Talk of the day
By Times Staff Writer
Published February 29, 2008
Harvard brains tackle MySpace safety issues
Leading Internet scholars at Harvard University will convene a yearlong task force to explore how children can avoid unwanted contact and content when using MySpace and other popular online hangouts. The Internet Safety Technical Task Force is the result of an agreement that MySpace, a unit of News Corp., reached with all state attorneys general except Texas' in January. Announced Thursday, it will be make up of leading Internet service companies and nonprofit groups, including those focused on children's safety. The fears about online predators come despite research, sponsored by the government-funded National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, showing fewer youths receiving sexual solicitations over the Internet as they become smarter about where they hang out and with whom they communicate.
Busch hops into the ring with UFC
Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. and Ultimate Fighting Championship unveiled an advertising alliance Thursday that marks a coming-of-age endorsement for a sport that Sen. John McCain once derided as "human cockfighting." The UFC is now a multimillion-dollar enterprise that broadcasts arena-filled events on pay-per-view and has deals with cable networks like Spike TV. UFC president Dana White said the Anheuser-Busch endorsement is a key step in the sport's migration into mainstream entertainment because of the brewer's reputation as a flagship sponsor for sports like boxing and NASCAR.
Disney returns to short-form roots
Eighty years after the seven-minute cartoon Steamboat Willie helped launch the career of a certain iconic mouse, Walt Disney Co. has returned to its short-form roots with the debut of a digital studio to develop original content for the Internet. Stage 9 Digital Media, in the works for two years, was unveiled Thursday with the premiere of Squeegees, a comedy series about window-washer slackers on ABC.com and YouTube. It is the first of a planned 20 online programs in development.
U.S. ban can't halt Cuban cigars' roll
Cuban cigar sales rose 7 percent to $402-million in 2007, the government-run tobacco company Habanos SA said Wednesday. Sales increased despite smoking bans that have made it harder to puff a cigar in many parts of the world, Habanos vice president Manuel Garcia said. Cuban cigars make up 80 percent of the world cigar market - not counting the United States, which has had a trade embargo banning Cuban products since 1962. Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Cuba's domestic market remained top consumers of Cuban cigars last year.
Victoria's Secret sales scanty, too
Victoria's Secret may sell lingerie that's "too sexy" for some of its customers, which is hampering sales, the company's chief executive officer said Thursday. "I really feel so strongly about us getting back to our heritage and really thinking in terms of ultrafeminine and not just the word sexy," Sharen Turney said. That would help its lingerie become "much more relevant to our customer," she said. Victoria's Secret will introduce new bras and pajamas to win sales from shoppers struggling with financial issues.