Sky Media is to stop selling red button interactive advertising on its channels, saying that there is no longer demand for the service. Instead, Sky is focussing on the opportunities provided by the green button and the future possibilities of targeted advertising. Sky will continue to offer interactivity through the red button for programmes and channels, for instance to allow viewers to access news, sport and weather information.

After launching interactive advertising on Sky back in 2000, the red button was used to access additional information and request further details from advertisers. At its peak in 2006 there were 160 interactive campaigns but this fell to 60 in 2009.

Interactive campaigns from current advertisers, including companies like Ford and Toyota, will cease to run on Sky channels and those for which it sells advertising. The red button service is expected to continue on ITV, UKTV and Virgin Media channels, as their advertising is sold separately.

Sky is concentrating on its green button service, which allows viewers to record longer-form advertising on their digital video recorders. This is more cost-effective for advertisers as the additional media can be broadcast once and stored on the box, rather than being continuously transmitted.

Jeremy Tester of Sky Media said that although red button still delivered impressive results for brands, “With more than 6 million homes now having access to Sky +, we believe local storage is the most efficient and effective way to deliver long-form, lean-forward advertising.”

Sky is also developing targeted advertising based on subscriber profiles. Currently used on its online Sky Player service, this will eventually be implemented on broadcast channels, using adverts stored on Sky+ digital video recorders.

Interactive advertising on broadcast channels can be expected to become more seamless and sophisticated with the adoption of hybrid devices and displays that include a broadband return channel.

William Cooper of informitv will be speaking about interactive and addressable advertising at a conference in Amsterdam on 11-12 May.