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Sky And Virgin Media Take On Web Giants With Targeted TV Advertising

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Sky and Virgin Media look to offer safety and prestige of TV with targeted nature of online advertising in new partnership

Sky and Virgin Media are to offer organisations targeted advertising on their respective TV platforms, allowing traditional broadcasters to match social media while taking advantage of the trusted “brand safe” environment of television.

Facebook and Google’s ability to target audiences based on preferences, location and other data have seen the two establish a virtual duopoly on mobile advertising, leaving print and broadcast behind.

However, the UK’s two biggest pay TV providers hope new technology will let brands reach out to specific demographics on both linear broadcasts and video on demand.

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Sky has 11 million households, while Virgin has four million, with the partners claiming they have a reach of 30 million targetable viewers.

The ability to control where advertising appears is seen to be a significant advantage, along with the prestige of television. Many companies have been unable to control where their online ads appear, meaning they could be displayed alongside objectionable content.

Furthermore, many people have turned to ad blockers because of the invasive nature of online creatives as well as cybersecurity concerns.

“We’re giving consumers advertising that is more relevant to them and giving brands a trusted destination to deliver intelligent, tailored TV campaigns to a targeted audience,” said Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockeridge.

Virgin Media will use technology provided by its parent company Liberty Global, while Sky will make use of its ‘Adsmart’ tech. So far, Sky has more than 100 Adsmart enabled channels including Channel 5.

Advertisers will have one main point of contact, Sky Media, but both Virgin and Sky will retain control over their non-targeted advertising businesses. It is expected additional sales houses and channels will benefit from Adsmart in the future.

“TV remains the most effective and trusted advertising medium there is and continues to innovate at pace,” said Andrew Griffth, Sky Group COO. “Addressable TV is the high quality, brand safe and transparent medium that leading brands have already been adopting in their thousands.

“Today’s partnership takes that to the next level with the extension of AdSmart to millions more homes meaning more relevant ads for Virgin customers and a larger platform for advertisers.”

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