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Sky invests $5 mn in ad technology firm Sharethrough

MUMBAI: UK pay TV service provider Sky has invested $5 million in the US advertising technology firm Sharethrough as part of its strategy to drive innovation by partnering with emerging technology companies.

Sharethrough offers ‘native advertising’, offering software that enables publishers to monetise their sites and apps with adverts that are non-interruptive and stylistically similar to the surrounding content. For advertisers, Sharethrough’s software provides them with an automated solution to match online ad campaigns to the webpages they are hosted on.

Sky adds that its investment builds on a successful relationship between the two companies which began last year when Sky became the first UK media brand to work with Sharethrough to offer native advertising on skysports.com.

Through the partnership, Sky’s ad sales house Sky Media will offer its clients access to Sharethrough’s native advertising software. This further expands the options available to advertisers running campaigns across Sky’s range of online sites and mobile apps. Additionally, as one of the Britain’s leading advertisers, Sky will itself benefit from adopting native advertising to market its growing portfolio of products and services, including Sky TV, Sky Broadband and Now TV.

Under the terms of the deal, Sky Media MD Jamie West will take a board observer position at Sharethrough. West has spearheaded the launch of Sky’s tailored advertising service Sky AdSmart, which offers brands the opportunity to make their advertising more relevant by delivering TV adverts based on a household’s profile. When Sky AdSmart launched last year, Sky became the first broadcaster in Europe to offer tailored advertising in live TV ad breaks.

The new partnership with Sharethrough builds on Sky’s on-going programme of investment in innovative startups. Sky has already invested in a series of pioneering technology companies, including the IP streaming service provider Roku, the immersive 360 video specialists Jaunt and the video delivery firm 1 Mainstream. Earlier this year, Sky opened up a dedicated office in San Francisco to help it continue to forge new partnership with tech startups.

Sky director business development Emma Lloyd said, ‘This new partnership continues the work we’re doing to harness exciting technological developments and integrate them into our business. We’re pleased to be deepening our relationship with Sharethrough and look forward to building new links with other startups and tech entrepreneurs in the US and Europe ’.

West said, ‘This investment in Sharethrough builds on our leadership in advertising innovation which we’ve already established with Sky AdSmart, enabling us to offer even more options to advertisers on Sky.’

Sharethrough founder, CEO Dan Greenberg said, “Partnering with Sky is our latest step in advancing Sharethrough’s vision to help publishers around the world find new revenue streams across all platforms, especially mobile. There is already a rapid shift towards native, in-feed monetization as a key revenue driver for all publishers in all markets. Our industry-leading software will enable publishers and their brand clients to deliver content programs at scale.”

Sky’s $5 million investment was part of a larger strategic round totalling $10 million, which included current Sharethrough investors such as Floodgate, Elevation Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners, and Silver Creek Ventures.