Cagney, the marketing services group that includes ad agency Chick Smith Trott (CST), is expanding into media ownership after signing a long-term alliance with University Choice TV (UCTV).
The deal with UCTV, the online social network and information service for students, will give Cagney exclusive rights to manage advertising sales and corporate partnerships.
Separately, CST will provide strategic, creative and production services to the site. UCTV is aimed at UK students although it is understood to be keen to expand into the lucrative overseas market, such as China and the Far East. UK universities are able to charge non-EU students far higher tuition fees.
Cagney says it hopes to secure several similar deals with other media owners and wants to tap into alternative revenue models to maximise return on creative talent and provide higher margins than conventional ad deals.
The group plans to bring in media specialists to work on sales and corporate partnerships.
It is also believed to be looking at buying a media agency to add to its advertising, market research, PR and design divisions.
CST managing director Nick Simons says both parties should “benefit equally” from success. He says it is a “unique” deal with Cagney providing both strategic direction and advertising for UCTV as well as promoting and selling it to advertisers.
UCTV launched in 2004 to provide information to potential students on choosing a university. Since then it has received 50 million hits and forecasts that it will achieve 8 million users during 2007.