News International has appointed the New PHD-owned specialist agency, Rocket to handle the media strategy task for its new interactive division alongside TBWA GGT Simons Palmer and HHCL & Partners, who will jointly handle the creative account.
Rocket won the account, which could be worth up to £10 million, following a shoot-out against Unity and Michaelides & Bednash. TBWA and HHCL pitched against Fallon McElligott and the Times Newspapers' incumbent agency, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R.
News International has kept the details of the task under wraps, but it is believed that the division will house a number of services, including a major entertainment network, which TBWA will handle, and a form of recruitment service, which falls under HHCL's remit.
The interactive division will fall within the remit of News International Digital Publishing, and forms an integral part of the company's strategy to harness the network of News Corp brands, which range from newspapers to its progamming and TV network Fox Entertainment.
The pitch was led by Jeff Cha, who was brought over from News International in New York to oversee the pitch, and John Paul Sanchez, marketing director of the UK Interactive division. Sanchez was not available for comment as Campaign went to press. The three winning agencies refused to comment on their appointment.
News International launched its first ISP in April with CurrantBun.com. The service was renamed Bun.Com last month in a bid to target a broader audience. The £10 million launch campaign was created by TBWA.
News International Digital Publishing is headed up by Alasdair Macleod, who took on the role of managing director in July.