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Geldof to turn Ten Alps into marketing firm

LONDON - Bob Geldof plans to grow his media and advertising company Ten Alps, which owns Osprey Communications in Scotland and Hampshire, into a brand marketing company specialising in sponsorship of high-profile events the company has organised.

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The company says it aims to exploit the use of the many different media that are emerging -- such as sponsored events -- and brand owners' obsession with targeting certain groups of consumers.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Geldof and his business partner Alex Connock said they believe that the best way to achieve this is to focus marketing efforts geographically through large-scale public events.

Geldof said: "The real juice came in owning the sponsorship or advertising around [events]. To do programming for any outlet you need to have it more or less paid for by an outside sponsor.

"That sponsor's more than prepared to pay for it because traditional advertising doesn't pay any more, but local advertising is on the up. Direct contact between the brand and their clientele is absolutely the key criterion."

Ten Alps owns two events companies -- Dr Party, which it set up soon after Ten Alps was created, and Pacesetter, which Osprey acquired last month -- as well as Fire Brand, a pyrotechnics company, and a talent agency for politicians and commentators called Know Comment.

The company is now on the acquisition trail to build a "really serious media company", Connock said.

Ten Alps began life in April 1999 when Connock, the former head of the radio division at Planet 24 -- the production company that Geldof set up with Lord Waheed Alli and Charlie Parsons -- paid £1 for the radio division when the rest of the company was sold to Carlton.

Connock then asked Geldof to join him, and Ten Alps -- planet spelled backwards -- was born. The company initially worked on TV and radio productions until it branched out into events and related businesses.

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