April 18th, 2011

New Tech From U.K.'s Sky Offers Promise for Targeted Advertising

Ad Age Global

While marketers and ad buyers in the U.S. are wringing their hands over how to make addressable advertising part of the TV-viewing experience, their counterparts in the U.K. are also trying to figure out how to harness the decidedly mass devices to reach specific niches.

U.K. broadcaster Sky has developed the technology to dynamically insert ads into recorded programs and target those ads to specifically desirable demographic niches.

The pioneering satellite broadcaster, part-owned by Rupert Murdoch, is beginning trials for its new targeted advertising platform, AdSmart, next year, with plans to take it to market in 2013. Sky has already written to its 10 million customers to tell them about the service, promising that it will result in more relevant advertising.

Here’s how it works: Sky will store a library of ads on its set-top boxes, creating an ad server of sorts that can feed content to the TV screen when a desired ad break begins during a show being played back on a DVR. The challenge, executives say, is to stream the ads in a seamless way, so the viewer doesn’t notice.

The technology will allow Sky to update the ads that appear in recorded programs to make them more timely and potentially derive revenue from every ad served during subscribers’ DVR playback sessions. At present, Sky doesn’t get credit or payment for ads in shows viewed more than seven days after they were recorded.

One potential concern: tripping alarms about consumer privacy.

“Many consumers find the whole concept of personalized and targeted advertising creepy and strongly oppose the concept of ‘big brother’ registering what they are watching,” said Martin Olausson, director at Digital Media Strategies. “AdSmart is less invasive than some other solutions, but it will still seem intrusive to some people.”

Read more: http://adage.com/article/global-news/sky-offers-promise-targeted-advertising-adsmart/226998/

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