Sky has today pledged an additional £1.5m to fund free advertising for small businesses hit by coronavirus.
The scheme will provide £10,000 of funding to 150 small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in the UK that have been running for more than a year with fewer than 50 employees.
Last month Sky Media, the advertising sales arm of Sky, debuted its SME Support Scheme with a £1m fund for 100 businesses.
The fresh funding announced today brings Sky’s total SME investment via the scheme to £2.5m and hikes the total number of small businesses supported to 250.
The advertising will be delivered via Sky’s Adsmart platform, which allows brands to show different ads to different Sky households watching the same programme, based on factors such as location, demographic and lifestyle.
David Sanderson, director of Adsmart local and development at Sky said: “We received over 1,000 entries in just five days when we opened the scheme — so now we’re extending it.”
“SMEs have a voracious appetite for targeted TV advertising at the moment. As lockdown eases more brands are returning to TV every day and advertising via Adsmart allows companies to reach their target audiences.”
Recipients of the original batch of funding have included small UK businesses that have been at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus, such as Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance and Buckinghamshire-based care provider Care & Care.
The additional funding comes as broadcasters continue to suffer a drought in advertising revenue as many businesses reduce activity during the coronavirus crisis.
Comcast-owned Sky posted advertising revenue of $513m (£412m) for the first quarter of 2020, down 13.5 per cent on the same period last year.
Analyst Omdia has forecasted global ad revenue will drop at least 7.4 per cent in 2020 as the ripple effects of the pandemic force companies to slash advertising budgets.