MediaCom snatches £43m Sky brief

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BSkyB has awarded its £43 million media planning and buying account to MediaCom.

The appointment has surprised the industry, as the account was widely tipped to move to WPP's MindShare. MindShare's sister creative agency HHCL/Red Cell handles the creative account.

Carat also pitched for the business, although the incumbent, Universal McCann, declined to repitch.

The agency's brief is expected to cover direct marketing in addition to the existing £43 million above-the-line spend. However, Sky plans to increase its marketing budget to £100 million, after its chief executive James Murdoch announced to the City last week a pledge to attract new subscribers.

Universal is expected to continue working for Sky until October, while the broadcaster is planning a marketing push in the autumn aimed at "reintroducing" its brand to potential subscribers.

Sky has no plans to review the relationship with HHCL/Red Cell, which will create the new brand work.

The broadcaster will also continue to support its Sky Plus service, but sees the new brand activity as a chance to convince potential subscribers that its content is about more than just football and films. It is also planning more tightly targeted direct marketing activity.

Sky said it was in "exclusive negotiations" with MediaCom about the account.

- Headliner, p15.

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