Sky moves to significantly reduce TV gambling ads

Sky has announced that it will introduce new rules aimed at significantly reducing the amount of gambling-related adverts across its digital TV network.

The firm revealed that it will allow “only one betting/gambling advert to be broadcast per commercial break” starting from the 2019-20 English Premier League season.

While much of the industry have voiced their dismay at such a development, it may well lead to a revenue boost for affiliates, with operators looking to the affiliate space as a way to spend the percentage of their marketing budgets that was previously reserved for TV ads.

Further supporting its upcoming policy, Sky detailed that it is developing new capabilities through its AdSmart technology, which will enable audiences to block gambling content from Sky and Virgin Media digital platforms.

At present, Sky targets June 2020 as the target period in which its aims to launch AdSmart viewer blocking capabilities.

Stephen van Rooyen, Chief Executive of Sky UK & Ireland, argued that the broadcaster was committed to supporting the UK’s safer gambling infrastructure through its upcoming policies.

“Our customers are worried about gambling ads on TV, and we understand their concerns. That’s why we’ve committed to limiting the number of gambling ads on Sky and better protecting those vulnerable to problem gambling.”

A key corporate directive for 2019, the corporation noted that it will implement its gambling reduction measures regardless of whether the UK government moves to implement a much-debated 9pm watershed on gambling advertising.

Reacting to Sky’s upcoming policy, Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS), described the broadcaster’s action plan “as a welcome move to protect vulnerable people from the impact of problem-gambling harms”.

As head of the DCMS, Wright called for further UK broadcasters to follow Sky’s protocol on gambling related content.

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