Seven things for PR pros to know Tuesday morning, 11.4.2014

Election Day previewed; Levy on PR effects of Sapient deal; Verizon, AT&T track users with "supercookies," Sprint plans major layoffs.

1. It’s Election Day. According to many media outlets covering the midterm races, the question isn’t whether the Republicans will have a big night but just how monumental it will be. In terms of the GOP’s chances of taking the Senate, CNN puts them at 95%, The New York Times at 70%, The Huffington Post at 79%, and Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight at 76%.

Here are election guides from The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, ABC News, USA Today, CNN, and BuzzFeed.

2. Will Publicis Groupe’s acquisition of Sapient affect its PR firms? Without a doubt, says Maurice Levy, CEO of the holding company. "PR has been profoundly changed by the emergence of new means of communications such as social networks and bloggers," he told PRWeek UK. "They give people the possibility of using their voice... even if it is just unnecessary noise, and this dramatically affects the job of PR agencies."

3. Mobile carriers Verizon and AT&T have used "supercookies" to track the Web-browsing activity of 100 million customers. Both companies say they have told users about the tracking, which can improve the accuracy of targeted advertising.

4. Rival mobile carrier Sprint is set to lay off as many as 2,000 employees as it tries to cut labor costs by about $400 million. The company said it lost more than 270,000 mobile subscribers in the third quarter, a higher number than was predicted by analysts.

5. Although General Motors began recalling cars with serious ignition-switch problems nine months ago, only half have been fixed. The automaker is intensifying outreach to customers who have not set up repair appointments through social media and call centers.

6. What we’re watching today: Alibaba Group’s earnings, the company’s first since going public. Expectations are very high.

Update: The Chinese e-commerce giant reported Q3 financial numbers in-line with analyst expectations, with revenue higher than expected.

7. Nearly 200 former National Football League players have opted out of a proposed settlement with the league over the effects of brain injuries. That’s a small percentage of the 20,000 ex-NFL players, but the list includes nine Hall of Famers. 

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