Sky continues pay-TV's programmatic migration with $10M investment into startup DataXu

UK-based operator Sky Plc. has made a $10 million investment into Boston-based ad-tech startup DataXu, signifying yet another move by pay-TV companies into the area of programmatic advertising. 

Founded in 2009, DataXu is a maker of programmatic marketing analytics, data management and media activation software. Its customers include Bose, Lexus, Ford, 3M, Mercedes-Benz and Vodafone. DataXu has raised $76 million to date. 

Sky's ad sales division, Sky Media, will work with DataXu to find ways to integrate the startup's products and services into Sky's broader media portfolio. 

"This investment will help us develop a deeper understanding of programmatic advertising, and play our part in shaping the market as it progresses," said Jamie West, deputing managing director of Sky Media, in a statement. "Combining Sky's knowledge, experience and innovation in advertising with DataXu's programmatic marketing expertise will provide exciting opportunities for both businesses, and most importantly, for Sky's advertising partners."

Sky's investment into DataXu represents only the latest migration by pay-TV operators into the programmatic area, as they look to better compete with more ad-tech savvy digital platforms. 

In October, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) rolled out what it called pay-TV's first programmatic ad exchange. However, AT&T (NYSE: T) offers programmatic services through its AdWorks unit. Cablevision (NYSE: CVC), meanwhile, bills its advanced audience targeting services as "addressable" advertising. However, given the loose definitions assigned to the various forms of advertising systems involving computer technology, some might consider what Cablevision does to be "programmatic."

Regardless of who you ask, "you're going to get a different definition of what programmatic is," said Mike Welch, VP of strategy, product and business development for AT&T AdWorks, in an interview with FierceCable last month. 

For more:
- read this Sky press release
- read this TechCrunch story

Related articles:
AT&T's Mike Welch on programmatic, addressable and the coming multi-billion-dollar advanced ad biz
From DAI to programmatic: Why advanced advertising is giving pay-TV operators a reason to stay in the video biz
Dish launches programmatic ad exchange for linear TV