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Sky Media is Upfront About Future Developments

Malcolm Murray, Sales Director of Sky Media

Sky Media hosted its annual Upfronts event this week with a number of key speakers, including Orlaith Ryan, chief commercial officer and Malcolm Murray, sales director, Sky Media, discussing recent business developments and outlining plans and opportunities for 2023.

Orlaith Ryan opened the event by talking about the busy year Sky has had – dominated by the launch of Sky Glass. The product’s entry into the Irish market allows Sky to reach customers they couldn’t reach before – opening opportunities in homes that couldn’t get a Sky dish. From a marketing and media perspective, it was the biggest ever launch in Ireland with a huge investment behind it, she said.

She added that being the primary partner of the Republic of Ireland Women’s National Team is hugely important to Sky and a highlight of 2022. “Our OUTBELIEVE campaign is an attitude that defines the team and is a rallying call to the entire nation to get behind and support them through thick and thin, to reach unprecedented heights,” she said.

She also pointed out that another highlight of 2022 was the launch of four new bricks and mortar flagship stores, which created 30 new roles within Sky Ireland.

Looking ahead to 2023, Ryan talked about Sky Ireland’s plans to launch Sky Mobile in Ireland, using the Vodafone network. This is a significant milestone in Sky’s continued growth in Ireland, enhancing their customer offering and aiming to bring value to customers with a disruptive and competitive mobile offering.

Ryan finished by talking about Sky Up, the company’s commitment to support people to succeed in a digital age. Sky Up aims to ensure that those most at risk of being digitally excluded are given access to the right skills, technology and connectivity. The programme will see €11m invested across Sky in Europe, with the first flagship ‘Sky Up Digital Hub’ opening in Dublin this November, in partnership with the Peter McVerry Trust.

For his part, Malcolm Murray spoke about how Sky Media achieved everything it set out to in 2022 under its three pillared plan.

Under “TV Business Growth,” he referenced the positive effect of new channel additions along with the extension of Sky News carriage to Saorview. This growth will continue with the announcement that Sky Crime and Sky Witness HD will be added to the channel portfolio and plans to further extend the reach of some of its channels.

The second pillar, “Accelerating VOD & Digital,” saw the enablement this year of advertising across live feeds on Sky Go and the NOW platform, with future plans to enable advertising across Virgin Media Television’s catch-up and boxset content on Sky+ and Sky Q platforms. Building on the Sky and Virgin Media strategic partnership, Sky Media addressable channels will also be available on the Virgin platform soon, increasing the universe size and reach of AdSmart campaigns, Murray said.

Under the pillar of “Leading Change,” he went on to share plans for the launch of two new targeting attributes next year which will allow advertisers to target households by income level and by presence of kids by age.

Murray added that he was particularly proud of the launch of “One Campaign” this year, simplifying the buying of campaigns across live and on demand platforms and reflecting how viewers are consuming content.  He went on to talk about Sky’s Landscape research that shows how advertisers can gain incremental reach by extending campaigns across all of Sky’s platforms.

Elsewhere, Trina Gleeson, head of investment at Sky Media went into more detail about One Campaign, outlining the benefits of this simplified buying process. She spoke about how One Campaign has been delivered in two phases. Phase One enables addressable AdSmart audiences to be bought and delivered as one. Phase Two addresses the industry challenge of a combined measurement for both linear and on demand and is a first for the Irish market.

Gleeson shared an example of a campaign from Phase One, demonstrating that on demand contributed 11.3 points of incremental cover, which was included in a total campaign reach of 73.6%. Phase Two allows targeting of the same audiences across linear and On Demand and is available to book from November. This phase is powered by C-Flight which calculates de-duplicated reach for combined linear and on demand activity.

Meanwhile, Ben Staves, head of digital, talked about how Sky is leading change in the digital space to keep up with rapidly changing viewer requirements. Staves touched on four key areas of investment to support Sky’s digital platform growth-technology, people, content and distribution. “We understand the changes in viewer behaviour and are bringing our world class content online. We are publishing more content across our digital portfolio, extending linear reach for key audiences,” Staves said.

He also showcased a recent partnership with Peroni Nastro Azzurro 0.0% as title sponsor of Formula 1 online video content, as an example of how advertisers can reach younger, harder to reach audiences.

Guest speaker on the day, Fraser Stirling, Sky’s Global Group Product Officer, was in conversation with Sky News presenter, Kamali Melbourne. With the very recent launch of Sky Glass in this market, Fraser spoke to Kamali about the key product design features.

“What makes Sky Glass so unique is the fact that it’s designed fundamentally for customers. You have all the content you love, all in one place – one power cable, one remote and you’re good to go. Aggregation is a key part of Sky Glass offering a simple to navigate UI making it as easy as possible to your favourite content and apps,” said Stirling.

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

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