Freeview and Mediaedge set to finalise media deal

Freeview is understood to be in final negotiations with Mediaedge:cia over its media planning and buying account.

The agency is believed to have beat Aegis-owned Carat in a final round of pitches. Incumbent M2M and Zenith-Optimedia were also involved in the pitch but are thought to have been knocked out at an earlier stage.

The pitch, which was called in July and has been overseen by the AAR, is part of an overhaul of Freeview’s roster. A pitch for its advertising business between St Luke’s and Delaney Lund Knox Warren is continuing. Farm and CHI & Partners were knocked out last week.

Freeview does not have a retained advertising agency; its only major advertising to date was its launch campaign, which was created by DFGW (now part of Freud Communications.

The free-to-air digital TV service has traditionally spent little on media and advertising but is understood to be considering an increase in its marketing budget, particularly as digital switchover begins later this year.

Freeview is understood to be keen to have a campaign in place by October to build the brand in the run-up to the Christmas period.

According to Ofcom, Freeview has the biggest share of the digital TV market in the country, having overtaken BSkyB earlier this year. Freeview increased its customers by 670,000 in the first quarter of 2007, taking the number of Freeview-only homes to 8.37 million.

Last year, it briefed Red Bee Media to create its first TV advertising campaign, which ran in the Granada region, and created brand identity through consultancy Branded (MW November 9, 2006).

The strapline “Free TV Land – where great TV is Free” was used across all Freeview’s communications, including in-store material and online, where the bulk of its marketing budget is spent.

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