Open University starts £5m review

The Open University is understood to be reviewing its £5m advertising account as it prepares to appoint a new head of marketing.

Former head of marketing Ted Atchinson retired at the beginning of the year with Jim Brannen, the business development and marketing manager, becoming acting head at the time.

The OU is using the AAR and is understood to have increased its advertising spend in the hope of expanding its public profile.

Incumbents Grey Advertising and AMS Direct were unavailable for comment as Marketing Week went to press.

The move comes in the wake of revelations that the BBC may drop OU education programmes so that it can increase its share of high rating programmes.

OU programmes are screened in the BBC2’s late night Learning Zone. The university pays £10m a year for the BBC to produce 800 hours of programming.

Ranked in the top ten of Britain’s 103 universities, the OU was started by Harold Wilson in 1969. More than 2.5 million people have gone through the university during the past 30 years with 70 per cent of those remaining in full-time employment while studying.

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