Sky Invests $10M In DataXu, With Eyes Toward Real-Time, Addressable TV

bridgeThe British broadcaster Sky Media on Monday announced a $10 million investment in the DSP and DMP provider DataXu.

Sky hopes the relationship will help it better understand programmatic advertising, said Jamie West, Sky Media’s deputy managing director, in a release.

“The money substantiates the belief in each other’s companies,” said DataXu CRO Ed Montes about the deal.

While $10 million isn’t significant for a legacy DSP (compared to, say, Turn’s $80 million round in January 2014) and DataXu hasn’t earmarked the money for any specific product development, Montes said it represents a more formal commitment than a typical data-sharing relationship between vendor and broadcaster.

Sky has aggressively pursued real-time ad solutions for linear TV. It was also an early investor in the OTT television service Roku. Speaking to AdExchanger more than a year ago, West said Sky would definitely “move more toward an automated cross-platform solution.”

In 2014, Sky debuted AdSmart, a product that serves different ads to households watching the same TV program. The company came out with Sky AdVance late last year in an effort to apply the AdSmart product pitch to campaigns across mobile and digital channels.

And while Sky was building out these addressable TV products, DataXu, along with Rocket Fuel and TubeMogul, was testing the programmatic marketplace put in place by DISH Network late last year.

Like the Transcontinental Railroad, broadcasters and ad tech vendors each started working on solutions from their own side with the expectation of meeting somewhere in the middle. The partnership between DataXu and Sky, Montes said, is one instance of the two sides beginning to meet.

“Progress for targeted TV network data applications like this [is] going to seem very incremental,” said Montes. “Until at some point the pieces are in place to effectively automate the process, and then that junction will be a very profitable place.”

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