NEWS: Agencies pitch for BBC-Flextech task

Four BBC roster agencies are lining up in a secret pitch to handle advertising for the seven new cable and satellite channels which the BBC and Flextech TV are launching in a joint venture next year.

Four BBC roster agencies are lining up in a secret pitch to handle

advertising for the seven new cable and satellite channels which the BBC

and Flextech TV are launching in a joint venture next year.



Sources suggest that Leagas Delaney, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Saatchi and

Saatchi and BST-BDDP are in the running for the multi-million pound

task. However, none of the agencies would comment and all have been

sworn to secrecy by the BBC.



A source explained: ‘The joint venture is at an embryonic stage and,

whatever happens, it’s going to be politically sensitive. The BBC can’t

be seen to be too enthusiastic about doing something that isn’t licence-

fee driven.’



The search for an agency is being masterminded jointly by Jane Frost,

the BBC’s head of corporate centre marketing, Matthew Simmonds,

representing the more commercial side of the corporation, BBC Worldwide,

and Richard Burdett, the sales director of Flextech TV.



Frost confirmed the pitch-list and said: ‘This is a strategic project.

It’s too early to talk about a budget.’



Discussions are at an early stage, with strategic presentations likely

to lead to a creative brief before 1997.



All four agencies are BBC roster shops: BBH has created short films for

BBC Education, Saatchis handles Radio 3, Leagas Delaney creates the

BBC’s corporate ads and BST handles TV licence evasion.



The new channels, which will have a BBC flavour in terms of content and

style, will include documentary, natural history, drama, comedy, arts,

music and learning strands, and are set to launch next summer (Campaign,

last week). Some will be BBC branded and carry ads.



Airtime on the channels is expected to be handled by Flextech Sales, the

sales house for Flextech’s other TV interests which include Discovery

and Bravo.



Flextech is a quoted UK company whose majority stake is owned by the

cable giant, TCI.



Separately, Leagas Delaney and the BBC have collaborated to produce TV

trails pushing the BBC’s first annual ‘statement of promises to viewers

and listeners’. The trails will air from this Thursday and a supporting

print campaign breaks in the Telegraph, Times and Guardian next week.



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