ITV Digital set to rethink DM brief

ITV Digital is reviewing its direct marketing business as it

attempts to win new subscribers in its battle with Sky.



The account, worth about £6 million when reviewed a year ago, is

expected to include customer acquisition and retention for both ITV

Digital and ITV Sport. However, the budget is expected to rise as ITV

Digital pushes its new services.



ITV Digital has asked five agencies to pitch for the account. The

incumbent, Blue, will go up against Black Hole, Craik Jones Watson

Mitchell Voelkel, Joshua and TBWA/GGT Direct.



Blue was launched last year by David May, formerly the client services

director at DP&A. The agency was appointed by ITV Digital, then known as

ONdigital, to launch new services as well as build its subscriber

base.



Before Blue, ONdigital worked with Lowe Live for two years. Lowe Live

handled direct marketing for ONdigital from its launch and parted

company with the broadcaster when it had about 700,000 subscribers.



The direct review follows the recent rebranding of ONdigital as ITV

Digital, and the subsequent advertising campaign through Mother

featuring the knitted monkey. The review does not include Mother's

account.



The pitch is being run by ITV Digital's sales and marketing director,

Jeremy Dale, and Gabrielle Simcocks, ITV Digital's director of

relationship marketing.



According to the latest figures released by ITV in July, ITV Digital had

1.1 million subscribers at the end of June. However, its annual churn

rate is 23 per cent, a figure it will expect the chosen direct marketing

agency to reduce.



ITV Digital has several new services to promote including pay-per-view

football, a games channel, interactive services and its marketing

partnership with BT.



It has recently invested £3 million in a customer call centre in

an effort to improve customer service.



Blue's work has included a mailing to increase market share in the

interactive television market, offering customers discounts on shopping

facilities and e-mail.



Simcocks was unavailable for comment as Campaign went to press.



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