to sponsor Sky One’s ER in TV first, which claims to offer the biggest discounts and widest product range of any UK e-tailer, is to sponsor hospital soap ER on Sky One.

The deal, worth an undisclosed sum, is’s first move into TV. Launched last November, the dot-com has so far restricted its marketing to newspapers and billboards. A second Sky deal, described as “a major sports sponsorship package”, will be announced next week, and similar sponsorship is also close to completion on a radio station., which has a marketing war chest of &£8m to &£10m for this year, sells products as diverse as books, CDs, car insurance and mobile phones over the Web. It has plans to expand into the car and travel markets over the next two months. The company claims to attract 18,000 to 20,000 unique visitors a day, and although it won’t disclose how many of them are actually buying, the average spend is put at &£115 – a relatively high figure.

The ER deal took six months to negotiate, according to sources, mainly because ER’s owner, Warner Brothers, wanted reassurance that a relatively unknown brand name wouldn’t damage its programme’s image.

Peter Baily, marketing director of, says ER is “one of the most popular programmes on TV today. As it is’s intentions to be the biggest Internet shopping site in the UK, we felt that this association was ideal for the development of the brand.”

Other recent website sponsors of TV programmes include on Channel 5 and on Carlton.

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