Six agencies on shortlist for BSkyB consumer work

Six agencies have made the shortlist in a pitch to secure BSkyB's UK consumer PR account.

Incumbent agency Cohn & Wolfe is in the running, alongside The RED Consultancy and Weber Shandwick.

Ketchum, Bell Pottinger Consultants and Cake have also made the shortlist, BSkyB director of communications and corporate affairs Julian Eccles confirmed this week.

Eccles initially confirmed plans for the consumer pitch late last year (PRWeek, 13 December 2002).

He said 'around 20' agencies originally sent in details for the contract, with the six shortlisted agencies being invited in for a 'simultaneous briefing' at the start of January.

Eccles said: 'We have asked all six for their preliminary thoughts and from what we have seen so far we believe it will be a tough decision.'

The successful agency is expected to be decided upon by the end of next week, with a contract to start 'either at the end of April or at the beginning of May,' Eccles said.

The budget for the contract is understood to be in the region of £200,000 per year.

The channel is seeking to boost the number of Sky Digital subscribers from its current level - understood to be around 6.5 million - to seven million by the end of 2003.

C&W was hired in 2001 to undertake the first PR drive to boost subscriptions to the platform.

Since then it has undertaken consumer PR campaigns to boost take-up of Sky Digital.

BSkyB's corporate account with Portland is not under review, according to Eccles.

Whichever consumer shop is hired will report to Eccles, in addition to consumer PR head Gabby Bennett and director of publicity John Brissenden.

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