Advertisers and agencies are considering asking Sky Television to
return money after the broadcaster launched a new initiative which TV
buyers claim reduces the effectiveness of their ads.
During its Saturday afternoon football coverage on Sky Sports, the
broadcaster has been running ads which are squashed down to two-thirds
of their size, while the rest of the screen is taken up with ticker-tape
The thinking behind the Sky initiative is to try to keep viewers tuned
in to the station during the ad breaks, which in theory should be good
for advertisers. Sky, which has approval from the Independent Television
Commission for the move, claims that because viewers continue to receive
sports coverage during the break, they are less likely to switch
According to Sky Sales’ commercial director, Mark Wood, viewing to these
breaks is only down about 2 per centage points compared with the
programme itself, compared with an average of around 15 per cent for
’We think this initiative could be an advantage to advertisers, but this
is not the thin end of the wedge, we just want to see if it works.’
However, agencies say they were not told about the initiative, which
came from Sky’s programming team.
Agencies fear the initiative could reduce the impact of the creative
work and mean viewers are less likely to pay attention to the commercial
message, meaning advertisers are wasting their money.
The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising is looking into the matter
and compensation for those advertisers whose ads have been affected by
the initiative has not been ruled out.