Sky and Virgin Media in talks over a deal to join forces in the advertising market via the Adsmart network, in a bid to tempt spending away from Google and Facebook.
The media rivals are currently in advanced discussions over a partnership could see Virgin Media join Sky’s Adsmart targeted advertising network.
Once the deal is finalised, the cable operator is expected to add up to 3.7 million homes to the network, which allows TV advertisers to target consumers based on an array of attributes including their postcode, level of affluence and age.
Using data from credit agencies and other sources, Adsmart claims to be able to focus marketing spending on characteristics as specific as whether a home has a south-facing garden or a pet.
The system works by replacing standard commercial breaks on participating channels with more targeted advertising, delivered to set-top boxes via a broadband connection.
Alongside Sky’s own channels, Channel 5 and MTV, owned by Viacom, have already signed up to Adsmart.
Under the deal, Virgin Media ad sales will be handled by Sky’s media sales house, which aims to use Adsmart to boost its sales to £1bn by 2020, from under £800m last year.