looks for agency to establish net shopping brand, the BBC's commercial online arm, is looking for a direct

marketing agency as it aims to build its commercial potential.

The service already has more than 100 online retail partners, including

Amazon and Marks & Spencer, and wants to appoint an agency to build

relationships with customers ahead of the key Christmas sales


Regan Hook,'s marketing director, has been talking to four

agencies about the brief and a pitch is expected to take place soon.

This coincides with the news that is to redesign its site later

this year.

Last year spent £7 million on a TV advertising campaign

through PHD and Michaelides & Bednash in an attempt to establish itself

with customers as a shopping brand. The appointment of a direct

marketing agency will see focus more on relationship marketing,

using the web and mobiles.

Hook said: "We are looking for an agency at the moment ahead of what we

are doing at Christmas. We hope to capitalise on seasonal issues." launched in 1997 as an entertainment content site based around

key BBC properties such as Top of the Pops, Holiday, Good Homes and Top

Gear. Its main area of revenue was from banner as. It has since moved to

a sales-based model selling games, mobile phones and cars.

Reports suggested that the BBC had considered selling as part

of the BBC Worldwide division, but there are no plans to do so.

- Spotlight, p16.