Britannica seeks sales outfit to handle free online service

The Encyclopaedia Britannica is looking for a sales house to drum up UK advertising for its free web service, which launches here in February.

The Encyclopaedia Britannica is looking for a sales house to drum

up UK advertising for its free web service, which launches here in

February.



The company, which already has American and Australian online versions

of its encyclopaedia, has also hired Western International Media to

handle planning and buying for the launch.



The pounds 1.5 million campaign, to begin early next year, will focus on

TV, press and online.



Agency account director Tim Allnut will head the business, assisted by

new-media manager Ilika Shelley.



Britannica.co.uk managing director James Strachan has invited several

sales houses to pitch for the account but said that the company may

decide to move the sales operation in-house in the future.



Strachan confirmed that one of the main reasons for launching the UK

site was to pull in local advertisers. The US version is supported by

the likes of American Express, technology company Gateway and other

sites such as familyhealth.com.



’But just as baseball may not be as interesting to British users,’ said

Strachan, ’we believe there is incremental revenue to be derived from

advertisers who want to target a purely local audience.’ He also expects

to strike global advertising deals.



Advertising sales for the UK service are controlled by online marketing

director John Nugent. The site is also preparing to recruit a media

sales manager, whose name is to be announced soon.



In common with the American site, which offers news from the Washington

Post alongside its normal content, the UK version will include editorial

from an as-yet-undisclosed newspaper. Content from 70 magazines will

also be available.



The service will be funded by e-commerce as well as advertising.



Users who request information on a given subject will be able to buy

related material over the net, with the encyclopaedia getting a cut of

the profits.



The US version has been running since 1994, but users previously had to

pay around pounds 30 a year. However, the charge was scrapped last

week.



The move was prompted by dwindling sales of the pricey print

version.



The encyclopaedia has also come up against competition from Microsoft’s

Encarta.



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Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).