HHCL/Red Cell’s hold on BSkyB business in doubt

HHCL/RedCell’s grip on the BSkyB business is under threat after the satellite television company invited other big-name agencies to pitch for the multi-million pound advertising account for Sky One.

BSkyB has drawn up a shortlist that is thought to include Mother, Clemmow Hornby Inge and two other agencies, but not HHCL/Red Cell, for the account, which is worth at least £4m.

The pitch does not include the advertising of Sky as a platform and the Sky Plus box, which will continue to be handled by HHCL/Red Cell. But it is thought that the winning agency could end up handling more work on the programming side.

BSkyB recently increased its advertising budget by £25m to £75m, and it is thought that some of this additional spend could be allocated to Sky One.

The satellite TV company had originally taken on the AAR to look for “creative hothouses” for a roster to “work on occasional projects on discrete areas of programming” (MW September 16). But the AAR appears no longer to be handling the process and Dawn Airey, managing director of Sky Networks, is thought to have taken control of the pitch.

Sky One has been under pressure to boost its performance and to attract viewers to its programmes such as Western series Deadwood and Nip/Tuck. The channel is used to attract new customers to the Sky platform, which is suffering from a slowdown in subscriber growth.

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