Ananova, the internet and new media business owned by the Press Association, is holding pitches for an advertising and media planning and buying agency for its estimated £10 million account.
A shortlist of four media agencies has already drawn up, and includes the Starcom Motive Partnership, Western Media and Michaelides & Bednash. The search for a creative agency is less well-advanced, though a shortlist is expected within the next fortnight. Both lists are being drawn up with the help of the AAR.
The marketing will be based around the company's eponymous heroine, a "cyberbabe" who fronts the site to provide near-real-time news and information across multiple internet access devices, from TVs to palm organisers to third-generation, high-bandwidth mobile phones.
Ananova the "person" -- who has been billed as a cross between Victoria Beckham, Kylie Minogue and Carol Vorderman -- will read out personalised information to users according to their preferences, and will include e-commerce, sports, weather, entertainment and finance news among the services "she" offers.
The company Ananova -- previously known as PA New Media -- is in the process of being sold by the PA to the highest bidder, via a "structured auction" organised by PricewaterhouseCoopers, which could mean a windfall of up to £100 million to its directors.
PA wants to dispose of Ananova in order to become purely business-to-business-focused once more. Traffic for the news centre will be re-routed to Ananova, and another business-to-business site will be development to replace it.