Vast WWW market to be tapped by PR

LONDON: Competing Internet access providers NTL Internet and WebTV have appointed public relations agencies to launch mass-market Internet products in the UK.

LONDON: Competing Internet access providers NTL Internet and WebTV have appointed public relations agencies to launch mass-market Internet products in the UK.

NTL has hired Larkspur Communications while Web-TV has appointed Red Consultancy.

Both are charged with tapping into the unknown but potentially vast market, where consumers can use Internet facilities for services such as home shopping and e-mail, without the need for a home computer.

The companies have built thousands of set-top boxes which will allow access to service providers via the telephone or TV remote control.

The Red Consultancy was hired this week following a competitive pitch on an account that is believed to carry a six-figure fee.

WebTV is currently running consumer trials with 100 randomly chosen members of the public, designed to develop the technology. Its service partners include BT, Carlton TV and the BBC.

Larkspur's fees for the NTL account are believed to total $132,000.

The agency will mount a national trade and consumer campaign that will run alongside regional promotional activity.

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