Channel 3 News, the consortium vying to take over the ITV news
contract from ITN, has drafted in agency help to support its bid.
Luther Pendragon, the agency set up by former ITN News at Ten programme
editor Charles Stewart-Smith, has won the account following a pitch
thought to have included Brunswick, APCO and Media Strategy.
Stewart-Smith leads a four-strong team, reporting to Channel 3 News
chairman and fellow consortium member Chrysalis chief executive Richard
The agency will run a full PR service, including a press office role,
financial PR and a public affairs programme.
'Channel 3 is an attractive prospect as the news provider for ITV
because it has a single focus, whereas ITN has the ITV contract as one
of a number of areas it is involved in,' said Stewart-Smith.
'It does give me something of an edge because I know a lot about ITN,'
The Channel 3 consortium is made up of Bloomberg, Sky, CBS News,
Chrysalis and Ulster TV. The bid was announced earlier this year as the
first competition to ITN's ITV contract since it took it on in 1955.
Channel 3 News received a major boost last month when the ITC granted it
nominated news provider status, a requirement to run news on ITV. ITN's
current five-year contract is due to end in December 2002.
Although no timescale has been set, bids are expected within the next
few months with a decision likely by the end of the year.
Luther will work with Channel 3 under its present contract until a
decision by ITV is made.
If ITN lost the contract, Carlton and Granada - ITV's biggest
shareholders - would be affected as they have a 20 per cent stake in
Huntingdon said: 'Gaining news provider status was very important to us.
We are offering a realistic, cost-effective and experienced alternative