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Twitter-focused UK start-up launches with big media clients

LONDON - Warner Music and Virgin Media are among several brands working with a start-up agency called Twitter Partners, which plans to offer services from consultancy to customer insight, CRM and reputation management.

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Twitter Partners is led by former Nielsen president and angel investor Peter Read and is a privately held, London-based firm.

Read has assembled a line-up of well-known digital figures to advise the company. They include former Yahoo! vice-president Toby Coppel, Last.fm founder Stefan Glaenzer, LoveFilm co-founder Saul Klein and Lastminute.com founders Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman.

According to reports Twitter is investing an equity stake in the company.

One of Twitter Partners' first tasks is a  campaign promoting the release the animated band Gorillaz' upcoming documentary titled 'Bananaz'.

Other clients include Universal Pictures, Lionsgate, Knitting Factory, Paramount and Comedy.com.

Twitter Partners will offer the brands a number of services, including customer insight, profiling and segmentation, CRM, buzz monitoring, virtual focus groups and corporate reputation management.

It will initially work on a consultancy basis but plans to expand into products and automation in the future.

According to twitter Partners' website, it has already lined up 11 agency partners, including Razorfish and Unanimis, and is "building a suite of apps, tools and services to help brands, media companies, and celebrities harness the power of the Twitter ecosystem".

The Twitter 'ecosystem' is now inhabited by more than 7m users but Twitter itself has yet to find a secure revenue model. The company houses approximately 30 staff, mostly engineers, and has been more focused on technical than commercial development.

Twitter is currently being courted by many firms, including Google, which was reported to be in "late-stage" acquisition talks with Twitter last week, though it now appears negotiations are at a much earlier stage.

A number of brands and celebrities are already well-established on Twitter, including Stephen Fry, Starbucks and Comparethemarket.com, which recently ran a campaign asking Twitter users if they would like to appear on a testimonial page on its mascot's website.

Earlier today it was revealed that public relations advisor Carri Bugbee plans to launch a Twitter-based ad agency for media and entertainment companies on the back of the success of a Twitter account based on the fictional agency from the television series 'Mad Men'.

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