Britannica lays off boss and abandons ad plans

Encyclopedia Britannica has axed its UK marketing director, Marcus Missen, after halting plans for a major advertising push for the brand in the UK.

Missen, who has been with the company since last year, was made redundant at the start of the month. Before joining Britannica, Missen was head of communications at a charity.

Last year, Britannica appointed Lowe Howard-Spink (now known as Lowe Lintas), and Western International Media to handle the advertising and media launch of its UK website. But the business has been dormant. Britannica, which also produces CD-Roms, originally charged a subscription to use its service on the Internet, but scrapped the charge after facing steep competition from rival Microsoft’s Encarta. Britannica is said to have turned down an offer from Bill Gates six years ago to team up with Microsoft and put the encyclopedia on a CD-Rom.

Advertising and sponsorship are Britannica’s main source of revenue online.

The company also halted plans earlier this year to create a separate editorial slant online for each country.

Visitors accessing the service now do so through Britannica.com.

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