Virgin.net is holding a consumer PR pitch in preparation for its switch from internet service provider to entertainment and leisure website.
Karen Jones, Virgin.net press officer, would not be drawn on how many agencies the company was seeing. She confirmed the pitch was taking place, and said it was at an early stage, but they had already seen 'a couple' of agencies. She hopes the company will have made an appointment by the end of February.
However, other sources have suggested that three agencies - including Firefly and Carrot - have already been invited to pitch for the work, which is rumoured to be worth a six-figure fee.
The ISP has not had a PR agency since it used Larkspur Communications for its launch in 1996. The new agency will focus on positioning Virgin.net as an entertainment and leisure website.
It will have to overcome the fact that Virgin.net - currently the UK's number one leisure and destination site - will not attract the same amount of traffic when users don't have to log on to the net through that page.
Virgin and ntl have signed an agreement reportedly worth pounds 100m, splitting Virgin. net, a joint venture.
ntl gains Virgin.net's 560,000-plus subscribers in the deal, which is supposed to mean each company focuses on its strengths. Virgin.net is linked with the Virgin.com site, but unlike that site, it has links to other brands and vendors. Channels include travel, film, theatre and shopping.
PR at Virgin.net is currently handled by an in-house team of three. Jones reports to PR manager Kevin Caruth, who in turn reports to Jo Peat, marketing manager.