The satellite broadcaster first wrote to its 10 million-plus pay-TV customers about the launch of AdSmart in March 2011, but is at last ready to offer between 30 and 50 different brands major brands the opportunity to trial the scheme.
Able to store more than 500 ads on Sky+ set-top boxes and tailor them to households based on age, gender, income, and 64 geographical regions, most media buyers claim it will revolutionise the TV market by attracting a host of new advertisers to the medium.
They point to the likes of local takeaways, for whom TV advertising would have been too expensive, and high-end brands, such as Porsche, which have always shunned TV simply because it is too mass-market.
Many believe the system’s ability to provide ads in real-time will also help TV companies claw back budgets from the online market. The TV advertising sector is worth around £3.5bn a year; online spend is due to top £5bn in 2013.
Sky finance director Andrew Griffiths said: “By segmenting the audience, AdSmart has the potential to open up TV advertising to more brands and businesses.”
The broadcaster, which claims it is not tracking TV viewing to build up viewer profiles, says customers can opt out of the scheme at any time. And, according to a report in The Sunday Times, ITV could also offer the service as it uses the satellite platform.
Channel 4 has its own target ad scheme, although this is based on 4oD viewing. In March it revealed the first wave of big name brands to sign up to the service, with Microsoft, Nokia, O2, Unilever, Bulmers and McDonald’s heading the list.
The system is being powered by a digital ad product called Adapt, which brings together the broadcaster’s data insight with its 4oD scheme.
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