The Fishbowl: Ruth Cartwright, Sky Media
The Media Leader’s interview series asks the media industry’s top salespeople revealing questions, drawn from our fishbowl. The questions are drawn at random and contain some tricky posers set by the commercial chiefs themselves.
This week is Ruth Cartwright, investment director at Sky Media.
Ruth Cartwright started her career at Channel 4 in sales, before moving agency side until she moved to her current role at Sky Media in 2021.
She has held various roles in AV at MediaCom, then Starcom/Mediavest, Maxus and Dentsu Aegis Network, over 15 years.
How did you end up working in media?
I didn’t study media at university, I studied politics and languages. Media wasn’t on my radar at all as a career then.
I had a university friend who started her career in out of home (OOH) and it just sounded like an industry I would enjoy — every time we met she would share her day and it was something I wanted to be a part of. I then specifically looked for roles in media and started my career on the sales owner side at C4.
Why are you passionate about media?
It is an industry that has afforded me so many experiences, friendships and career opportunities.
It is full of smart, ambitious people who are all striving to deliver brilliant, market-leading work and I genuinely feel very fortunate to work in media.
There’s never one day that’s the same and that provides me with a tonne of opportunity — what’s not to love?
What’s your best advice for someone who wants to do your job one day?
Commitment, hard work, and an ability to accept that it’s impossible to do everything, all of the time.
I love my job; my team are amazing and that makes it much easier to lean into the challenges.
My advice to anyone is to forge a good network of allies, friends and colleagues that can support you, give you advice but equally you need to return the support and advice when asked.
Which deal in your career are you proudest of?
I’m not sure I could call out a specific deal, however I’m very proud of being in a role that allows me to be visible for other women at Sky Media and the industry.
Being able to drive change or at least have a voice to make some change is something I really enjoy.
**Peer question** If you could work with any other media owner on a collaborative campaign for an advertiser, who would it be and why?
I think it’s really strong when the broadcasters come together — where there’s a joined-up story — but we each bring our own talent and strengths to the execution.
We did that with Tesco a few years back around Christmas and we’ve just launched a cross-broadcaster campaign for People’s Postcode Lottery between Sky, ITV and Channel 4.
**Question from Emma Callaghan, Reach sales and invention director.
What are clients most excited about right now?
There’s extra scrutiny on marketing spend to ensure it is having maximum impact.
We’ve seen a more than 300% jump in demand for our Determinism Web Attribution capability which helps measure the true impact of the TV advertising on web visits and sales.
We’ve also seen massive interest in our new Search Behaviour targeting tool.
**Peer question** What is a recent challenge you have faced in your current role, how you approached this and what was the outcome?
I think challenges come with the territory, my role is so varied and we work in such a fast-paced industry that there will always be challenges.
I think people watch you when there’s a challenge, they look to leaders to be calm and considered and I try to ensure that whatever comes my way I’m pragmatic about how I deal with it.
I realise I don’t have the answers to everything, so having a strong team is key.
**Question from Lyndal Beeton, head of brand and agency partnerships at PinkNews.
**Peer question** What has been your biggest, or most insightful mistake and what did you learn from it?
I’m not sure where to start with this question, I’ve made more mistakes than I’d like to admit!
I think half the battle with making mistakes is owning them. I make mistakes, so does everyone else.
It’s how you learn from them, how you behave following a mistake and I think the critical bit is looking for a solution.
**Question from James Cornish, vp of international sales at Vevo.
**Peer question** How is your business driving the change? Do you have any best practices or obstacles you confronted to share?
Sky has always been a relentless innovator and driving change — the whole reason Sky exists it that it challenged the status quo that four channels was enough.
Sky+ is a good example — brilliant for customers but the fast-forwarding of ads was seen by many in the industry as the death nail for linear. It was the hard drive in Sky+ that made AdSmart possible — a threat into an opportunity.
Here we are 10 years later and we’re still innovating and only now competitors are starting to replicate what AdSmart does and linear TV still accounts for 70% of all viewing.
**Question from Emma Newman, chief revenue officer EMEA at PubMatic.
What is one non-work related goal that you would like to achieve in the next five years?
I’d love to be able to return to doing some horse riding, I spent a lot of time when I was younger horse riding and if I could carve out the time to do that again it would be brilliant.
Trying to get the balance right between work, family and life in general, is something that’s certainly a goal for me.
Read more Fishbowl interviews here and see what media’s top salespeople say about working in the industry and what concerns their clients. To suggest an interviewee, contact email@example.com.