Sky, Virgin Media Forge Targeted TV Advertising Pact

Two competitors, Sky and Virgin Media, have struck a strategic partnership to deliver data-driven, targeted TV advertising across the platforms of both service providers.

The partnership, which clearly shoots for scale around targeted TV ads, will involve a potential audience of about 30 million TV viewers in the U.K. and Irelands, they said, holding that those numbers put them on par with leading social networks.”

The agreement covers both targeted linear and VOD advertising, and will involve technology developed by Liberty Global, Virgin Media’s parent company, as well as Sky’s AdSmart platform. They will develop a “one-stop buying point” via Sky Media for targeted ads, with impressions served across Virgin Media’s and Sky’s addressable set-top boxes.

Sky noted that there are currently more than 100 AdSmart-enabled channels, including its own channels as well as A+E Networks (History, Lifetime, Crime + Investigation) and Viacom (MTV, Comedy Central, Channel 5). NBC Universal, including its Universal Channel, is set to join that list.

In Ireland, Sky AdSmart is currently in the test phase and will enter the roll-out phase in the “coming months.”

Virgin Media’s Pat Kiely, managing director of TV3 in Irelands, and Jamie West, group director of advanced advertising at Sky Media, will head up development of the strategic partnership, the companies said.

“Quality programming deserves to be supported with quality advertising. In partnering with Sky we’re putting the UK and Ireland at the forefront of TV advertising innovation,” Virgin Media chief exec Tom Mockridge, said in a statement. “We’re giving consumers advertising that is more relevant to them and giving brands a trusted destination to deliver intelligent, tailored TV campaigns to a targeted audience.

Addressable TV is the high quality, brand safe and transparent medium that leading brands have already been adopting in their thousands,” added Sky Group’s COO Andrew Griffith. “Today’s partnership takes that to the next level with the extension of AdSmart to millions more homes meaning more relevant ads for Virgin customers and a larger platform for advertisers.”