EXCLUSIVE: Ids, Virgin Media's ad sales house, is set to close after 14 years of business following the loss of the UKTV account to Channel 4 today.
UKTV and Channel 4 have reached a 10-year deal for Channel 4 Sales to become the exclusive advertising representative for the UKTV portfolio.
Led by managing director James Wildman, more than 100 people currently work at Ids, including executive sales director Martin Plant, director of sales Andrew Atkinson, and director of digital, Stuart Flint.
Last year Ids underwent a complete restructure, merging its TV and online sales teams into four agency-focused hubs.
Speculation surrounding the future of the award-winning and much acclaimed sales house has been mounting since BSkyB and Virgin Media announced a £160m deal for Sky to buy Virgin Media Television last month.
Under the terms of the Sky-Virgin deal, ad sales for VMtv will move to Sky Media in January 2011, which left Ids with the ad sales contracts for UKTV and Virgin Media’s video on demand service.
A Virgin Media spokesperson said: "Following the announcement that UKTV and Channel 4 have reached agreement for Channel 4 Sales to become the exclusive advertising representative for the UKTV portfolio, we can confirm the proposed closure of Virgin Media’s ad sales house, Ids.
"Ids has done an outstanding job over the years and has built an excellent reputation across the industry."
It is understood that Virgin Media plans to close Ids by the end of the year and has started to speak to staff about their future.
Virgin Media’s strategy has moved away from the ownership of content to focus on the access of content, though it still invests in content through carriage agreements.
UKTV was established as a joint venture between Flextech and the BBC in 1997, with ad sales handled in-house until Flextech Television Sales launched Ids as an independent business in March 2002.
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