sense among buyers is that their eventual use will be raised during this upfront's negotiations but won't become a full-scale point of contention until next year.

That's in part because it will take some time to analyze all the new data and to reprogram agencies' computer systems. Too, there are as yet only relatively few subscribers.

When minute-by-minute ratings do become an issue, they stand to cost the networks plenty. Based on agencies’ initial analyses, these ratings are expected to result in commercial audiences that on average are 2 percent to 10 percent lower than program audiences and in some cases perhaps more than 25 percent lower.

Bruce Goerlich, executive vice president and director of strategic resources at ZenithOptimedia, explains succintly the two sides of the debate, time-shifted versus minute-by-minute.

"What the networks are saying is that television is changing and they should be credited for different venues and different times," says Goerlich.

"We want a scaleable metric that matches these changes in television. Minute-by-minute does that because what we’re looking at is people being exposed to our commercials wherever they are."

Tellingly, none of the broadcast networks have yet subscribed to minute-by-minute ratings. The only cable network to subscribe is the Weather Channel.

But several media buying agencies have signed on, and others are lining up to do so.

Starcom MediaVest Group began receiving minute-by-minute data in December for all its agencies, including Starcom, MediaVest, GM Planworks and Tapestry. And ZenithOptimedia and Saatchi signed on two weeks ago, according to Nielsen.

Lower ratings aren’t likely to be the networks’ only headache with minute-by-minute ratings.

Some agencies are expected to also negotiate prices based on where a commercial falls within a program, or within a commercial break. This is already done, but with the new data it will become dramatically fine-tuned.

John Spiropoulos, vice president and group research director at MediaVest, found in an initial analysis that viewers watch some commercial breaks far more than others.

"What we have learned, taking the Opening Ceremonies in the Olympics as an example, is that we can see where viewers are interested in the content of the program," he says. "What we saw is that people wanted to see the U.S. team enter the stadium. [For] the commercial that preceded that, there was limited tune out. After the U.S. team entered, [NBC] went back to commercials and viewing dropped off."

This type of finding will certainly be raised during upfront negotiations.

And they will take place, says Liz Janneman, senior vice president of cable advertising sales at the Weather Channel.

"At the end of the day an advertiser wants to make sure their commercials are being seen and then remembered," she says. "This data is now holding the community to a higher level of accountability. I think it’s the currency of the future."

DOD Women have much to be proud of.

Women throughout history would be proud of what today's community of DoD women has accomplished, a top DoD personnel official said here March 21. DoD employees are among the nation's finest visionaries, dream makers and community builders, which coincides with this year's Women's History Month theme, "Women: Builders of Communities and Dreams," Marilee Fitzgerald, principal director of the Office of the Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Civilian Personnel Policy, said during the DoD observance of Women's History Month at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial here.

"Your distinguished military careers and exceptional federal civilian service are an inspiration to men and women around the nation," she said. That's particularly true, Fitzgerald said, for those "who are making incalculable sacrifices to preserve freedom and the democratic principles that underpin a peaceful, productive and dignified society." She said the ceremony honored "the spirit of possibility and the hope set in motion by generations of women in their creation of communities and encouragement of dreams." "These women worked to ensure an independent nation; they planted the fields, taught the children, wrote the books, gave the speeches, and insisted on an end to inequality," she said. "And they demanded liberty, the right to organize, the right to vote, and the right to share equally in the pursuit of happiness. "These are the women who stepped forward when needed," she added. Fitzgerald said women of the past would be proud of women like retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Wilma Vaught, the driving force behind building the women's memorial. "Her vision to build this memorial will not only ensure that women are forever recognized as a critical and historic part of the woven tapestry of military service, but will also inspire others to dream and realize new possibilities for generations to come," Fitzgerald noted.

Women have come a long way in government since 1933, when then President Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- at the strong urging of his wife, Eleanor -- appointed the first female cabinet secretary, Frances Perkins, as secretary of labor. Perkins was the champion for the national women's rights cause "Equal Pay for Equal Work," Fitzgerald noted. Fitzgerald said the hopes and dreams of women in DoD are realized every day by the contributions of more than 220,000 women serving in civilian positions. This number represents more than a third of the total DoD workforce and more than 200,000 women serving on active duty. "The great news in these numbers is that women are given the opportunity to achieve their dreams - and they are achieving 'firsts' in many areas," Fitzgerald said. DoD women serve in a remarkable array of positions -- teachers, firefighters, human resource specialists, air traffic controllers, tugboat captains, information technology specialists, scientists, engineers, prison guards, weapons system designers, and secretaries such as deputy undersecretaries, Fitzgerald said. For instance, Fitzgerald said, they include women like Patricia Bradshaw, undersecretary of defense for civilian personnel policy, who presides over the personnel practices and policies for more than 700,000 DoD civilians.

They also include women like Tina Jonas, undersecretary of defense (comptroller) and chief financial officer, who oversees DoD financial management activities including a budget of more than $400 billion dollars. Fitzgerald also pointed to Sheila Widnall's appointment as secretary of the Air Force in 1993, which made her the first woman to serve as an armed forces secretary. In 1998, Lillian Fishburne became the first African-American woman to put on the Navy star to become a rear admiral.

In June 2005, Sgt. Ashley Pashley, of the Army Reserve's 40th Civil Affairs Battalion, was one of five soldiers awarded the first Combat Action Badge for her action during Operation Iraqi Freedom. "Last month, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld appointed Leslye A. Arsht as the deputy undersecretary of defense for military community and family policy," Fitzgerald noted. "Leslye is one of the first DoD civilian woman to have served as part of the Iraq reconstruction effort. She was the senior advisor to Iraq 's Ministry of Education. In June 2005, Ms. Arsht was chosen to receive the Good Housekeeping Award for Women in the Government." Noting that the percentage of woman serving in non- traditional occupations since 1995 has increased, Fitzgerald said, "In 2005, the ratio of female scientists has proportionally grown by about 20 percent and the ratio of engineers by about 45 percent since 1995." The percentage of women in grades GS-13 through senior executive service increased from 18.9 percent in 1995 to 28.1 percent in 2005. The ranks of the women in the SES positions grew by 62 percent since 1995, and women now hold 20 percent of DoD SES positions, Fitzgerald said.

"These achievements are possible because as a community we are better educated," Fitzgerald noted. "DoD civilian women have demonstrated an increase in the percentage of those holding bachelor's degrees or higher from 23 percent in 1995 to 32 percent in 2005, with 62 percent more women possessing masters degrees or above in 2005." However, Fitzgerald said, even though those numbers are encouraging and women's accomplishments in DoD are beacons for others to follow, there's much work to be done. "Women are underrepresented in science, technology, mathematics and engineering fields," she noted. "This challenge is exacerbated by the national shortage of women studying these disciplines at the university level and making careers in related fields."

And women still are underrepresented in DoD's senior executive service. Rumsfeld has asked his leadership team to "get more energy" into increasing the representation of women and minorities in general and flag officer positions and in senior executive service positions, Fitzgerald said. "Today," she told the audience, "we celebrate and give thanks for the community of DoD women who have and are forging paths and accomplished firsts for those of us in this room and for our daughters to come. We must be mindful that as a community of DoD women we are but one part of a greater whole necessary to accomplish the DoD mission. We're part of the total force, which is comprised of men and women in the military and civilian work force."

Kia Rio

When the Kia Rio first went on-sale in August 2000, it arrived under the premise that low-cost cars did not have to be dull. Reliable and affordable, the subcompact sedan spent much of its first four years as the lowest priced new vehicle in the U.S. and was the company’s best-selling nameplate in 2001, helping Kia grow in the U.S. market.


Now, the all-new 2006 Rio sedan and Rio5 five-door are raising the bar in the entry level segment by offering class-leading horsepower and interior volume, and six standard airbags, including full-length side-curtain airbags. New from the ground up, the Rio and Rio5’s longer wheelbase and increased width and height contribute to a best-in-class 92.2 cubic feet of passenger room and both body styles feature a long list of standard equipment that are sure to increase their appeal in the U.S. market.


In fact, the all-new Rio was named “Most Improved New Vehicle for 2006” by the editors of the respected automotive web site www.Autobytel.com.


Building on the success of the Spectra compact sedan and Spectra5 five-door, the 2006 Rio and Rio5 are the company’s latest vehicles designed specifically to attract a broader spectrum of American consumers to the Kia brand. In the past three years, Kia has aggressively expanded its product offerings to include new products such as the second-generation Sportage compact SUV, the Sorento mid-size SUV, the Sedona minivan and the Amanti large premium sedan.


The all-new Rio is available in three variations: Base and LX four-door sedan models as well as the Rio5 SX five-door.


Embodying Kia’s brand identity of “exciting and enabling,” the all-new Rio and Rio5’s European-influenced exterior design radiates a sporty and youthful personality through their bold look and dynamic profile.


Built on a new platform with a longer wheelbase (98.4-in.) and increased overall width (66.7-in.) and height (57.9-in.) compared to its predecessor and most of its competitors, the new Rio offers a spacious interior package.


With a total interior volume of 92.2 cubic feet, the all-new Rio and Rio5 have the roomiest cabins in their segment, and more interior space than the larger Honda Civic or Toyota Corolla.

The Rio sedan’s trunk capacity is significantly larger than ever before. At 11.9 cubic feet, the trunk volume represents a 29-percent improvement.

The Rio5’s 15.8 cubic feet of cargo space is larger than that of its two primary competitors, the Chevrolet Aveo five-door and the Scion xA.

Inside, all Rio models feature significant improvements in interior material quality and fit-and-finish, with a standard full cloth interior that incorporates a sporty-looking mesh fabric and an eight-way adjustable driver’s seat with a fold-down armrest for maximum comfort.


In addition to the user-friendly ergonomics of the interior, there are also several thoughtful touches throughout the cabin, including numerous storage areas for cell phones and PDAs, a slot in the center stack for parking passes or toll tickets, dual 12v power outlets and a convenient shopping bag hook on the back of the front passenger seat.


Following in the footsteps of recently introduced new vehicles from Kia, the all-new Rio and Rio5 are the latest realization of the company’s efforts to offer an unprecedented level of standard safety equipment in all of its vehicles.


The all-new Rio and Rio5 are equipped with six standard air bags, including dual advanced front air bags, front seat-mounted side air bags, and full-length side curtain air bags. Sensors controlling the front supplemental restraints determine the position of the seat, whether the seat belt is buckled, whether the front passenger seat is occupied, and the severity of a frontal impact before deployment.

The Rio four-door sedan replaces the Kia Spectra as the lowest priced car in the U.S. to offer full-length side curtain airbags as standard equipment.

The 2006 Rio and Rio5 are equipped with standard front-wheel disc brakes. Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with four-wheel disc brakes are available as optional equipment for the Rio LX and Rio5 SX models.

The 2006 Rio and Rio5 offer more horsepower and torque and a significant increase in fuel efficiency from the previous generation Rio. In fact, the new Rio and Rio5 offer more standard horsepower than any vehicle in the subcompact category.


A new 1.6-liter DOHC engine incorporates Continuously Variable Valve Timing (CVVT) to produce 110-horsepower and 107 lb.-ft. of torque. In addition to being more powerful, this new engine delivers 20-percent better fuel economy, including up to 38 mpg on the highway. As a result, the maximum range for the Rio jumps from less than 370 miles to more than 450 miles – an increase of almost 22-percent.


Fuel economy ratings are 32 mpg city/35 mpg highway with the manual transmission and 29 mpg city/38 mpg highway with the A/T.


One of the contributing factors in the Rio’s improvement in fuel economy is the vehicle’s lighter weight. Thanks to careful engineering, the new Rio is larger and more powerful but weighs less than its predecessor. Besides improved fuel economy, this weight reduction aids acceleration, braking and handling.


Rio’s new engine can be mated to either a five-speed manual with improved shift linkage for a firmer feel, or an optional electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with improved shift quality (available for Rio LX and Rio5 SX).

All Rio and Rio5 models feature improved braking performance with standard power-assisted vented front-wheel disc brakes that are more than one-inch larger than those on the previous generation vehicle. Four-wheel disc brakes are available as an option with ABS on the Rio LX and Rio5 SX, the first time rear disc brakes have been offered for Rio.


The 2006 Rio and Rio5 feature an independent front suspension and semi-independent rear suspension for responsive, athletic handling and long-travel ride comfort. Using MacPherson struts with gas shocks and coil springs in the front, and a torsion beam axle with coil springs in the rear, Rio’s suspension was carefully tuned to be fun-to-drive while offering maximum comfort.


A front stabilizer bar is standard on all Rio models , and a precise rack-and-pinion steering system, equipped with engine-speed-sensitive power assist* aids in handling. With its wider track and improved suspension and steering systems providing better handling characteristics and improved performance, the new Rio’s longer wheelbase helped designers carve out more space for rear seat passengers while enhancing ride comfort.


The Base 4-door sedan is equipped with 14-inch steel wheels and 175/70R14 tires, while the LX sedan features 14-inch wheels with full wheel covers and larger 185/65R14 tires. The Rio5 SX is equipped with 15-inch alloy wheels with 195/55R15 tires.


The four-door Rio sedan is available in two trim levels: Base and LX.


Although the interior design is focused on functionality and versatility,

March 23, 2006

Womens Tennis news



Written by Joyce L Chow & William Hoehne March 23 2006


www.montebubbles.com for more MBN news


MONTEBUBBLISM: In life you get the education you work for.

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Defense Department issuing new instructions to military commissions


CBS has reached a agreement with Verizon

Computer security requirements—year after year Washington performs consistently poorly.

The web often provides better information than newspapers

NSCA EXPO Final News

U.S. apparel sales reached $181 billion in 2005

Group One Ltd., has announced new additions to it team of manufacturer’s representatives

Comcast trying to purchase “E”

Womens Tennis news

NSCA Expo Announces 2006 Innovations In Technology
Product Award Winners


DoD Identifies Army Casualty

DoD Identifies Army Casualty The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. Pfc. Amy A. Duerksen, 19, of Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., died in Baghdad, Iraq, on March 11, from a non-combat related injury. Duerksen was assigned to the 4th Combat Support Battalion, 1st Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

The Defense Department issuing new instructions to military commissions

The Defense Department is considering issuing new instructions to military commissions that specifically prohibit the admission of evidence that's been obtained by torture, a senior DoD official told reporters here today. "This has been one area where there has been some concern raised, and so the department is taking a look at it and may issue a separate instruction on it," DoD spokesman Bryan Whitman told Pentagon reporters.

President Bush has been clear that the United States does not condone torture, Whitman said. "The Department of Defense, of course, abides by that admonition," Whitman said, "and had believed that a specific commission rule was unnecessary and would erroneously suggest that torture had actually occurred." Military commission prosecutors involved in detainee trials have said they'd not introduce evidence that was obtained by torture. Ten detainee-related cases have been referred for trial by military commissions.

And, "should prosecutors find credible evidence of torture in their development of future commission cases, the prosecution has stated that such evidence would not be offered at trial," Whitman said. The subject DoD instructions haven't been issued, Whitman pointed out. He said discussions on the topic are ongoing within the Pentagon. A recent Wall Street Journal article that reported the instructions had been approved isn't correct, Whitman said, due to inaccurate information DoD had mistakenly provided at the time. Whitman referred reporters to the department's military commission Web site, where DoD has issued previous instructions to military commissions since they were authorized under presidential authority after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States. Related Site:


Las Vegas is a town that’s all about numbers, whether they’re being tallied by an oddsmaker or spinning on a roulette wheel. With the NSCA Systems Integration Expo, numbers play just as large a part, but fortunately, there’s no win-lose scenario involved. With a show floor filled with integrators and contractors, it’s clear the show was a great success, as thousands of attendees all searched for new solutions—and the numbers only got better from there. For instance, NSCA anticipates that when all is said and done, the count will reach more than 11,000 attendees who walked the show floor during Expo and viewed the latest technology from over 500 exhibitors.

CBS has reached a agreement with Verizon

CBS has reached a agreement for the right to carry its television stations on Verizon's fledgling home TV service, an agreement that CBS hopes will put pressure on cable operators to pony up for its programming.

CBS has reached a agreement for the right to carry its television stations on Verizon's fledgling home TV service, an agreement that CBS hopes will put pressure on cable operators to pony up for its programming.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but people familiar with the agreement say Verizon will pay CBS about 50 cents per subscriber, on par with what cable operators pay for cable channels such as USA and Nickelodeon.

"With each subscriber that Verizon" adds, "CBS will directly benefit," CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves said in a statement.

Verizon spokesman Eric Rabe wouldn't confirm that the company is paying fees. "Value flows both directions," he said.

Securing payment for the right to carry CBS programs has been a priority for Mr. Moonves since his company split from #Viacom Inc. in January. Although cable operators pay a per-subscriber fee to the most important cable channels, they have been reluctant to pay to carry broadcast stations because those stations are delivered free of charge over the airwaves.

Companies such as Viacom and #Walt Disney Co. have largely agreed to provide their broadcast signals free to cable operators in exchange for accommodating extra cable channels operated by corporate siblings. Now as a standalone company, CBS wants to end the practice. Mr. Moonves recently told analysts that subscriber fees could pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the company. Marketers are shifting more ad dollars from TV to the Internet so CBS sees subscriber fees as important to revenue growth.

CBS's strategy is to capitalize on the increasingly brutal competition between cable operators and telecommunications companies to deliver TV to people's homes. To compete with cable companies treading on their turf by offering phone service, Verizon and At&T Corp. are building networks to deliver TV to homes. CBS is also in talks with AT&T.

So far, Verizon's new television service, called Fios TV, only reaches a small segment of the country -- about 1.3 million people in parts of seven states -- and the company needs TV content to keep growing. CBS-owned stations are particularly important for Verizon because many are in regions where Verizon is rolling out its television service.

"Verizon is stuck," said Josh Bernoff, a media analyst at Forrester Research. "They need content, and they don't have much of a negotiating position."

Analysts question how much leverage such deals will give CBS when agreements with cable companies start to expire next year. "It remains unclear to us that stations will be able to bring sufficient leverage to bear" on larger cable operators such as #ComcastCorp., said Jessica Reif Cohen, a Merrill Lynch media analyst.

The deal doesn't give Verizon the right to carry the CBS network over the entire country. Rather, Verizon can only carry CBS's 18 owned and operated stations, which reach about 35% of the U.S.


The web often provides better information than newspapers

The web often provides better information than newspapers,Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger admitted on Thursday in a speech to the Royal Society of Arts in London.

In his speech, which was blogged in detail byMBites.com, Mr Rusbridger outlined how newspapers are being increasingly challenged by innovative web start-ups that are contributing to declining newspaper readership and the loss of classified advertising revenue.

"We have reached a point where the newspaper is in the middle of a fragmented world of interest groups aligned around zones of politics and passions and geography," he said.

Readers are now self-selecting he said, and will pick out the in-depth information they want while ignoring the rest.

"They are not wrong, these people. The internet now does a lot of information on all sorts of subjects better than newspapers.

"I shouldn't be saying this live to the world outside - I should be keeping this a secret. But a lot of people have twigged to this."

Mr Rusbridger referred to a meeting with 25-year-old web users compiling specialised, aggregated services likeDigg,Flickr, Myspace and Tribe. As well as editorial content, some new sites such as Edgeio are now 'scraping; adverts from websites and aggregating them in one place.

Craigslist the San Francisco-based classifieds site, is fast becoming the nemesis of the newspaper industry.

The small ads site has become the subject of intense focus from newspaper businesses concerned that its free advertising model is threatening their traditional advertising base.

He contrasted the "utopian" Craigslist site, which employs 19 people in a modest office, with the corporate baggage of the New York Times (NYT).

"Craig has a shack and these NYT people are terrified, and that goes for the whole of the American print industry," he said.

"The New York Times is about to move into a massive new headquarters, and employs around 10,000 people."

Mr Rusbridger described Craigslist as "a utopian exercise; we think he's making $10 million a year and he's not going to sell. He's just interested in creating a space that's free to both sides."

He also said that despite Craigslist's objective of retaining an independent ethos by not relying on advertising revenue, historically that revenue had granted newspapers their independence from politicians or patrons.

"I will never lose sight of the role of newspapers and their role," said Mr Rusbridger.

"In some ways it's the most exciting time to be in newspapers. There's a revolution as big as Gutenberg and Caxton going on, but in many ways it's also frightening."

During the speech, Mr Rusbridger compared the Guardian's new Comment is free project, which is free to access, with the NYT's decision to put its comment behind a payment barrier, saying the US newspaper was creating a gap between older readers and a younger audience that would not pay for online opinion.

He estimated that the NYT makes around $10 million from its paid-subscription service: "Great, but it's not going to pay the gas bill on their huge new building."

Mr Rusbridger also said that by "pretending that the internet doesn't exist

Lots of opportunities presented themselves for attendees of the 2006 NSCA Expo. Opportunities to expand one's knowledge base through the classes and sessions offered at the Expo. Opportunities to learn about the latest tools and technology for the various aspects of the systems integration market via the exhibits and the Technology Pavilions, and opportunities to do some networking of the human kind by way of the many events that happened at the Expo. All are important in order to keep pace in the competitive atmosphere of the systems integration industry.

NSCA EXPO Final News

Sound & Video Contractor video technology editor Trevor Boyer attended the NSCA press conference on the opening day. Here are some of his notes from the NSCA Blog:

NSCA executive director Chuck Wilson gave a briefing to the press on the organization's message for this year's Expo.

Some of the numbers he dropped:

450 exhibitors 1000+ new product launches Over 325 "learning units" - and 400+ hours of industry education 15 hands-on audio demo rooms (good photo ops there - note to self) 3 behind the scenes tech tours - including one on the Las Vegas Monorail

In addition:
Average buyer at NSCA spends about $2.6 million on equipment every year. "Not a lot of end users on the show floor." 92% of attendees have strong buying influence at their companies. 11,000 expected attendees. Education program attendance up 15% this year.

Wilson also announced the launch of NSCA University Colleges. Classes are focused on achieving certification. In each university component, students get a certification of completion.

Computer security requirements—year after year Washington performs consistently poorly.


If consistency were the goal, the federal government would score high in complying with computer security requirements—year after year Washington performs consistently poorly.

On the 2005 report card issued March 16, the government earned a D+, with agencies responsible for keeping the nation safe receiving some of the lowest grades: The Department of Homeland Security earned an F, the Department of Defense an F, and the Department of Justice a D.

"The agencies on the front line in the war on terror remained unacceptably low or dropped precipitously," said Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform, which reviewed the grades sent to Congress.

The ratings are meant to show how well agencies meet the mandates of the Federal Information Security Management Act, which sets forth security standards as well as operational and reporting requirements.

Eight agencies failed the FISMA test in 2005, including the departments of Agriculture, Energy, State, Transportation and Veterans Affairs, but committee members took the information officers of DOD and DHS, in particular, to task for failing to show significant improvements over the last year.

"What's happening with the two most strategic and sensitive agencies? Is it incompetence? Is it cronyism?" said Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif.

"I don't feel comfortable that my homeland is secure. What are you securing?"

Areas of greatest concern to policymakers include inconsistent incident reporting, inconsistent contingency plan testing, lack of specialized security training and lack of configuration management policies, Davis said.

Despite the government's overall poor rating, some agencies showed improvement.

Five agencies, including the Department of Labor, Environmental Protection Agency and Social Security Administration, received an A+.

The National Science Foundation earned an A, up from a C+, and the General Services Administration earned an A-, up from a C+.

Tom Hughes, chief information officer at SSA, said that his agency's success results from an agencywide approach to data security and accountability among the top executives.


Click here to read more about the government's claims of progress in its security efforts.

The larger agencies face more complicated security challenges because they are often composed of semi-autonomous bureaus with separate missions, funding and technologies, and vulnerabilities in one bureau can affect other parts of the department, said Gregory Wilshusen, director of Information Security Issues at the Government Accountability Office.

"It's going to require that agency top management and the management of the different bureaus be held accountable," Wilshusen said.

Industry observers widely agree that only greater accountability and commitment at the top will lead to improvement in the future.

"In the commercial world, people get fined or go to jail when they don't comply. The Feds don't seem to have the same motivation," said Chris Farrow, director for the Center for Policy and Compliance at Configuresoft, adding that many agencies are not lacking in funding or tools.

"Homeland Defense has the largest budget out there. They got an F last year, and this year they failed again."

There's some concern that many of the agencies are focused on "studying for the test" rather than on long-term, sustainable security.

"The question is, what does a B really mean? Does it mean that someone just knows how to take the test now?" said Richard Tracy, CTO of Telos, which sells automated certification and accreditation tools.

"It's not just about checking the box."

In the realm of certification and accreditation of networking systems, some agencies have invested heavily in labor to improve their grades, said Tracy.

At any given agency there are hundreds of systems affected by FISMA's C&A requirements, Tracy said.

Detailed information about IT assets must be collected, evaluated for a variety of security requirements and assessed for risks, and automated tools could reduce costs by as much as 70 percent, he said.

"The next question will be how do we sustain this compliance? The answer will be automation," he said. "It has to be. There's no other way around it."

U.S. apparel sales reached $181 billion in 2005

According to The NPD Group, total U.S. apparel sales reached $181 billion in 2005, a 4 percent increase over 2004.Strong sales in t-shirts, jeans, tailored clothing and pajamas helped fuel the growth.

Men's apparel led the industry's growth with an increase of five percent, reaching nearly $53 billion in 2005. Sales in women's apparel also grew, reaching $101 billion; a three percent increase from 2004. Children's apparel sales grew two percent, to $27 billion.

"The surge in men's apparel sales came from some of the most unexpected places, such as young men buying a suit. Teens and young adult men have finally 'discovered the suit.' When exploring that further, NPD found that young men never owned a suit, never wore a suit and never saw their father in a suit - yet, they have migrated towards dressing up to be 'cool.'" Said NPD chief industry analyst, Marshal Cohen. Combined sales of suits, suit separates and sportscoats/jackets grew 53 percent among men ages 18-24.

Women spent $2.6 billion on hats and scarves, driving an 11 percent increase in the category. It was also a strong year for women's intimate apparel, the $9.6 billion industry expanded by nearly 4 percent in 2005.

In 2005, women's jeans were $7.6 billion, up nearly 10 percent in sales. Women's premium jeans (jeans priced over $100) accounted for 18 percent of denim sales in U.S. department stores, up from 12 percent in 2004.

"Last year was a clear indication of where the consumer is heading for 2006. Today's consumer enjoys splurging on higher-end products now and then, but their quest for value still remains," said Cohen.

Group One Ltd., has announced new additions to it team of manufacturer’s representatives

Group One Ltd., the leading U.S distributor of professional audio and lighting products, has announced new additions to it team of manufacturer’s representatives. Jack Kelly, Group One Ltd. President, remarked that the new appointments position Group One for ongoing expansion, while assisting the company to provide the highest level of service and support for the distinguished brands it represents.

Hudson Marketing is now responsible for the territory of Upstate New York as well as the New York Metro area, and Michael Chafee Associates has been appointed as the Florida representative for the XTA and MC2 product lines. Warman Marketing’s coverage area for XTA products has been expanded to include Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada, in addition to Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas. The Mac West Group will now represent XTA and MC2 in Southern California.

Jack Kelly notes, “We selected these rep firms based on their qualifications and commitment to help increase our presence in all market sectors. Their enthusiastic dedication to serving the pro audio community is evidenced by solid results as well as reputation. I look forward to working with these new reps as we respond to the demand that has accompanied recent product launches and advance our goals for continued growth.”


Group One Ltd. of Farmingdale, New York is the exclusive U.S. distributor for Blue Sky International, Celestion Professional Products, MC2 Audio Ltd. and XTA Electronics, as well as a number of prominent lighting products.

For more information on Group One Ltd, please contact Sue Adamson, Group One Ltd.,
70 Sea Lane, Farmingdale, NY 11735. Tel: (516) 249-1399; Fax: (516) 753-1020;
suea@g1limited.com; Web: www.g1limited.com

Comcast trying to purchase “E”

Comcast is reportedly working towards acquiring the 40 percent of E! Entertainment Television that it does not already control from Disney, a move that’s drawing mixed reviews from Wall Street.

In a research note issued Tuesday, Bernstein Research analyst Craig Moffet warned that a deal would not be welcomed by Comcast investors “as they would prefer Comcast to focus on its core cable business rather than buy content assets.”

UBS analyst Aryeh Bourkoff suggested that the deal shouldn’t have any negative implications for Comcast, as “the company’s ongoing share buyback should provide support for the stock.”

Analysts estimate that Disney’s stake in E! is worth around $1 billion, putting its total valuation in the neighborhood of $2.5 billion to $3 billion.

Comcast bought control of E! Time Warner in 1997, bringing in Disney as a minority partner. Under terms of that deal, Disney has the right to buy out Comcast should the MSO decline to assume full control of the property, which includes the flagship entertainment channel and Style Network.

Neither Comcast nor Disney elected to comment on the matter.


ADI Partners with XM Satellite Radio to

Deliver Digital Music to Commercial Businesses

Agreement Expands ADI’s Offerings for the Commercial Installation Market;

Helps Introduce America's Most Popular Satellite Radio Service to Businesses

Commercial businesses now have access to a newly designed line of digital music and audio equipment as a result of an agreement between ADI, a low-voltage product distributor, and XM Satellite, the nation’s leading satellite radio provider.

The new relationship will enable commercial dealers to offer digital music services to small and mid-size businesses, such as professional, hospitality and retail establishments, and deliver XM’s signature satellite radio service. XM offers more than 160 channels, including 69 commercial-free music channels and news, sports, talk and entertainment programming.

“XM's position in satellite radio is rapidly growing,” said R.J. Hirshkind, product manager for Commercial and Residential A/V at ADI. “XM innovations create new and immediate opportunities for us to approach a new section of the media market and expand our services to existing business customers.”

XM for Business will offer the digital music content, while ADI will provide accessories for commercial satellite installations from Pixel Technologies, as well as audio equipment from Crown Audio and Antex Electronics specifically designed to support XM for Business customers. These products and accessories are the first in a broad line of products designed to enhance the XM Satellite Radio listening experience.

Additionally, ADI will recruit commercial dealers, stock and supply the audio equipment and train the dealers to install and offer technical support.

“ADI’s national network of locations and dealers, strong vendor relationships and commitment to service made it the clear choice for us,” said Dan Turak, general manager of distribution at XM. “Our combined expertise and experience will enable us to compete in the growing digital market and deliver the highest quality of service.”

About ADI

ADI is one of North America’s largest wholesale distributors of security and low voltage products, with over 105 branch locations in the United States and Canada. ADI’s product lines include intrusion, fire alarm, access control, CCTV, telephony, residential and commercial A/V, wire and structured cabling, and tools and hardware. For more information about ADI, visit www.adilink.com

About XM Satellite Radio

XM (NASDAQ: XMSR) is America's number one satellite radio company with more than 6 million subscribers. Broadcasting live daily from studios in Washington, DC, New York City, the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Toronto and Montreal, XM's 2006 lineup includes 160 digital channels of choice from coast to coast: the most commercial-free music, premier sports, talk, comedy, children's and entertainment programming; and the most advanced traffic and weather information.

XM, the leader in satellite-delivered entertainment and data services for the automobile market through partnerships with General Motors, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, Porsche, Suzuki, Subaru, and Volkswagen/Audi, is available in more than 130 different vehicle models for 2006. XM's industry-leading products are available at consumer electronics retailers nationwide. For more information about XM hardware, programming and partnerships, please visit http://www.xmradio.com.

Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements in this press release include demand for XM Satellite Radio's service, the Company's dependence on technology and third party vendors, its potential need for additional financing, as well as other risks described in XM Satellite Radio Holdings Inc.'s Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on 11-7-05. Copies of the filing are available upon request from XM Radio's Investor Relations Department.

Womens Tennis news

Women's tennis will embrace a new technological era by introducing mid-match television interviews, instant TV replays to decide line calls and enhanced microphones at this week's Miami event.

The changes, which have the players' support, mean the likes of Amelie Mauresmo and Maria Sharapova will conduct television interviews moments before stepping on court and their coaches will share their thoughts with viewers during matches.

Instant replays are also being used to decide close line-calls for the first time on the professional tour in the dual men's and women's event in Miami.

WTA Tour chief executive Larry Scott said the innovations heralded a new era for the traditionally conservative sport. "The changes we're announcing today represent a significant cultural shift," Scott told Reuters by telephone. "The ball is starting to roll on these things.

"Tennis is a sport with a lot of heritage and traditions and protocols. I think tennis has probably relied on those traditions too much and we haven't pushed the envelope the way other sports have to utilize technology and to look at making changes to our rules.

"Reality TV is a reality. People expect more 'behind the scenes', more 'in your face', more different insights into what they are watching. This is the way society is changing and we're determined to make sure our sport keeps up with the times."

In addition to the player and coach interviews, enhanced microphones will be placed on court and on the umpire's chair.

Dee Dutta, marketing head of WTA Tour sponsors Sony Ericsson, said players would also be miked up during practice matches, though not during tournament play.

Scott said the WTA had drafted in Hollywood expertise to help the players understand what TV viewers expected.

"(On Monday) here in Miami we had a session with a Hollywood director about what's happening in the entertainment and media worlds, to try to have the players understand what the consumer at home wants," he said.

"It was very warmly received. Having the players be open not only to these first steps but where it may be leading is critical if this access is to be good access.

"We're trying to tell more of a story to the viewers, trying to give greater insights into the players personalities, what's going on in their heads before and around matches."

NSCA Expo Announces 2006 Innovations In Technology
Product Award Winners

NSCA Expo 2006 produced some of the most outstanding new product releases of the year. This year's award winners represent some of the finest as recognized by Expo attendees.

March 22, 2006 – Cedar Rapids, IA – Winners of the 2006 Innovations in Technology Product Awards were announced at NSCA's annual President's Reception during Expo. Spanning seven product categories, three finalists for each were chosen out of more than 100 entries by an independent voting committee. Attendees of the 2006 NSCA Expo then cast their votes for one winning company per category. In its fourth year, Sound and Video Contractor magazine sponsored the program.

“The products submitted for entry in this year's Innovations in Technology Product Awards showed us some of the greatest technology in this industry to date. It is an honor to be able to recognize the accomplishments of our manufacturers through this awards program at Expo,” stated Chuck Wilson, NSCA Executive Director.

Sound and Video Contractor magazine editor, Mark Johnson noted, “In its fourth year, the Innovations in Technology Product Awards program has become an increasingly popular way to encourage innovations among all industry professionals. For manufacturers and integrators alike, this kind of recognition appears to be an important indicator in our industry.”

The 2006 winners are: in the audio category, Shure Incorporated, UHF-R Wireless System; in the business productivity category, Crestron, SystemBuilder 2.0; in the control systems category, AMX, Mio Modero DMS Pinnacle; in the convergence category, Extron, MGP 464 Four-window Multi-graphic Processor; in the security/fire/life safety category, TOA, N-8000 Series IP Network Intercom Systems; in the video/display category, Avocent, Emerge Wireless Media Streamer; and in the website category, Extron, www.extron.com .

Products in the Innovations in Technology Awards are judged against a standard of excellence and the impact each has on the advancement of the electronic systems industry. Now in its fourth year, the program is sponsored by Sound & Video Contractor magazine. Other 2006 finalists were: within the audio category: Yamaha's M7CL Digital Mixing Console, and FiberPlex's Light Viper VIS-4832 Digital Snake Head. Within the business productivity category: SMART's Bridgit 3.0 Conferencing Software, and D-Tools' System Integrator 4.5. Within the control systems category: Contemporary Research's iC-Web Display Manager, and Cabletime's MediaStar Evolution. Within the convergence category: Middle Atlantic's PDLT Rack Light, and Com-Net's Digital Paging. Within the security/fire/life safety category: Belden's Safe-T-Line Cables, and Gentex's Emergency Notification Appliances. Within the video/display category: SMART's Actalyst Interactive Digital Signage, and Sony's PCS-TL30 Video Conferencing System. Within the website category: Crestron for www.crestron.com , and Intelix for www.AVoverCat5.com .

NSCA Expo 2006 was held at the Las Vegas Convention Center , March 16 – 18, with pre-Expo education March 14 – 18. Over 500 exhibitors demonstrated their products and services to more than 11,000 attendees. More information and a full listing of exhibitors, special events, courses and schedules may be found on the Expo website at nscaexpo.org, or call 1.800.446.NSCA.

About NSCA

NSCA is the leading not-for-profit association representing the commercial electronic systems industry. With a slate of more than 2,500 member companies worldwide, the National Systems Contractors Association is a powerful advocate of all who work within the low-voltage industry, including systems contractors/integrators, product manufacturers, consultants, sales representatives, architects, specifying engineers and other allied professionals.


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