Magazine article Marketing

Sky Squares Up to the Big Boys

Magazine article Marketing

Sky Squares Up to the Big Boys

Article excerpt

Has Sky TV finally come of age? With a 9% share of all UK viewing, a heavy investment in new programming and a new marketing strategy, Conor Dignam finds a company convinced it has now arrived as a force to be reckoned with

Frank Bruno appeared on BBC1's Sportsnight last week a few days after his successful bid for the WBO heavyweight title was watched live by millions of Sky TV viewers.

There was no footage of the fight -- because Sky has exclusive rights -- and to make things worse, Bruno insisted on taking up BBC airtime to thank Sky for screening the bout.

Des quickly moved on. But Bruno had landed another successful blow for Rupert Murdoch's satellite station, after helping it to record viewing figures during his fight of more than 20 million.

Last week's record figures came in the same week as Sky launched its new 100m[pound]s autumn schedule -- the most it has ever spent on programming -- and confirmed it had appointed Duckworth Finn Grubb Waters as its advertising agency.

All three events reflect a new marketing strategy and philosophy for the station.

The appointment of Duckworth Finn will see Sky TV adopt a tactical and event-led strategy that will work quickly to try to exploit particular programming such as the Bruno fight or key "blockbuster" movie premieres.

The claim is to get the marketing message delivered with the caveat "this is what's on Sky -- get a dish or miss out". The point is to drive sales immediately -- getting consumers into shops that week for an event taking place at the weekend.

The style and format of the campaign, which will still opt for heavyweight above-the-line support through press, posters and radio, resembles the kind of tactical and aggressive drives favoured by newspapers.

Baited hooks

It is clearly a departure from the kind of brand building that Sky has banked on since launch, most recently spending more than 20m[pounds] in its 'No Turning Back' campaign through Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

But the station knows it has achieved many of its early goals and has clearly arrived as a force in the UK broadcasting market.

In August it accounted for 9% of all television viewing in the UK -- despite only being in 20% of homes.

Simon Morris, consumer marketing manager for Sky, believes it is now time for a change of direction. "People know who we are and what we've got to offer. They know that if its a top sporting event, or the UK premiere of a big Hollywood blockbuster, it'll be on Sky," he says. …

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