Sky announced today that is has invested $10 million (£7 million) in DataXu – a US firm which provides data and analytics tools for use with programmatic campaigns.

The Boston-based group has an offering which fits nicely into the realms of Sky Media, the advertising arm of Europe’s broadcasting giant. 

As a reach mechanism, DataXu analyses a reported 100 billion “digital advertising opportunities every day”, handing these over to its advertiser and agency clients for use with automated ad buying. Sky is also looking to satisfy a host of advertisers and has acquired an equity stake in DataXu with the view to bolstering its capabilities in programmatic.

The partnership is being earmarked as a way of Sky’s advertiser clients improving the return they gain from the broadcaster’s inventory, both with and away from the TV screen.

A connected audience

The deal follows a recent trend by Sky in pledging funds towards companies which can help develop its own business. 

Video streaming group TV4 Entertainment and online video startup Pluto TV are just two of the firms to have received investment from Sky, which hoped to improve the understanding of its audience as a result.

With DataXu, the benefits are likely to fall at the feet of Sky AdVance – a platform launched last October which allows advertisers to deliver sequential campaigns to viewers. For instance, by connecting with AdVance, a brand can make sure a message that someone has seen online is followed up with a similar spot on TV.

Jamie West, deputy MD at Sky Media, alluded to the investment being a big step forward in terms of the broadcaster’s support of innovation.

“This investment will help us develop a deeper understanding of programmatic advertising, and play our part in shaping the market as it progresses,” he commented. 

“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.”

Readings from CrunchBase show that DataXu has now raised over $65 million in funding since starting out in 2009. The firm also checked in with PerformanceIN on a few occasions last year – its marketing director, Berit Block, labelling  2015 as the year programmatic ‘shook the marketing ecosystem’ by valuing transparency in trading.