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July 24, 2014

TV advertising and the smaller retailer

Do BSkyB hold the answer to making TV advertising more accessible to the smaller retailer / eTailer?

While TV was traditionally the domain of the large brand with huge marketing budgets, over the years, this has changed and become more accessible to smaller advertisers.

While ITV, C4 and five have been traded regionally for a very long time, the premium paid for the ‘terrestrial’ channels was often too high for smaller regional retailers. So, is TV still completely inaccessible?

Sky historically have boasted much cheaper Cost Per Thousands than the ‚Äòterrestrial’ stations. However, due to their improved content, their prices have become more aligned with some of the other traditional channels. This linked with a 6% year on year increase in revenue and slight decline in audience which has caused inflation (according to a trusted source who works as a TV planner); this points at TV being less accessible than ever to the smaller retailer or eTailer. Although Sky do have a trick up their sleeve.

AdSmart service launched

In January of this year, Sky launched their long awaited AdSmart service. This is a great example of where technology is facilitating a more targeted approach to communications, potentially making it more accessible to more businesses.


The technology allows the Sky box to effectively be used as an ad server. This enables the box to serve more relevant content to different viewers. Not only can an advertiser decide whether they go to households in a given region but they can also be targeted towards homeowners, people in certain demographics, certain income ranges and even mosaic types. This is a level of targeting which has never been available in TV before.

I also understand that they can even split the ads by room in the household. So, if there is a box which is frequently tuned into Nick Jr or Cartoon network, this might be defined as the Kids box thus it would receive different ads to a one box tuned into Sky Atlantic and Dave.

AdSmart Case Study

Does this mean that TV is suddenly far more accessible to retailers and eTailers? The answer is that for some it is. The below link will take you through to some case studies (please note you will need to put your e-mail in there) and as you can see for the likes of Hendy Ford it worked:

Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 14.12.22

Now in this example, they have a very high ticket product so they will undoubtedly take a broad view on CPA. For most eTailers, the premiums charged for this degree of targeting are currently fairly high which will mean that many will struggle to justify the increased cost per thousand. That said most industry leaders do agree that this really is a game changer.


I say watch this space. The costs may not work for your business model right now but Sky are really changing the TV market with this. Undoubtedly over time, prices will change and others will follow their lead adopting this or similar technologies. So in time, I believe that it will become far more accessible.