Diffiniti wins £23.5m Sky digital account

Aegis agency Diffiniti beat off the challenge of three agencies to land Sky's prized £23.5m digital media account, previously held by I-Level.

Diffiniti, which forms part of Aegis's global digital network Isobar, won the account, one of the largest online media accounts in the UK, from a shortlist of WPP's MediaCom, Havas agency Media Contacts and Syzygy's Unique Digital.

Diffiniti managing director Rob Horler was supported in the pitch by Nigel Sharrocks, chief executive of Aegis Media, UK and Ireland. The business takes in Sky's online display and affiliate activity, adding to the search engine optimisation account that Diffiniti won in December 2007. Unique Digital handles Sky's paid search, while MediaCom's status as Sky's offline media agency remains unchanged.

Independent digital agency I-Level previously handled all Sky's online activity, but Sky repitched the search account in August last year and announced it was to split with the agency entirely in December (Media Week, 4 December).

Scott Gallacher, director of online and partner marketing at BSkyB, said not many agencies were in Sky's reckoning due to the size of the account. "A lot of agencies' total billings are less than what we spend," he said. "Diffiniti has handled Aviva and Dell - online marketing at scale - and it showed an understanding of how other channels work with online and has a very solid and experienced senior team."

He added: "MediaCom was impressive and it was good seeing how far they've come over the past couple of years. One big difference was that MediaCom had a lot of good ideas, while Diffiniti has a lot of proven experience."

Sky's online spend has been boosted by the rolling out of a broadband offering and the development of multimedia services. Gallacher said that display advertising has changed to include video advertising and sponsorship of various online services. "It's not just about buying inventory - it's about building a relationship with the big media owners that are out there," he added.

Diffiniti will start work on the account on 6 February.

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