BSkyB is readying a targeted ad service that could see viewers receiving adverts during live broadcasts based on their location, subscription package and viewing habits.
Small software tweaks to the AdSmart service would allow a service to begin being tested next year with a possible launch in 2013, according to sources.
New BSkyB subscribers are given a Sky HD+ box, whether they have subscribed to HD services or not. The Sky HD+ box contains two separate hard drives – one for viewers to record their programmes onto, and a second that stores "anytime" programmes and targeted ads.
While BSkyB is forbidden by law to deliver targeted ads to specific households, adverts can be 'matched' using a panel of similar users, based on factors such as location.
These tailored adverts would allow Sky to charge a premium for advertising on the premise that they were more likely to appeal to the specific viewer.
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While Sky denies such a system is ready, Jeremy Tester, commercial director at BSkyB, said testing could begin next year, according to Marketing magazine.
He said: "There is middleware inside the set-top box that is not yet ready to deliver live targeted ads. We do plan to test systems towards the end of 2012, taking it to market in 2013."