25 January 2021 The Irish Film & Television Network

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Virgin Media and Sky launch support funds to support smaller Irish businesses
26 May 2020 : Nathan Griffin
The two pay-tv funds are worth €1.25M collectively.
Virgin Media Ireland and Sky Ireland have both launched advertising funds in support of small businesses nationwide.

As part of its #BackingBusiness initiative, Virgin Media Ireland has launched a €1 Million support fund, with free on-air advertising including creative, production, profiles in relevant TV programmes and social media promotion across its full schedule covering Virgin Media Channels One, Two and Three.  

The Virgin Media #BackingBusiness initiative is designed to underpin the renewal and recovery of businesses in communities throughout Ireland in response to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. It’s open to businesses across the country and aims to give them a national platform to showcase their resilience and ingenuity during these challenging times. It will run until September, featuring as many Irish businesses as possible.  

Businesses from every sector will be profiled each week to include advertising airtime, ad creative and production, social media promotion, PR activity, content features and exclusive Virgin Media Business support package.

 Aidan D’Arcy, Director of Business at Virgin Media said: "Virgin Media reaches into every home in Ireland and our editorial, creative, production and commercial teams are really looking forward to bringing this programme to life. We know many businesses are finding things tough right now, particularly local SMEs who are at the heart of their communities, so we want to help them as much as we can while they deal with their current challenges and create new ways to keep their businesses and their employees busy."

The first six businesses to feature in Virgin Media’s #BackingBusiness campaign are PamperTheCamper.com, The Sensory Pod, StuffUNeed.ie, Nufields, Workspace Interiors and South William Clinic & Spa.

“For starters, these are six simply fantastic Irish businesses who we’re thrilled to support,”said Aidan D’Arcy. “As the economy gradually reopens in the weeks to come, we encourage consumers everywhere to rally in support of their local shops, businesses and service providers and to buy Irish wherever possible including online shopping and ordering by phone. This campaign celebrates and promotes the spirit of Irish businesses and their resolve to fight back, recover and succeed in spite of this unprecedented crisis. We’re really delighted to make it happen and we’re looking forward to hearing from businesses in every village, town and city across Ireland.”

Sky Ireland Support Fund

Sky Ireland has opened a €250,000 support scheme that will give 25 companies free television advertising airtime worth €10,000 through its AdSmart platform, which allows advertisers to target viewers by location or lifestyle.

The scheme, which has a closing date of May 29th, is open to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that have been trading for at least a year and have up to 50 employees. The SMEs must be either new to television or returning after an absence of 12 months and they must commit to making a 30-second television ad approved by advertising clearance body Clearcast. 

AdSmart allows advertisers to target certain subscribers rather than the entire audience of a particular ad break on Sky channels. The technology, which has been used by more than 100 brands since its launch, widens the appeal of television advertising to companies that might only want to reach viewers in certain regions or counties.

Director of Ireland sales for Sky Media, Malcolm Murray, said “It is important for small businesses coming out of lockdown to be able to tell people that they are open again.”

Mr Murray added applications were “coming in thick and fast” from a broad spectrum of businesses, including organisations from the finance, health, and education sectors, clothing and furniture retailers, and household product manufacturers. “Many of them may not have considered television advertising before,” he said.

AdSmart will also be extended to Virgin Media Television channels in Ireland later in 2020. The service has been available through Sky in the Republic since 2017 and will be extended to Virgin Media as part of a partnership between the two pay-TV companies in Ireland. This partnership sees AdSmart become available through the next generation of Virgin set-top boxes and further hyper-local targeting capability involving the use of subscriber Eircodes to target campaigns at television viewers.

How to Apply

For Virgin Media Ireland funding, business owners must send in a short email, outlining who and where they are, some of their main products or services and how they have coped and reinvented themselves through the current crisis. The ideal way to do this is to take a short video by mobile phone (including shots of the business premises). Applicants should email submissions to backingbusiness@virginmedia.ie or WhatsApp them to 089 611 1111.

Sky Ireland are accepting entries until 29th May 2020. To find out more information email adsmartfromsky@sky.ie

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