Sky has today launched a £1m fund that will provide free TV advertising campaigns to 100 small businesses hit by the coronavirus crisis.
The scheme is available to small and medium sized businesses that have been running for at least a year in the UK with up to 50 full-time employees. Companies can nominate themselves or be put forward by their customers.
The advertising will be delivered through Sky’s Adsmart platform, which allows brands to show different adverts to different households during the same programme based on factors such as location, demographic and lifestyle.
Sky Media, the group’s ad sales arm, said it will look to reward firms showing “true resolve and ingenuity” to keep their businesses running during the downturn.
“Businesses up and down the country are facing some of the hardest trading conditions in recent memory,” said David Sanderson, director of Adsmart local & development at Sky Media.
“We know that although there are economic slowdowns people are still spending money and we want to help brands connect to these audiences. This initiative is about giving businesses confidence in advertising and their ability to succeed no matter the situation.”
The scheme, which is open to firms that have not advertised on TV in the last 12 months, will allow brands to create a 30-second TV ad that will be aired across more than 100 channels.
The production of the ads will be supported by local creative agencies, as well as through a deal with Shutterstock, which will provide free access to images, video and music.
Small business minister Paul Scully said: “This government is fully committed to supporting SMEs through this challenging time, with £12.3bn in grants and 100 per cent government guaranteed loans of up to £50,000 through our bounce back loans scheme.
“However, we all have a role to play in the national response to Covid-19, so I welcome Sky’s announcement today, releasing a £1m Adsmart fund to provide SMEs with free TV advertising campaigns.”
The move comes even as broadcasters have seen their advertising revenue dry up during the coronavirus crisis.
In the first quarter, Comcast-owned Sky posted advertising revenue of $513m (£412m), down 13.5 per cent on the same period last year.