Market Insight

UK’s addressable TV ad boost as Channel 4 signs up to Sky AdSmart

September 20, 2019

Kia Ling Teoh Kia Ling Teoh Senior Research Analyst, Advertising and Television Media

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UK broadcaster Channel 4 has announced a partnership with Sky that will allow Channel 4 Sales to use Sky’s addressable advertising platform Sky AdSmart. 

As part of a wider multi-year content deal between Channel 4 and Sky, Channel 4 Sales will use Sky AdSmart to deliver targeted ads across its portfolio of linear channels, including UKTV and BT Sports, to Sky and Virgin Media households.

In return, highlights of Formula 1 and live coverage of the British Grand Prix will continue to be broadcast on Channel 4, while Sky and NOW TV customers will get access to more programming from the public broadcaster. 

Our analysis

The partnership is yet another addressable TV boost to the UK TV advertising market. Sky’s AdSmart platform was launched in 2014 as a pioneering targeted TV platform and is now used by partners including rival Virgin Media, its new owner Comcast-NBCU and Viacom (including Channel 5, Comedy Central and MTV). The platform enables advertisers to buy targeted ad at scale across linear TV and video on-demand formats, based on attributes such as location and demographic.

The deal with Virgin Media was announced in June 2017 and went live in July 2019. According to Sky, the partnership has pushed AdSmart into 40% of UK households, which covers roughly 30 million people. Following the Comcast buyout, AdSmart was combined with NBCU’s Audience Studio targeting capabilities to create a joint global offering across NBCU and Sky’s TV and digital portfolio.

The ad sales house of ITV has partnered with Singtel-owned advertising technology firm Amobee to develop an addressable TV network on the ITV Hub. According to ITV, the hub has more than 28 million subscribers, in which 79% are 16 to 34-year-olds in the country, registered on the service.  

Partnerships between broadcasting groups are a response to online giants Google and Facebook. Besides offering a premium video environment, partnerships provide greater scale and more well-established data sets from set-top boxes. To advance further, we may see Sky venture into the programmatic space, exploring the automated sale of TV ads.

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