BSkyB is poised to merge Open’s sales department into its own,
creating a one-stop buying shop for interactive TV advertising.
The move follows BSkyB’s announcement on Monday that it has increased
its 32.5 per cent stake in Open to 80.1 per cent. Sources close to Open
and BSkyB say discussions are taking place about the sales merger and an
announcement is expected within the next six weeks.
In order to set up interactive TV sites for advertisers, media buyers
must negotiate with Open to buy a dedicated advertising location, or
DAL, and then with BSkyB to buy an advertising campaign with an
Negotiations are complicated, with disagreements over when premiums for
interactivity should be charged because the viewer cannot actually enter
the interactive site until the end of the advertisement.
But media agencies are upbeat about the deal. Nick Theakstone, the
broadcast director at MediaVest, said: ’The deal will simplify the whole
process of negotiating on the Open platform.’
Paul Parashar, the broadcast director at New PHD, said: ’It is a logical
extension that Sky takes this into its remit.’
BSkyB refused to comment. It said it was too early to talk about how the
deal with the banking group HSBC and the electronics group Matsushita,
which gives BSkyB a major shareholding in Open, will affect the sales
BSkyB has increased its 32.5 per cent stake in Open to 80.1 per cent by
paying HSBC pounds 225 million for its 20 per cent stake and by paying
Matsushita pounds 169 million for its 15 per cent stake in the
BT’s shareholding has been diluted to 19.9 per cent as part of the deal.