Ad Pullback Affecting Once-Insulated National TV

11/13/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Sam Schechner and Suzanne Vranica Wall Street Journal

Economic anxiety may be seeping into some of the more insulated parts of the media world, including national advertising on U.S. cable- and broadcast-television networks.

In a bad sign for the media sector's third-quarter earnings, both Viacom Inc. and CBS Corp. cut their 2008 profit forecasts Friday, citing weakness in ad sales and the slowing economy.

The disclosures come as ad executives are seeing more cuts in already-soft ad spending, as a result of the upheaval in global financial markets. "We see reductions coming from all sectors," said Maurice Levy, chief executive of Publicis Groupe SA, one of the world's largest ad-holding companies.

Mr. Levy said advertisers are "not panicking," and are being "very measured" with their pullback, but he said that the cuts are "affecting most media."

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