DirecTV Taps Deutsch

Deutsch/LA was named to handle digital satellite TV service DirecTV’s creative and strategic planning last week after a review that included D’Arcy and Dailey & Associates here and GMO/Hill, Holliday in San Francisco in the final round. Campbell-Ewald, Los Angeles, was the incumbent. Earlier this year, Deutsch won a creative project for the company’s Sunday Ticket pro football pay TV service.

Media buying for DirecTV, a unit of General Motors’ Hughes Electronics, is handled by GM Mediaworks in Detroit. MediaVest, New York, handles media planning.

DirecTV is the dominant player in its category, with just under 9 million customers, but it’s facing increased competitive pressure, sources said. For that reason, the advertiser’s $65-70 million budget is expected to rise as high as $100 million.

“They’re in a fight for their lives,” said one source. “Digital cable is coming around the bend and [DirecTV’s closest satellite rival] Dish Network is a very aggressive competitor. DirecTV has a cool product, but they have to turn up the fire.”

Executives at both Deutsch and DirecTV declined comment on the decision. Select Resources International here handled the current review and the project search.

DirecTV is the fourth client won by Deutsch/LA this year. The shop also was tapped to handle creative and media for, which is expected to bill around $50 million, and creative duties for the California Milk Advisory Board’s cheese product advertising. With the new business, the shop’s claimed billings rise to about $600 million.