CANNES — When Comcast acquired European satellite TV provider Sky last year, it didn’t just get a leading continental telco and TV operator; it also got one of the world’s earliest addressable TV pioneers.

Sky launched AdSmart back in 2014, using its own customer data to analyze viewers on advertisers’ behalf and sending household-specific linear TV ads to their set-top boxes – one of the first and widest-scale addressable TV deployments anywhere.

Following the acquisition, Comcast in March announced it would merge NBCUniversal’s Audience Studio with Sky’s AdSmart, whilst the pair said Sky’s Sky Media ad sales house, which sells inventory for both Sky’s owned-and-operated channels and others’, will adopt NBCUniversal’s CFlight metric across all content and platforms in the UK from autumn and in its other European territories next year.

This panel discussion at Cannes Lions saw executives who have driven the companies’ advanced TV initiatives talk about going even larger…

  • Jamie West – Deputy Managing Director Sky Media UK & Group Director of Advanced Advertising, Sky
  • Denise Colella – SVP, Advanced Advertising Products and Strategy, NBCU

The pair revealed to their host, MTM co-founder Jon Watts:

  • Sky’s AdSmart will be enabled across new TV channels in the next few weeks.
  • AdSmart will reach 65% to 70% UK household penetration in the future across all platforms, based on West’s projections.
  • The duo imagine bringing the functionality to South America.
  • It’s all being driven by brands which have an increasingly global outlook.

“We’re all now gunning for the same end game, which is consistency for an appetiser across global markets,” West said.

“We’ve enabled more and more channels and hopefully there’ll be more announcements about that in the coming weeks, rapidly scaling and the conversations with Denise and the team mean that we can go beyond little old Europe into the US and ultimately South America.”

In its home UK, AdSmart benefitted early by being deployed on the largest pay-TV platform, Sky’s own. It will soon be lit up also on rival Virgin Media’s cable network, taking penetration to 40%.

NBCU’s Colella explains the logic in using tis approach around the world.

“I think the benefit really comes down to our advertisers and their agencies,” she said. “They all are thinking of how do they take these audiences and leverage them in a global way that they’ve never done before.

“It really comes down to planning globally, but then activating locally … CFlight was an actual evolution of that because it gave us the ability to measure across channels.”

This video is from Cannes Lions if from our series, Capitalize on Convergence, presented by Amobee. For more videos from the series, visit this page. To find all Beet.TV coverage from Cannes, please visit this page.