Sky prepares to extend AdSmart to include sequential targeting across devices

Sky is to extend its addressable advertising offering AdSmart to include cross-device sequential targeting, and is to extend its viewing panel to 5.2m homes by the end of the year.

Speaking to The Drum at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Sky Media deputy managing director Jamie West said the ambition for its addressable product, which is now in 7m homes, is to provide a seamless cross platform experience for consumers and advertisers.

This will see it launch cross-platform sequential campaign sequencing this autumn, meaning Sky viewers will see different addressable ads depending on what screen they are watching on, whether TV, mobile or tablet.

This "enhanced data proposition" will shift the traditional kinds of media transactional conversations Sky Media has traditionally had with media agencies and advertisers, according to West. "Our key ambition is to have a seamless campaign that can run across multiple platforms. TV and other media over the last few years - although you have a holistic media plan - it is still planned and bought in silos. But I think advertisers don't really think about it in that way," he said.

"This moves us away from being a media transaction conversation to being a tech or data partner, and having a shared interest in the outcome of the campaign. Step back three years and 95 per cent of the conversations were with media agencies, now advertisers share a lot of their customer data directly with us, so we are very much a part of that conversation, and in some instances we are in the lead, which is fascinating because you get to understand what the real KPIs are of the brand and their value drivers," he explained.

A hot topic at Cannes Lions 2015 has been the future agency model and how it must adapt and evolve to the fact brands have started demanding a lot more transparency in areas such as where their programmatic advertising spend is going.

West conceded that the agency group holding model needs a rethink. "Over time the market will have to move away from an ad decision being based on yield or a margin a tech or agency holding company can make, and make the decision about having your advertisers content in the right environment.

He cited the ongoing issue of fraudulent traffic as "high up" on the agenda for advertisers and added that mobile ad fraud is worryingly rife.

"If anywhere between 30 and 80 percent of mobile is fraud, then we have a bit of an issue. For Sky Media in particular, not our marketing team, we will not give up control of our inventory. We will not say to any trading partner, here you can have X hundred million impressions and you can do what you want, because we don't need to, but there are media owners who are being pressured into doing that.

"So as a business model it is right that there is debate about it. It's not my place to tell the advertiser exactly how to structure their deals, but if I were in their shoes I would certainly think about it."

His comments followed a panel session (pictured) in which he took part, chaired by AOL president Bob Lord. It tackled topics including what new pricing structures broadcasters should adopt to capitalise on the rise of programmatic TV. Lord referenced the industry's attempt to revamp commercial models to meet the demands of today's data driven landscape as poor.

He challenged the panellists saying: "The inertia in the industry of continuing to maintain the old [models] is enormous. How will we bring down this inertia and how long will it take us?"

However, West dismissed the notion that there is inertia on the broadcast side.

"We have experimented with lots of different things, and some of the deals we have done include no headline cost - no CPM - just a revenue share. We take a percentage of sales which we have done with a load of agencies, and we plan deals where air time is exchanged for equity. We have funded their creative to make it easier for them to get on TV for the first time, so it is encouraging us to think very differently about media transactions - it is no longer about shaking hands on a deal and moving on," he added.

Sky invested £25m in ad technology last year, and West added that there will be further investments in the coming year as the TV operator has "finally recognised" that it can't provide or own all the ad tech required.

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