Andy Coulson, Howard Stern and Peter Howard-Williams

There’s a trio and one which would have amused former cinema ad boss Peter Howard-Williams who died earlier this week.

Andy Coulson, PM David Cameron’s director of communications, was in court this week to be questioned by former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan who is conducting his own defence in a perjury case.

Sheridan won libel damages from the News of the World in 2006, the paper was then edited by Coulson, over allegations that he committed adultery and joined parties at a sex club.

During the cross-examination (which is pretty entertaining in itself) Coulson completely denied that he had known about or approved phone hacking or a “culture of illegality” at the NoW.

As he was under oath we must assume he was telling the truth.

US shock jock Howard Stern is not about to join Apple’s iTunes as its first presenter/performer it would seem, instead signing a new contract with US broadcaster Sirius.

This is not really a surprise but a shame nevertheless. The prospect of the anarchic Stern receiving regular wiggings from control freak Apple boss Steve Jobs was enticing indeed.

Never mind, Jobs has merely put off the day when he has to deal with people not nerds and machines.

Now to Peter Howard-Williams who has died aged 63. Howard-Williams was Mr Cinema (advertising version) in the UK, heading both the big sales houses Rank Screen Advertising (latterly Carlton Screen Advertising) and Pearl & Dean.

Howard-Williams was a a larger than life salesman in an era of such big beasts and a good man. It was just a shame that his beloved cinema business, in particular P&D, was hobbled by the mad decisions of first his ultimate bosses and then his successors.

So you ended up with a booming cinema sector in the UK, dominated by two sales houses, which both made thumping losses because they insisted on signing stupid money guarantee contracts with the cinema owners who exploited this foolishness ruthlessly.

Peter blamed this on a small group of refugees from the newspaper and outdoor industries who were brought into cinema and he was right.

Market leader CSA was sold to its cinema owner clients for just £500,000 two years ago and the iconic Pearl & Dean was offloaded by a grateful Scottish Media Group for all of £1 earlier this year.

After his cinema adventures Peter helped to set up the successful digital TV sales house Media Icon, of which he was chairman, with TV sales execs Paul Bushell and Mike Gull.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

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