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BSkyB Hangs Marketing Hat On Interactive Ads

By | November 1, 2004

      BSkyB, the U.K.-based satellite direct-to-home (DTH) operator, hopes its ambitious SkyView project finally will convince creative teams within advertising agencies about the power of interactive advertising. The panel, which consists of 20,000 homes and 60,000 individuals, will collect information about how consumers are affected by interactive advertising. Every set-top box (STB) will be downloaded with Sky View software, enabling BSkyB to track how much time people spend watching interactive advertising.

      Robert Leach, head of interactive services at BSkyB, believes the SkyView project will offer vastly improved research and “will be the springboard for the next huge leap forward in interactive advertising in the U.K.” The project should start to yield the first really interesting data in the second quarter of next year, and BSkyB claims it is one of the biggest projects of its kind to take place anywhere in the world.

      Interactive advertising has slowly off slowly in recent years, and BSkyB has now run more than 500 campaigns.

      But the SkyView project potentially will take interactive advertising to the next level. The project also will offer highly specified research, potentially linking consumers’ spending on products directly as a result of watching an interactive advertisement.

      Innovative Move

      With SkyView, BSkyB is working with TNS Media Intelligence to monitor consumer behavior. A number of the SkyView participants also will be on TNS panels, so BSkyB will be able to cross-reference data from different panels. Leach explains how this will work: “We will be able to say that this person saw the ad for Knorr Soup, they interacted with it for 10 minutes, they went to the shop and bought this many packets when prior to [watching the ad] they only bought this many packets. You will start to get real single- source data back, which will be useful in measuring effectiveness but also in terms of targeting advertising.”

      The panel will also help BSkyB in other areas. “We want the panel for a variety of reasons. It isn’t just advertising [although] advertising is a key driving force behind it,” he said. “We will look at things like viewing patterns people take before they upgrade, downgrade, churn out, etc. It will provide Sky with a lot of useful information outside of advertising.”

      (Robert Fraser, BSkyB,

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