money digest


Showbiz firms slide on Fortune

Entertainment industry biggies lost some ground on this year's Fortune 500, a list of the largest U.S. companies ranked by annual revenue. Time Warner Inc. dropped from No. 40 to No. 48 despite a 2006 revenue gain of 2.6%. The Walt Disney Co. ranks 64th, down a notch from last year, while News Corp. moved down two slots to No. 88. CBS Corp. ranks No. 165, down from No. 149, and radio giant Clear Channel Communications ranked No. 330, down from No. 252 last year. Viacom Inc. was the only entertainment giant in the Fortune 500 that gained ground, moving from No. 241 to No. 218.

Burbank marketing for AOL

Time Warner Inc.'s AOL unit on Wednesday named John Burbank to the newly created position of chief marketing officer, reporting to CEO Randy Falco. Burbank most recently was vp marketing at AT&T Inc. He will oversee the development of strategies to brand AOL's network of Internet properties. "John will help consumers better understand the unique products and programs we offer, and he will help ensure that AOL addresses the needs of our consumers and our advertising partners," Falco said.

Lighty, WMG team for branding

Warner Music Group and Chris Lighty, founder and CEO of artist management firm Violator Management, have formed a joint venture dubbed Brand Asset Group. Its goal is to increase revenue by "more aggressively managing artist brands from all genres and capitalize on the value of those brands through corporate sponsorships, strategic and integrated marketing campaigns and comprehensive brand extensions," WMG said. Lighty will serve as CEO of Brand Asset Group and develop product endorsement and other opportunities for Fortune 500 companies.