CHI nets first media buying accounts

LONDON - CHI & Partners is launching a media venture called CHI & Partners Media.

Virgin... prospective client
Virgin... prospective client
Tiger Beer has already signed up, with its £3 million media planning and buying business. The agency is also in talks with its Carphone Warehouse client and with Virgin Money about their respective media needs.

Virgin Money spends £6 million on UK media, but if Virgin's deal with Northern Rock goes ahead, Sir Richard Branson has said he will increase media spend to more than £50 million. Carphone Warehouse spends £16 million.

CHI is hiring a buying team for the venture, which is expected to be led by Mike Hellens, the managing director at Media Matters, Carphone Warehouse's media agency.

The business model will be fee- rather than commission-based, which the agency hopes will lead to a more media- neutral offering.

The agency will offer planning and buying, but the latter will be supported by systems and client expertise from WPP media agencies.

CHI was unavailable for comment.