Cisco and Sky showcase Sky AdSmart at CES 2015

At CES 2015 this week, Cisco and Sky, Europe’s leading entertainment company with more than 20 million customers, are showcasing the success of their advanced approach to addressable TV advertising.

Sky AdSmart enables advertisers to target different ads to different households watching the same live linear TV program based on over 150 different demographic criteria. After a year of operation in millions of Sky homes in the UK and Ireland, it has brought new TV advertisers, brands and revenues to Sky Media.

The industry-first, revolutionary approach to TV advertising jointly developed with Cisco will be privately demonstrated for the first time in the United States to Cisco customers and partners at its CES campus at The Wynn Hotel, January 6 – 9.

The technology overcomes the unicast nature of targeted advertising in the multicast environment of satellite operators.  By storing targeted ads on the DVR in the user’s home and then signalling which ads should be inserted into the broadcast stream, satellite operators can now pursue a new revenue opportunity which enables businesses and brands of varying shapes and sizes the ability to be more specific about which audience sees their ads. Advertisers can choose from various factors like age, location, and lifestyle when choosing their audience, and data is derived from a combination of Sky’s own data and publicly available information from consumer profiler experts such as Experian.

Sky is the first European broadcaster to offer targeted linear advertising to this degree of granularity and is the world’s first operator to offer an end-to-end targeted advertising system at scale. It has enabled brands and advertising agencies to increase their investments in TV advertising.

Sky partnered with Cisco to create new service control solutions for the Sky AdSmart ecosystem and integrate them into Sky’s existing video infrastructure, which included both internally- developed and third party components. Cisco contributions to the Sky AdSmart ecosystem from its Videoscape Cloud Solutions portfolio include:

•        Channel scheduling & playout automation interfaces
•        Digital encoder control and management
•        Metadata creation and generation
•        Digital mux and uplink capabilities
•        DVR disk storage and filing control
•        Conditional access and device addressability
•        De-mux and decoding of live and stored transport streams
•        Video presentation technology
•        Audience Measurement System
•        Appliance-level event logging and IP return path data reporting

To efficiently manage all these functions with frame-accurate timing end-to-end, Cisco also worked with Sky to develop next-generation control plane solutions that automate many aspects of this targeted advertising system.

Since the introduction of Sky AdSmart in early 2014, 357 advertisers based in the UK have run around 1000 individual campaigns using the technology. Of the advertisers that have used Sky AdSmart to date, 77 per cent had not previously advertised on TV or had not advertised with Sky. In total, 895 million Sky AdSmart impressions have been served in Sky homes.

Andrew Griffith, Group CFO, and Managing Director, Commercial Businesses, Sky, commented: “Our work with Cisco to develop Sky AdSmart is helping us make TV more relevant to more brands, by enabling them to segment the audience in this way for the first time. Our combined technology has made TV advertising accessible to brands that had previously thought TV too broad a medium, as well as to local advertisers who felt TV wasn’t focussed enough for them. Those brands that have made the leap are seeing huge success with Sky AdSmart and we look forward to advertisers spending more with us in 2015.”

Rob Lloyd, President, Development and Sales, Cisco, commented: “Cisco and Sky are longtime collaborators on this ambitious program. By enabling advertisers to target their campaigns more accurately with Sky AdSmart, we are enabling incremental  revenue streams in pay-TV advertising and attracting new brands to the medium with innovative tools that increase customization, personalisation and analytics for advertisers. Sky AdSmart is one example of how our Videoscape Cloud solutions fuel new growth opportunities for media and broadcast companies. We are excited to show off the immense potential of this revolutionary advertising model here at CES.”

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