Open, the interactive TV service available on the Sky Digital
platform, was established in 1996 and originally backed by BT, BSkyB,
HSBC and Matsushita.
It is available free to Sky Digital subscribers and allows them to buy
goods without recourse to the internet - hence avoiding concerns about
The company is developing its services continually - it produced the
UK’s first interactive commercial in March, has introduced e-mail and is
increasing the number of retailers offering goods over the system.
Major names like Woolworths and Comet already offer their products for
sale, Blue Square provides onscreen betting and customers can even order
a Domino’s pizza through the telly. Open aims to have penetrated one in
four homes by the end of the year. Control of Open has just been
acquired by BSkyB.
Agencies Open uses MindShare for planning and buying, Ogilvy & Mather
for its creative work.
Total spend and the media mix Open spent pounds 6.2 million in the 12
months to May 2000. TV took the greatest share of this outlay - some
pounds 2.6 million.
Outdoor was not far behind. Poster campaigns are a favourite dotcom tool
for building brand awareness and Open appears to be following the dotcom
lead by spending pounds 2.2 million on the medium. Just over pounds 1
million was spent on press and there was a little direct mail activity,
some of which was run in tandem with Sky.
Spend details It is unsurprising to find Sky channels took the lion’s
share of the TV budget. Other satellite channels mopped up what was left
but there was no activity on terrestrial TV.
Open is promoted as a benefit of the Sky Digital package, rather than a
standalone service, hence the assumption it should be promoted to
existing Sky customers rather than to terrestrial TV viewers who might
be thinking of going digital.
The top publication for press advertising was the Skyview Digital
Other favoured publications were the Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph,
The Sunday Times, and The Independent.
The levels of spend went up in September and October, boosted by large
outdoor campaigns. February and March were lean periods for Open
advertising, which enjoyed a resurgence in April. TV campaigns ran in
the four months leading up to Christmas and picked up again in
Conclusion According to many commentators, we will all surf the net
using our TVs once the broadband digital technology is fully up and
Getting in early is often the key to achieving success in any sector and
Open is already off to a positive start. The company realised pounds 1
million of sales a week in the run-up to Christmas.
The future for Open seems bright, linked as it is to that of Sky
Digital, which is showing no sign of faltering in the face of
competition from ONdigital and the cable companies.
Research by AC Nielsen MMS tel: 01344-627553 www.mediamonitoring.com.