Now TV, Sky’s streaming service, is carrying ads on catch-up content for the first time, starting with mobile customers for its film and entertainment content today.
Sky said there would be “minimal ad load” and the inventory would be pre-roll only during the initial launch phase for a "small" number of mobile customers to test ad VOD capability and minimise any impact on user experience.
There are no ads on catch-up content on Now TV at present, but Sky now intends to sell packages that are Share of Voice partnerships. However, this means that VOD ads will not be sold programmatically or enable specific audience targeting.
The changes will not affect live streams of Sky channels, such as Sky Atlantic or Sky Sports, which replicate the ad breaks of the broadcast version.
In the coming months, Sky plans to roll out advertising to more devices, such as the Now TV app on Apple TV and the Roku-powered dongle that plugs into TVs. and on additional content packages (which it calls passes) that feature on-demand content.
Now TV Boost customers, who pay extra for full HD streams, will not see third-party ads in video-on-demand content. Sky added it will continue to include third-party ads in live HD channels, including Now TV promos.
Marina Storti, managing director at Now TV, said: “We’re delighted to be offering brands and advertisers a new opportunity to partner with Now TV and our wide range of high quality local and international content. We will be rolling out third-party adverts to our VOD offering on a phased basis, allowing us to test capabilities whilst ensuring we still deliver the best possible customer viewing experience.”