Francis to tackle Virgin territory on the internet

Virgin Net has dropped its agency Larkspur and pulled its PR in-house as it repositions itself as a content provider.

Virgin Net has dropped its agency Larkspur and pulled its PR

in-house as it repositions itself as a content provider.



Lisa Francis has joined from Bite, where she was an account manager, to

head up the in-house division.



Virgin Net launched as an internet service provider last November but

now offers a full range of content, including news from the Independent,

live football broadcasts and a health service. It is launching an

electronic commerce service next month which will allow users to buy

products from Virgin Megastore and other high-street stores.



Francis’ remit is to help Virgin Net grow its subscriber base from

65,000 and to reflect the nature of its content. ’The service has

changed quite a lot,’ said Francis. ’It became impossible to communicate

this externally.’



The in-house team will be expanded later this year and Francis does not

rule out using an agency on a project basis. Her appointment coincides

with Virgin Net’s first advertising which appears this weekend in the

Sunday Times and Mail on Sunday.



Francis will attempt to use PR to differentiate Virgin’s content from

that of its rivals. ’We provide UK content for UK people. CompuServe and

America Online are not localised but operate across the world,’ said

Francis.



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