It is the addressable TV technology that started by storing alternative commercials on satellite subscribers’ set-top boxes, then grew in to one of the world’s most revered such systems.

Can Sky’s AdSmart now become a global standard in the deployment of household-targetable TV advertising?

After the European provider’s acquisition by Comcast last year, after it was merged with NBCUniversal’s own such technology and with its long-time leader Jamie West now leaving the company, AdSmart’s new pair of hands, Dev Sangani, sat down with Beet.TV to talk about the future.

Scale at home

Sangani says, at home in the UK, AdSmart, which even managed to be adopted by rival Virgin Media‘s cable platform, wants an even bigger footprint.

“In the UK, we’re established, we’ve reached scale, we’re at 40% of households,” he says. “We’ve recently signed Channel 4, we’ve got BBC using our technology to to give content recommendations and promos. So now for us, it’s about, ‘Can we get other platforms, can we get to a higher household penetration?’

“We’ve got a clear path to 60%. We know we can get there. We’ve got a roadmap to do that. The next big platform from us coming on stream is is Now TV, another incremental audience for us.”

The signature AdSmart would really covet, however, would likely be that of ITV, the UK’s largest commercial channel operator. ITV recently announced Planet V, its own self-serve platform through which advertisers can buy targeted ads in VOD or live streams as watched through its own multi-platform ITV Hub software. But that does not give ITV the ability to sell addressable ads in Sky’s satellite or Virgin Media’s cable linear TV offerings, which AdSmart could deliver.

A worldwide ‘standard’?

But Sangani, a career banker who joined Sky four months after after a sting covering media for McKinsey, hopes Sky’s seat alongside NBCUniversal at Comcast’s table will help drive AdSmart adoption outside of Europe.

“Now, we’ve got a bigger position in four dominant markets – UK, US, Italy, Germany – we’re in a real position to actually create a standard,” he says. “What I think we’d be missing from an advertiser perspective is consistency in approach (and) measurement.

“I think, because of this relationship, because of our established footprint here, we’re able to drive that consistency across the globe.”

In Sangani’s vision, AdSmart as a global standard would mean using CFlight as a global measurement metric. Sky has already announced it would use NBCU’s CFlight.

Looking back

Piloted in 2013 and launched in 2014, AdSmart was an early mover, delivering addressable TV when most people didn’t even know what that meant. It has become well respected.

Still, there are a lot of providers out there trying to create standardized methods, all claiming to be int he industry’s best interests.

“As we look back on the last five years, we’ve done something like 20,000 campaigns, a couple of thousand brands,” Sangani adds.

“We’ve interviewed 300,000 of our own customers to really understand what the power of AdSmart is. We’ve seen customers more engaged, (with a) higher intention to purchase, lower channel switching and more excited about seeing advertising.”

Sangani was interviewed by Furious Corp CEO Ashley J. Swartz.

This video was produced in London at the Future of TV Ads Global forum in December 2019.   This series is sponsored by Finecast, the global addressable TV company that is part of WPP.   For more videos from the series, please visit this page.