BSkyB to add creative shops to £75m roster

BSkyB is looking for “creative hothouses” to pitch for briefs to advertise specific areas of programming, and to work alongside the company’s incumbent agency, WPP Group-owned HHCL/RedCell. Advertising for this part of BSkyB’s business is backed by a &£15m media spend. The search is being handled by the AAR.

The move follows the decision by chief executive James Murdoch to increase BSkyB’s advertising spend by &£25m – to &£75m – in an effort to boost subscriber growth.

A BSkyB spokesman says: “We are looking for creative hothouses to work on occasional projects on discrete areas of programming.”

He adds: “HHCL/Red Cell could continue to do some of that work as well.”

HHCL/Red Cell was appointed by BSkyB last year to advertise the personal video recorder Sky Plus, and assumed responsibility for the whole business when BSkyB’s other roster agency, Bates, was absorbed into WPP.

BSkyB has recently suffered poor subscriber growth, owing to competition from Freeview. Murdoch has devised a marketing strategy to revitalise the platform and ensure that it hits its goal of 8 million satellite pay-TV subscribers by the end of 2005, and 10 million by 2010 (MW August 5).

Part of the strategy depends on being able to persuade pay-TV refuseniks, through the marketing of key programmes, that BSkyB has something to offer them and is not just made up of “hundreds of channels of rubbish”. Sky One is also under pressure to boost its performance and to attract viewers to tune into its key programmes, such as Western series Deadwood.

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