4 things we learned at Sky Media’s upfronts
Sky’s sales house Sky Media held its annual upfronts this week. Here are our four biggest insights from the event.
Sky original drama Gangs of London
Sky Media shared its plans for 2023 with agencies and brands this week at its annual upfronts. A major investment in short-form digital content and the inclusion of social into the buying, planning, and reporting process were among the announcements.
For reference, Sky Media in the UK counts Sky, Discovery, and Channel 5 in its ad inventory, reaching 93% of the adult UK population or the equivalent of 49 million people a month.
Sky Stream & Sky Glass
By 2027 Sky has estimated that streamed viewing will be up 140%, and digital viewing will be up 33% against a mere 6% growth for linear viewing. The mammoth growth in streaming has informed two of Sky’s new product developments, Sky Glass and Stream.
Sky is now the third largest supplier of TV sets in the UK behind Samsung and LG after launching Sky Glass in 2021. With sales in the hundreds of thousands, Patrick Behar, chief business officer Sky UK and Europe said Sky Glass “has opened more headroom of people that at younger and more streaming orientated.”
In September Sky rolled out a dongle product called Stream in a bid to capture customers who wouldn’t be able to fork out for a new TV. Early results have shown that 84% of Stream buyers so far have been prospective customers for Sky. Behar positioned Stream as an “icebreaker” product helping Sky reach “new customer segments who traditionally haven’t thought about having a Sky subscription.”
Sky is to ramp up marketing for Stream in early 2023 with plans to go above the line.
Short form push
According to Sky Media, investment in short-form content has grown 80% over the last three years and is being watched for around 26 minutes per day. Sky is to focus on translating its expertise in the broadcast world into short form.
The broadcaster currently generates about 3,000 clips per week, which are pushed out on its owned platforms and social sites. Sky reported that impressions for short-form entertainment content have increased 100% year on year, its sports content is racking up 0.7bn impressions per month and its Sky News YouTube channel is now the second largest UK YouTube channel.
Sky is to invest more money in editorial curation, so its short form has the best chance of breaking through. Graeme Hutchinson, director of digital advertising at Sky Media said: “We’ve found if you take any old clip from broadcast and pump it out on every platform its not going to do the same job. So, we are curating each bit of content to that platform and starting to see really good growth.”
Unifying linear, VOD and digital
With increased investment in digital content Sky’s senior team admitted it needed to do more to help buyers buy, plan and measure across linear, VOD, and digital.
The plan is for this technology to be made available in 2023 through its One Campaign tool so buyers can purchase a single campaign through AdSmart targeting the same audience and get a single report. Sky, Channel 4 and ITV’s fledgling post-campaign measurement tool C-Flight will be the report handed out to buyers.
The single planning tool will also be able to recommend a budget to maximize the unduplicated reach of a campaign. Next year Sky Media will also roll out a self-serve digital tool where customers will be able to use Sky Analytics to plan buy and report all digital inventory.
Although, Hutchinson confessed: “It’s really hard to do and we aren’t going to make any promises for dates but it’s coming down the line.”
Brand v performance marketing
According to Sky Media, the concept of brand v performance marketing is outdated. The AdSmart team is planning to start advising clients to converge brand awareness and performance marketing. Sky data has shown brand campaigns are driving an average 38% uplift for web visitors in the first 10 days of exposure. Proving that the two different methods of marketing no longer need to be siloed.
“How do we operate further down the marketing funnel?” Hutchinson questioned. “There is a debate over what is the best balance between brand and performance, we think there think there is a case for a really premium performance video proposition.”
To help advertisers start merging the two marketing methods Sky Media will be talking to its clients in January about how to drive more marketing-style KPIs like leads, sales, etc. “To deliver the performance we need to understand data and prove it is working,” Hutchinson added.
Meanwhile, Sky data has demonstrated the strongest brand uplift seems to be coming from nine to 10 ad exposures and the optimum seems to be around three per week.