Sky offers £1m free ad time to 100 SMEs in AdSmart scheme

Businesses will have access to Shutterstock library and support from local creative agencies.

SME100: open to companies that have been running for at least a year
SME100: open to companies that have been running for at least a year

Sky Media has launched the SME100, a scheme that will provide £1m of free advertising via AdSmart, Sky’s addressable TV platform, to 100 small and medium-sized enterprises across the UK.

To enter, companies need to fill in a form on the Sky Media site, with 100 entrants – chosen by an internal panel – each receiving £10,000 of airtime. The winners will receive help to create their ads from local creative agencies and through a partnership with Shutterstock, which will provide free access to its image, video and music libraries.

Sky said the scheme was meant to "reward the businesses that are demonstrating true resolve and ingenuity", adding that they would be representative of the whole of the UK.

The scheme is open to companies that have been running for at least a year and have between two and 50 full-time employees. Businesses can nominate themselves or be put forward by their customers. They must either be new to TV or have been off-air for 12 months, and cannot replace bookings already made with Sky.

The campaigns must be run by the end of July and will be delivered by AdSmart, allowing local businesses to reach households chosen by postcode area, household make-up and lifestyle attributes.

David Sanderson, director of AdSmart local and development at Sky Media, said: "SMEs are the lifeblood of our economy, making up 99.9% of all business in the UK. We know that although there are economic slowdowns, people are still spending money and we want to help brands connect to these audiences. This initiative is about giving businesses confidence in advertising and their ability to succeed, no matter the situation."

AdSmart has become widely adopted across commercial TV in the past year. Last spring, Sky’s parent company Comcast took the technology to its US operations. In September, Channel 4 joined the platform, and in November, the BBC started trialling its use to deliver personalised trailers.