ITV keen to use Sky's Adsmart for television's greater good

09 Jun 2016  |  David Pidgeon 
ITV keen to use Sky's Adsmart for television's greater good

Kelly Williams

The managing director of ITV's commercial operations has said opening Sky's Adsmart technology up to other broadcasters would help strengthen the wider TV ad market as it squares up to new commercial threats.

Speaking at the Connected Consumer Conference on Wednesday (8 June), Kelly Williams said established TV broadcasters were set to compete more aggressively with "online giants" moving into the television market and that sharing the tech felt like the "correct" thing to do.

"It's a potential opportunity, and clearly it's up to Sky as to whether they let other broadcasters use it, but I think longer-term there's a view that it would be the right thing for television advertising in general.

"I might be wrong, but it feels like the correct thing to do. We're probably going to be competing more aggressively with big online players within the TV ecosystem, so I'd like to think that platforms like Adsmart open up for the good of TV advertising."

Launched in January 2014, Sky Adsmart tailors what is shown in TV ad breaks according to a household's profile and location. Around 1,000 advertisers have run more than 6,000 campaigns via the tech, with many regional advertisers attracted to TV for the first time because of the ability to target households by location.

The tech offers more than 1,200 different attributes to target Sky households and the agency response has been enthusiastic. The tech has won numerous awards, including a Connie in 2014.

Asked if Sky would licence the tech to other broadcasters, head of Adsmart, Graeme Hutcheson, said he was "open" to discussion.

"We built the platform as a fairly dynamic piece of tech that we can essentially lift and shift into any broadcast system," he said.

The kind of design has worked well in the past, according to Simon Thomas, global director audiences research at GroupM.

"Channel 4 did the best thing for a free-to-air broadcaster here by partnering with Freewheel. Now we have brilliant tech that is used by a number of pay TV stations in the States, and by German, Dutch and Danish companies."

However, the next concrete move for the platform is to roll out to European markets - with Hutcheson confirming that Adsmart will arrive in Italy next month and Germany soon after.

Elsewhere during the conference, Williams said ITV's future ad innovation was structured around three key areas, from building "deeper and more integrated partnerships" with advertisers right through the business, to developing better targeting on ITV Hub buy merging "the best of TV with the best on online advertising."

Williams added that short-form content was also a continued and strong focus for the broadcaster and its clients.

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