INTERNATIONAL: PlayStation2 is H&K's latest big name for US West Coast

SAN FRANCISCO: Sony has transferred the bulk of its PR business for

PlayStation2 from Fleishman-Hillard (F-H) to Hill & Knowlton (H&K).



F-H had handled Sony Computer Entertainment of America's (SCEA) PR

business for six years, long before the existence of a PlayStation

product.



SCEA director of PR Molly Smith said: 'It was time for new ideas, new

energy and new types of programmes.' F-H repitched unsuccessfully for

the business.



It is not yet clear how the account switch will affect Bragman Nyman

Cafarelli (BNC), the other main agency working on the PlayStation2

business.



Sony would not confirm whether the Los-Angeles-based entertainment firm

will continue its relationship with BNC.



BNC worked with F-H on the PlayStation2 launch event in Los Angeles,

which attracted numerous celebrities and garnered extensive media

coverage.



It had been working with Sony on entertainment outreach since before the

launch.



H&K's latest account will reportedly be headquartered out of its San

Francisco office, with support from Los Angeles.



The total value of the PlayStation business was not disclosed, but it is

widely believed to have been one of F-H's biggest West Coast

accounts.



For H&K - whose high-profile California clients include E-Trade, Compaq,

Mailboxes Etc. and Mazda - the win adds another big name to the

roster.



Sony announced last month global shipments of its PlayStation2 game

console had reached 10 million.



Shipments since the PS2 went on sale in March last year were triple

those of the original PlayStation during the same period after its

launch in 1994.



So far, over 4.4 million have been sold in Japan and more than 2.1

million in the US, with a worldwide total in excess of 8.1 million.



Sony said it was set to launch a hard-disk drive for the PlayStation2,

turning the console into a high-speed internet system.



The device is set to go on sale in Japan in July, although a release

date in Europe has not been announced.



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