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Sky Media Looks To The Future At Upfronts Event

Sky Media hosted its annual Upfronts event online earlier this week and participants heard about some new developments and current trends  from JD Buckley, CEO Sky Ireland, Malcolm Murray, Director Of Sales, Sky Media Ireland and Fraser Stirling, Chief Group Product Officer, Sky.

JD Buckley opened the online event by talking about what a unique year 2020 has been for the industry and how Sky had adapted and responded to the challenges present by Covid 19 by quickly transitioning to a remote operation, closing retail shops, postponing installations and coping with the absence of live sports.

He said the focus moved to servicing existing customers by making calls to Irish landlines free, providing Sky Go Extra at no extra charge, pausing Sports subscriptions and making a range of movies available on same day as global premieres.

Looking ahead to 2021, Buckley talked about Sky Ireland’s plans to grow broadband business and more growth in NOW TV, a 2020 success story amongst younger demographics. These plans include the roll out of VOD advertising on NOW TV later in 2021.

Sky Media Ireland’s Malcolm Murray
Pictured: Sky Media Ireland’s Malcolm Murray.

For his part, Malcolm Murray started by talking about 2020 challenges and achievements, referencing changes to the Sky Media channel line-up, linear and VOD audience growth as TV viewing surged during lockdown. He also talked about the expansion of analytics capabilities to include AdSmart planning, the addition of Light TV Viewers to AdSmart targeting attributes, and the delivery of the first European cross territory campaign bought out of Dublin for Kaspersky.

He also noted that Sky Media was pleased to have launched back in May, a SME25 initiative, gifting 25 businesses a free AdSmart campaign worth €10,000 to help them and demonstrate how TV could drive their business.

Murray then went on to share plans for Sky Media to accelerate pace of change into 2021, through premium content and data-driven technology.

He also touched on the introduction of four brand-new channels and the widening of advertising opportunities on these channels –  Sky Documentaries, Sky Nature,  Sky Arts and CBS Drama.

In terms of AdSmart, Murray discussed that its targeting capabilities now includes Geo-box, allowing advertisers to drop one or multiple Eircode pins anywhere in Ireland and target a box within a radius of that location, from a minimum of 2km by 2km up to a maximum box size of 100km x 100km.   This will give advertisers more opportunity to reach their ideal audience in the engaging and brand safe world of TV, he said.

He also said that from December it will be possible for advertisers to target using any combination of the 139 first 3 digits of an Eircode known as the routing code. This is a first step to bringing in full Eircodes, a pre-requisite of custom targeting, where advertisers can overlay their own customer database with Sky’s, he noted.

In addition, Murray talked about Sky Media’s Web Attribution product in partnership with TVSquared, a proposition enabling advertisers to fully understand the effect of TV advertising on their web traffic by using tracking ID from Adobe which is created when a Sky customer logs onto a Sky website, with a tag provided by TVSquared that sits on the advertiser’s website.

Referring to its C-Flight measurement tool, he added that “this exciting post campaign measurement tool will enable reporting cross-platform delivery metrics by allowing de-duplication of reach and frequency across Live and On Demand, by audience. And in standardising measurement allows a single currency across all Sky platforms, making it much easier for agencies to plan & buy and get a complete view of what they’re getting for their money.”

“Then, the natural progression is to allow agencies and advertisers to buy as one,” he adds. “One Campaign is a holistic planning tool that will transform the TV landscape by focusing on audiences not platforms, one currency, one simple way to book, manage and measure campaigns.

“I am really excited about our plans to accelerate our pace of change. Myself and the team are looking forward to working closely with our clients to help drive better business outcomes through our premium content and innovative platforms,” he adds.

The guest speaker on the day, Fraser Stirling, Group Chief Product Officer, Sky also provided participants with an update on new features recently rolled on Sky Q and Sky Go.

“We’re making Sky Q even more personalised and easier to navigate, so you can find more of what you love, all in one place, easy. We’re continuing to add new features with updates almost every week, so your Sky TV experiences keep getting even better,” Stirling said.

A recording of the event is available on request by emailing skymediaireland@sky.ie