Parent company Tribune and the Los Angeles Times must be members of the cockeyed Optimists Club. How else to explain that, in their first public remarks since the Chandler family went to war against them, they claimed “trends” expected to boost revenue during the second half include additional advertising due to a larger number of movie releases (as well as new sales incentives by several major automakers). Sheesh, will these bozos never learn? Donald Grenesko, Tribune’s senior vice-president of finance and administration, predicted that movie ads — which have been slumping for several quarters — should be “more plentiful” in the second half of 2006 as film studios plan a bigger slate of releases. So New Line is suddenly gonna come running to the geriatric LA Times to hawk teen scream Snakes on a Plane and other film fare aimed at younger audiences? Yeah, when pigs fly. After all, weakness in entertainment advertising has been the bane of the LAT, which represents about a quarter of the Tribune Co.’s publishing revenue. For a while now, I’ve been tracking how all the Hollywood studios have cut their newspaper display advertising budgets, and especially their LAT display advertising budgets, to the bone. (See my most recent, Q1 2006 LA Times = Big Movie Ad Loser). Not even the Hollywood Reporter‘s veteran VP and associate publisher Lynne Segall can make up the difference now that she’s moving into the new LAT position of VP for entertainment advertising (i.e. movies, theater, music, media, culture, TV, home entertainment, and sports). Pity, she’s the new captain on the sinking deck of the Titanic.
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