Virgin Radio is to compete directly with both radio production companies and advertising agencies with the launch of a division that will make branded content for clients.
Virgin Radio Audio Business, which it claims is a first among UK radio operators, is working on its first project with an undisclosed client. The division will be headed by Paul Sylvester, who joins from Global Radio as audio business manager.
The division will pitch for new business as well as working with existing clients. It will offer a production service for downloads and podcasts for websites and portals, and tailored audio streams for retail and travel networks.
Sylvester, who was previously content manager at Global, will work with Virgin’s in-house talent and will use its in-house studio facilities. He will report to David Lloyd, Virgin programming and marketing director.
Lloyd says that the radio industry is well placed to take advantage of the growing demand for content and to use it to open up new revenue streams. He adds: “Consumer brands are increasingly looking to produce their own content to attract and engage customers in a more creative way and this includes demand for branded audio content.”
Meanwhile, Virgin and News International have signed a deal to support Coke Zero’s “Find the next Wayne Rooney” campaign.
The two-month integrated campaign will include Coke Zero sponsoring Virgin’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Football on a Saturday afternoon and editorial and advertorial in The Sun. The competition will also be launched with a week-long promotion on the Virgin Breakfast Show.