Sky AdSmart targets TV adverts at you, yes, you

Sky's AdSmart system is taking the targeted ads we're used to seeing online and sticking them into the advert breaks of Sky programmes.

Richard Trenholm Former Movie and TV Senior Editor
Richard Trenholm was CNET's film and TV editor, covering the big screen, small screen and streaming. A member of the Film Critic's Circle, he's covered technology and culture from London's tech scene to Europe's refugee camps to the Sundance film festival.
Expertise Films, TV, Movies, Television, Technology
Richard Trenholm
2 min read

Adverts that know who you are and what you like have arrived in your telly. Sky's AdSmart system is taking the targeted ads we're used to seeing online and sticking them in the advert breaks of Sky programmes.

AdSmart ads are sent to your Sky+HD box ahead of the breaks. Then when the show cuts to a commercial break, your box chooses to show only adverts relevant to you.

Advertisers including Tesco, Littlewoods, Audi and Polo (the mint with the hole) have signed up to AdSmart, which can target a specific region or city -- allowing local businesses to advertise on telly -- or choose a specific demographic, based on factors such as "age, location and life-stage."

"Life-stage?" I'm going to let that sink in for a second while I go and get my breath back.

AdSmart targets audiences using general information on who is watching what, with a combination of information Sky holds on each customer and data from third party sources such as credit ratings agency Experian.

Sky's 'choose your own ad' venture is happening now for more than a fifth of UK households, on Sky 1, Sky 2, Sky Atlantic, Sky Movies, Sky Sports, Sky Arts, Sky Living, Challenge, and Pick TV.

Is this an invasion of privacy, or do you think that if you have to see ads they might as well be relevant to your interests? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page. We'll be right back after these messages -- don't go flicking!