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UK pay TV broadcasters Sky and Virgin Media are partnering to allow marketers to place targeted TV ads across both companies’ linear and video-on-demand (VOD) platforms. The UK’s relatively small but fast-growing broadcast VOD ad spending segment is likely to benefit.
The pair’s plan is to provide a single, one-stop buying point through Sky’s Sky AdSmart platform for targeted TV advertising served across Virgin Media and Sky’s addressable set-top boxes in the UK and Ireland.
Advertisers will be able to target a combined potential audience of more than 30 million viewers in the two countries, according to Sky, putting the joint platform “on par with leading social networks.”
The deal could be a boon to broadcaster VOD ad investment in the countries involved. A program that offers a simplified process to reach a combined Sky-Virgin audience should make addressable TV ads even more compelling.
Broadcast VOD was already a bright spot in a generally lackluster 2016 for TV ad spending in the UK. It rose 12.6% to £197 million ($301.1 million) for the year, according to Advertising Association (AA) – UK and Warc, compared with a 0.5% drop in traditional spot TV ad spending.
“Addressable TV is the high-quality, brand safe and transparent medium that leading brands have already been adopting in their thousands,” said Andrew Griffith, Sky Group COO. “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.”
Virgin Media Solutions and Sky Media will continue to operate independently and compete in the TV advertising sector outside of the partnership, including nontargeted linear airtime, sponsorship, self-promotional advertising and VOD using traditionally traded audiences.
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