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Karmazin rosy on ads
May 15, 2000: 7:28 p.m. ET

Viacom president sees media hubs benefiting from ad spending burst
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NEW YORK (CNNfn) - From startups to traditional brick and mortar firms, companies hungry to etch their brand on consumers psyche's are tossing bags of money at media networks, making rosy the outlook for the sector, Viacom president Mel Karmazin said Monday.

Looking specifically in the radio industry, Karmazin, formerly the leader of CBS, which this month merged with Viacom, forecast strength through much of this year and was optimistic about the future.

"Business is soaring," he said during a luncheon at a media conference hosted by Banc of America Securities. "(With radio) you should anticipate a good second quarter, a good third quarter and, I'm convinced, a good forever."

graphicCompanies of all sizes in recent months have focused on "branding." In an effort to attach their goods and services to recognizable names, logos and jingles, advertising has been the strategy of choice.

New companies - many Web-based firms backed by deep-pocketed investors or funds from initial public offerings - have jumped into the ad pool with old economy companies, who are fighting to retake the spotlight from those seemingly ubiquitous dot.coms.

"A lot of brick-and-mortar are out to bury the dot.coms," Karmazin said. "They think that they have allowed (the dot.coms) to get a head start, allowed them to get a lot of advertising."

Those more established companies are fighting back with their checkbooks, saying "There is no way one of these upstart companies is going to be able to take my position away," Karmazin said. "And they are going to be advertising accordingly."

Since the marriage of Viacom and CBS was announced late in 1999, Karmazin and Sumner Redstone, Viacom's (VIA: Research, Estimates) chairman and chief executive, have touted the new company's advertising muscle, which they say can provide ad buyers with markets and outlets that reach a broad swath of age and economic demographics.

The new Viacom's popular television segments include the CBS broadcast network, the MTV family of cable properties, and kid's channel Nickelodeon. The company also boasts the Paramount film studio, the radio broadcasting and outdoor advertising business Infinity Broadcasting, and several Internet sites.

"Whether you want radio, Internet, or cable, we can take your money, no matter what category you choose to spend it in," said Karmazin of potential advertisers. Back to top


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