Media Behemoth Sky Says It Lost Almost 20% of Advertising Revenue Due to Restrictions on Gambling Ads

Oct 22

Media behemoth Sky has announced that its revenue from advertisers in the third quarter of this year has dipped by more than 18% mainly because of the restrictions that were imposed on gambling advertising. In all, Sky stated that its revenue is down to $446 million, a huge difference from the $545 million mark that it reached during the same period last year.

In the report that accompanied the official figures, Comcast — which owns Sky — discussed the reasons for the decline. The report states that the decline in revenue “reflects an unfavorable impact from a change in legislation related to gambling advertisements in the UK and Italy, as well as overall market weakness.”

All manners of gambling advertising, which include sponsorships, are prohibited in Italy. There are also bans on gambling advertising during live sporting events in the United Kingdom.

The UK’s whistle-to-whistle ban was enforced on August 10, 2019. This ban was launched just before the start of the lucrative English Premier League soccer season. Therefore, this ad ban only impacted less than two months of ad revenue figures for Sky. This means that future quarterly reports could see an even larger decline.

In all, ad revenue marks just 9.8% of Sky’s total revenue. The company did previously have its own gambling offering, Sky Bet. However, it was sold to the Stars Group for £3.4bn (or $4.36bn) back in 2018.

Sky has also said it lost almost 100,000 customers during the most recent quarter. It was only a year ago that Sky Limited was bought over by Comcast in a

deal worth £30.6bn (or $39bn).

Despite faltering quarterly revenue, the underlying profitability of the company did increase.

There has been an extensive campaign all around the world to curtail the prevalence of pro-gambling ads. The Italian government introduced its ad ban on January 1, 2019. MPs in the UK went back and forth for a long time about gambling advertising restrictions before finally agreeing on a whistle-to-whistle ban.

With the majority of soccer teams in the top two English leagues having gambling companies as kit sponsors, there are also calls to curtail this form of gambling advertising also.