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-
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
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.