MEDIA: Branson's press profile inflates

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The Independent Online
A new survey confirms what every newspaper reader in the country already suspected: Richard Branson has been generating more headlines and column inches than any other British celebrity.

For the past three months the Virgin tycoon has been the subject of more press attention than the Labour leader Tony Blair, the Princess of Wales and even the Spice Girls, according to the latest quarterly report from the newspaper cuttings service Durrants. In recent weeks, the 46-year- old multi-millionaire has raised his media profile to new heights through his abortive round-the-world balloon flight. Undaunted by the failure of that enterprise, he grabbed the headlines again by jetting off to New York with Chris Evans in a bid to sign the DJ for Virgin Radio.

Durrants, which scans nearly 200,000 cuttings a year, is forecasting that the Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams, Referendum Party leader and financier Sir James Goldsmith and Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, composer of Evita, will feature prominently in its next quarterly survey.