NI digital group takes CurrantBun upmarket

News International Digital Publishing, the Internet arm of Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper empire, is revamping its Internet Service Provider CurrantBun.com to appeal to a more upmarket audience.

Renamed Bun.com, the new look ISP will be available on CD-Rom through Comet and Asda stores next Monday.

It has been revamped to attract more upmarket customers by offering news content provided by The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers, as well as The Sun. It will be backed by a £10m ad campaign through TBWA GGT Simons Palmer, which also breaks on Monday.

The site will offer a Web-based e-mail service similar to Microsoft’s Hotmail, plus Internet shopping and an online diary section.

It is hoped a new look, which was developed following a three-month project by Interbrand, Newell & Sorrell and Internet developers iShop, will help Bun.com compete with the 200-plus free ISPs launched since Dixons-owned Freeserve was released last September.

In its present form CurrantBun.com has about 300,000 subscribers. A Bun.com spokeswoman says: “It will no longer be The Sun’s ISP. It will be News International’s ISP. We are hoping to attract first-time users and will offer all News International’s other propertiesä We will be talking to Times readers as well as Sun readers.”

NIDP has appointed Kylie Sellick, formerly head of Internet marketing for Murdoch-owned Aust- ralian pay TV channel Foxtel, as marketing director to support the latest launch.

Sellick replaces former CurrantBun.com marketing director Barni Evans, who left last month to join the Internet venture being set up by former CurrantBun.com general manager Ellis Watson.

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