HMV reviews as it aims to broaden its appeal

HMV, the music, film and games retailer, is reviewing the creative assignment on its £14.5 million account as it tries to broaden its appeal and ward off the threat to its business posed by the internet.

The company this week confirmed that it had invited a number of agencies to contest the business and that its incumbent shop, Bds Beechwood, was being invited to repitch.

"Having been with our current agency for seven years, we felt it was an appropriate time to review our business," an HMV spokesman said.

The review, scheduled to take place during March and April, does not include Waterstone's, the book retailer, which is part of the HMV group. Media buying, which is handled by OMD UK, is unaffected.

The review takes place as HMV adjusts its offering to sustain its position in a market where erstwhile young CD buyers increasingly download their music via the internet, and the supermarkets encroach on its business.

Industry experts believe the group will now have to put increasing emphasis on "back catalogue" material in order to attract more mature consumers who rarely buy anything from the charts.

HMV chiefs are thought to have heeded the lessons of Our Price, the music store chain that failed because it had too many small stores and could not offer the range of music that customers now demand.

As a result, HMV is expected to concentrate on smaller numbers of large stores offering a broader choice.

"Young people just aren't buying enough music in record stores, but it's not all bad news for HMV," Richard Hyman, the chairman of Verdict Research, said.

"The good news is that there's a large section of the population with catholic tastes who have always bought their music in record stores and who want lots of choice. For HMV, the future lies in larger stores."

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