Sky appears to be discussing with Open the possibility of
increasing its ownership of the service and seizing control of its sales
Industry observers said Sky wants to ’flex its muscles’ and bring Open’s
sales in-house to improve the delivery of interactive ads for retailers
on the site.
Once the whole operation is under one roof, it will benefit Sky’s
offering to agencies.
To achieve this, it is has been suggested that Sky will buy the other
shareholders’ stakes in the service.
The company now holds a 25 per cent share in the TV service. Other Open
shareholders include BT, HSBC and Matsushita/Panasonic.
One broadcast director said Sky, along with clients and agencies, was
frustrated by the current service.
’It’s not possible to link the TV adI buy on Sky to Open. It’s
frustrating for the client, who is paying high rates for representation
on Open, and annoying for agencies that can’t deliver what was promised
nine months ago,’ said the director.
Agencies say Open and the other shareholders will comply with Sky’s
demands because if Sky threatens to pull out, it will leave the TV
service in a fragile position.
’Most of our clients are already in talks with Cable operators’ NTL and
Telewest, but what they are really interested in is Sky’s three million
However, one source suggested the service could not be improved until it
had acquired a high-speed link allowing the service to carry more
At the moment, Open can only post up to 20 ads a day across all Sky
Another agency insider said: ’If I were a betting man, I’d predict Sky
will make a bid to own at least 50.1 per cent of Open before the end of