BSkyB and Open plan to merge sales teams

BSkyB is poised to merge Open’s sales department into its own, creating a one-stop buying shop for interactive TV advertising.

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

interactive icon.



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

functions.



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

company.



BT’s shareholding has been diluted to 19.9 per cent as part of the deal.