Sky to lose affiliate marketing champion Southgate

Sky is to lose its online marketing controller, strategy and planning, Helen Southgate who is to join performance marketing network Affilinet as UK managing director in mid-May.


Southgate, formerly chair of the IAB’s Affiliate Marketing Council (AMC), leaves as the broadcaster faces growing competition from Virgin Media and Freeview in both the internet services and television sectors.

The broadcaster was unable to provide a spokesperson by time of publication when requested by Marketing Week. Although, it’s understood Sky’s parent company BSkyB has yet to select a direct replacement for her role.

Southgate (pictured above, right) has been with Sky for over three years, during this time she was chair of the IAB’s AMC, and she presently reports to Gary Evans, Sky’s director of online sales and marketing.

Southgate, a co-founder of the IAB’s AMC, returns to the affiliate marketing sector as the online performance marketing industry, also known as affiliates, mounts a major charm-offensive on the wider marketing community.

This began in earnest earlier this year with an IAB and PwC study, claiming investment in the sector helped brands generate sales worth over £8bn last year claiming investment in the channel generated an 11-1 return on average.

Clare O’Brien, present chair of the IAB’s AMC, says the scheme is aimed at making brands aware of the direct benefits of using affiliate marketing channels.

“With ROI becoming one of the principle market-driving activity, it’s important that we show just what OPM can produce,” she says.

Practices such as affiliate marketing providers passing off paid-for commercial promotions as independent user-generated content or failing to disclose the commercial relationship between themselves and merchants in their network have drawn high-profile criticism from regulators.

In a ruling dating back 12 months, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) told brands they must punish affiliates carrying misleading promotions or face legal action.

“There’s too many well-known brands [investing] in this channel for poor practice to be tolerated… Big brands don’t want to be associated with poor practice,” says O’Brien adding the AMC aims to highlight that such practices are not mainstream.

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