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Sky targets ads across multiple platforms

Firing a shot across the bow of advertising supremo Martin Sorrell and underlining the ability of the broadcasting industry to compete more effectively for advertising monies, Sky will greatly ramp up its ability to target ads across multiple platforms starting this autumn.

The moves were revealed in the ‘New Advertising, New Money’ session and are part of Sky’s $100 million investment to date in advertising technology that allows it to offer advertisers much more precise information about audiences. From November, Sky will take a further step allowing advertisers to deliver ads to Sky homes based on the first two letters of their postcode, much more precise than a national or even a regional buy. Jamie West, director of AdSmart and commercial development at Sky Media, believes that the advertising market in the UK needs to be shaken up.

“We can compete on a level footing with the digital media that claim to be the only market that can offer addressability, targeting, reporting and understanding return on investment.” When asked by session chairman Nigel Walley, MD of Decipher, if Sky would be happy to have Martin Sorrell’s WPP, which has developed its own programmatic advertising technology, plug its system into the back of Sky boxes, he received an adamant, “No” from West.

“What Martin Sorrell would do is to arbitrage all the ad inventory and sell it off at a yield margin, but what he would take away from the broadcaster is all control over the customer experience. We would have no control over regulatory [issues] even though we would be libel. We would have no control over the customer experience… and we will have no control over the growth of the market, which is commercial suicide.”