Sky AdSmart signs 40 brands for targeted live TV commercials


Sky has signed up more than 40 brands for the new Sky AdSmart targeted advertising service, as the broadcaster looks to transfer digital advertising’s real-time bidding techniques to the more traditional live TV format.

Watch this presentation from agency MC&C's TV seminar, where Jamie West (Sky Media) talks through Sky's new Adsmart platform below:


The ads, which launch following a six-month trial, are bing used by brands using the service Tesco, Royal Bank of Scotland, Littlewoods, American Airlines and Audi.

Available in more than a fifth of UK households, Sky AdSmart tailors what is shown in TV ad breaks according to a household's profile and location.

The new technology effectively turns the Sky+ HD receiver into a media server with segmentation being offered according to specified attributes and geographically.

It works by sending a library of adverts via satellite to the Sky+HD set-top box. It then selects the adverts which best match a household’s profile and inserts them into a live ad break. The line-up of adverts is based on a customer’s postcode alongside publically available demographic information from third-party providers including the data services company Experian.

To further support the growth of Sky AdSmart nationwide, Sky has expanded its sales team, creating five new regional teams based in London, the South West, Midlands, North and Scotland. In total, 18 new jobs have been created.

16 standard TV regions and 15 large metropolitan areas are available, 13 household types based on their financial needs, behavioural influences and preferences are also available and there is segmentation according to life stage and age of children.

At launch, the AdSmart ads will be carried on the Sky Movies channels, Sky Entertainment channels (Sky 1, Atlantic, Living Arts), plus Pick and Challenge.

Andrew Griffith, Sky’s Managing Director, Commercial Businesses and Chief Financial Officer, comments: “With Sky AdSmart, we want to make TV advertising work better for viewers and advertisers. By enabling advertisers to better segment the TV audience, Sky AdSmart has the potential to open up TV advertising to many more brands and businesses. This helps both the brands that previously thought TV too broad a medium, as well as local advertisers who felt that TV wasn’t previously accessible to them.”

In addition to the big national brands, Sky is also looking to local businesses who may have previously concluded advertising on TV wasn’t for them and brands that may have left TV advertising.

Local advertisers who have signed up to use Sky AdSmart include insurance group First Central and the Hampshire car dealership Hendy Group. In total, one quarter of the brands that have signed up for Sky AdSmart are either new to TV advertising or had previously left the market. Those returning to TV advertising include Nestle’s confectionery brand Polo.

Beginning of the end of TV advertising as we know it?

Greg Dunbar, global sales director, CloudSense, commented on the move: “This latest offering from Sky is all about personalisation. But in order to target customers with the most relevant advertising, brands need data on individual customers. This concept isn’t new, considering Tesco first used customer data to tailor offers in 1994 and online display ads are frequently targeted based on recent page views and browsing history.

“One major implication is that other big players in the pay TV space like Virgin and BT may well up their game and follow suit. If Sky’s advertising revenues grow faster than those of its competitors, we can expect other providers to take notice. Ultimately, advertisers want to drive sales so the more targeted their campaigns can be, the better chance they stand of doing this. This could be a major step forward in that regard, and Sky’s news today shows that the demand is there from brands and marketers.

“Sky AdSmart makes use of numerous data sets, which will give advertisers an incredibly granular view of the customer. A single customer view like this provides value for the companies involved, both Sky and the advertisers. If Sky gets this right, and it is able to convince advertisers that its data can provide effective personalised targeting, it could be the next significant step in the future of personalisation and the beginning of the end of TV advertising as we know it.”

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