U.K.'s BSkyB Invests in U.S. Ad Tech Company Sharethrough

BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch Headshot - P 2012
Courtesy of BSkyB

BSkyB CEO Jeremy Darroch Headshot - P 2012

It is the latest investment by the pay TV giant in early-stage companies

U.K. pay TV giant BSkyB, led by CEO Jeremy Darroch, has invested $5 million in U.S. advertising technology firm Sharethrough.

It said on Tuesday that the capital injection was part of its strategy to drive innovation by partnering with emerging technology companies.

Sharethrough focuses on "native advertising" and offers software that enables publishers to monetize sites and apps with ads that are non-interruptive and stylistically similar to the surrounding content.

BSkyB has also invested in such tech companies as video streaming firm Roku‎ and second-screen app maker Zeebox. Earlier this year, it raised its stake in Virtual Reality Technology Firm Jaunt.

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Last year, it invested in California-based technology startup 1 Mainstream, which operates an app creation platform for the distribution and monetization of TV content on tablets and other devices and services.‎

Last year, BSkyB, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, became the first U.K. media company to work with Sharethrough to offer native advertising on skysports.com.

Through the investment and partnership, BSkyB's advertising sales house Sky Media will offer its clients access to Sharethrough’s native advertising software. The company will also use native advertising itself to market Sky TV, Sky Broadband and online-only video service Now TV.

Emma Lloyd, BSkyB's director business development, said: "This new partnership continues the work we’re doing to harness exciting technological developments and integrate them into our business. We’re pleased to be deepening our relationship with Sharethrough and look forward to building new links with other startups and tech entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Europe."

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Added Jamie West, deputy managing director, Sky Media: "This investment in Sharethrough builds on our leadership in advertising innovation ... enabling us to offer even more options to advertisers on Sky."

The BSkyB investment was part of a larger strategic financing round of $10 million for Sharethrough with such previous investors as Floodgate, Elevation Partners, North Bridge Venture Partners and Silver Creek Ventures also participating.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai