Sky Media has has unveiled an analytics portal across Sky Adsmart and its video on demand properties in a bid to make the media buying experience easier for clients.
AdSmart enables Sky to switch out ads shown on linear TV by household to ensure that brands are always talking to their desired audience at a significant scale. The cross-platform advertising tool was rolled out across Sky properties in Europe in 2017, and then earlier this year was picked up by Virgin Media in the UK and Ireland.
It was then paired with NBC Universal's "complementary" Audience Studio targeting solution after Comcast bought Sky in September 2018.
Speaking to The Drum, Stuart Carnegie, strategy and propositions director at Sky Media, said: "The product continues to grow from strength to strength."
The newly released analytics tool serves to simplify Sky's TV advertising landscape, now numbering at more than 100 channels. "As the TV landscape continues to fragment, this is our first foray into removing or hiding the complexity to give advertisers a one-stop-shop to plan and buy campaigns."
With the tool, Sky is promising to "put control in the hands of the marketers for the first time ever".
Before the launch of Sky Analytics, users had to get on a call with a sales rep to discuss their needs. Now they can access the portal to select segments and geographies, and buy direct.
Carnegie said: "[Advertisers] were interacting with sales individuals and that was fine, we wanted that human interaction at first to bring the capability to life, but we are confident now that the product is mature enough and everyone has enough education."
He compares this to buying a holiday: swapping the high street travel agent for a website to plan, build and augment holidays.
Now, advertisers can target households based on whether they are a 15-minute drive time from a store, whether they have a dog, their affluence levels, age, and gender. About one third of campaigns are built with a geographical element, a factor that is particularly important in getting local businesses and SMEs into advertising.
Carnegie offers some examples of how the data can be used, whether that is car insurance companies embedding first party policy renewal data to target households near expiration, or getting car dealerships to club together to locally tailor creative to point at the nearest showroom.
With features like this, Sky Media is "stretching TV into new markets".
But this is reportedly the first step in the roadmap, in building out the cross-platform TV advertising tool. The AdSmart team is currently eyeing live pricing and buying capabilities, while On Demand users will have additional planning capabilities.
Carnegie concluded: "We are trying to make sure that the richness of functionality does not make the process too complex. To attract TV buyers, the access into the product has to be as simple as possible.
"They have the ability to serve self and scenario plan, as TV continues to fragment, Sky will look to make it simple again."
UK broadcasters are in an uneasy alliance, looking to tempt advertisers back into the TV space as more budgets get siphoned into digital. This involves an educational drive in addition to making it easier to buy and track the performance of ads in the space.
But addressable TV has also been outlined as a new channel for diverse creative.
Debarshi Pandit, Sky's head of special projects and multicultural business, previously told The Drum that with these tools it could be "Christmas all year round" for brands.
He referred to the fact there is a significant segment of people that advertising doesn't speak to.
“77% of British Asians feel like UK ads have no relevance to them – that is around 4.5 million people," he said. "If you are commissioning creative that does not reflect the audience you are trying to reach, that it is a missed opportunity. With addressable TV we can help bridge that.”
At the time, he was piloting bespoke creative with Asda through the system to drive Ramadan footfall by serving relevant creative to households it deemed Muslim.