We believe Sirius will be invaluable to advertisers in enhancing RoI: Nitin Bawankule

Bawankule, Head – Ad Sales, Star & Disney India, tells us how Sirius, an end-to-end suite of advanced advertising solutions from Star & Disney India, will help brands

e4m by Simran Sabherwal
Published: Dec 1, 2020 9:04 AM  | 7 min read
Nitin Bawankule

Star & Disney India has launched Sirius - an end-to-end suite of advanced advertising solutions for marketers, media planners, and creative agencies. Sirius promises targeted audience reach, giving advertisers the ability to connect with more audiences efficiently. The advertising solutions specifically encompass four critical aspects of media planning, cross-screen measurement and planning, sharper targeting on TV, campaign evaluation and creative ad solutions to elevate the performance of the creative assets further. Taking this further, Star & Disney India have collaborated with Mediaocean, Kantar, TVision Insights, and Ipsos to add impact evaluation to advertising spend on television and OTT. With independent third-party ratified insights, Sirius solutions seeks to help brands unlock acumen into advertisement exposure to gauge metrics such as attention to advertising, and measure advertising impact on mind metrics and purchase behaviour.

In a chat with exchange4media, Nitin Bawankule, Head – Ad Sales, Star & Disney India, shares more.


What was the insight behind Star & Disney India developing Sirius?  When did you conceptualise this platform and how long was the development process?

There is a stark behavioural change in viewers' consumption patterns today. With the ever-increasing appetite of consumers for content and flexibility in consumption on TV and personalized devices, advertisers need to transform their outreach across linear and digital platforms effortlessly. Sirius, conceptualised around 18 months ago, is a powerful end-to-end-suite of advanced cross-screen advertising solutions for marketers and media planners. Sirius also solves the need for actionable measurement solutions that enables them to swiftly course-correct and then evaluate the impact of the campaigns. It took us 15 months to develop this solution.

How does Sirius ensure and guarantee the effectiveness of campaigns across Star India network and Disney+Hotstar in shaping business outcomes for brands. Can you elaborate on this? What are the metrics and RoI that can be garnered?

Sirius is an end-to-end suite of advertising solutions offering targeted audience reach, thereby giving advertisers the ability to connect with more audiences for the same budget or reach the same audiences more efficiently. The unique proposition of audience cohort targeting on TV allows for sharper focus that reduces peripheral wastage commonly associated with demographic-based targeting. The platform also allows advertisers to retarget the users on Disney+ Hotstar who have viewed certain advertising on the Star India network, allowing more powerful storytelling.

Attention insights help measure advertising engagement on TV, which will help marketers determine working vs non-working elements of the creative, creative fatigue as well as performance comparison across creatives.

Our panel with KantarWorldPanel is the first single-source panel in India that measures consumption on TV & Disney+ Hotstar and impact on business outcomes for Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) advertisers amongst the same set of households.

The uniqueness of our panel with Ipsos lies in the fact that it measures movement on mind metrics in response to advertising, amongst those exposed to advertising on TV & Disney+ Hotstar vs conventional tracks that rely on claimed recall. In addition to the above, we are in the process of offering ad formats that allow advertising without interruption, and at scale.

We believe that this powerful combination of cross-screen planning ad formats that increase noticeability, and impact measurement solutions will be invaluable to advertisers in enhancing their RoI.


What has been the initial response from brands and agencies?

We have witnessed a highly positive response from several sectors in the initial discussions and we have already started implementing pilot campaigns across CPG, automobiles and edtech industries.


While a targeted approach on Digital is the norm, TV is considered a mass medium. How are you ensuring sharper targeting on TV and reducing wastage on TV?

To ensure sharper targeting, we use Disney+ Hotstar’s proprietary data signals and a combination of client’s own proprietary data and external data sets to build the seed audience to reach out to. Exclusive representative members from our proprietary ACR panel are used to create custom cohorts. This helps us to listen-in to the viewing behavior of these cohorts and identify the high-affinity programme genres, day-parts, etc. that have a high skew amongst the defined custom cohort. 

The identified high-affinity shows, day-parts, genres become the foundation of the TV plan, thereby making the plan distinctive and representative to the viewing behaviour of the defined audience. This does away with the typical wastage associated with demographic targeting where a media plan for one segment looks fairly similar to another on account of relying on a common demographic target audience.  


How can advertisers optimize the content offering on the entire Star Network and Disney+ Hostar with Sirius?

Currently, advertisers can optimise the end-to-end suite of advanced cross-screen advertising solutions on all entertainment inventory across our Hindi as well as regional channels. We have made Sirius’ set of solutions available for entertainment inventory on Disney+ Hotstar as well.


Sirius promises a cross-screen measurement tool. However, the quality of data has always been a concern for advertisers across platforms. How are you addressing this and convincing agencies and advertisers about data concerns?

We believe there is a significant opportunity in enhancing the current cross-screen media plans.

In conventional practice, plans across linear TV and online video are firstly built separately or independent of each other without consideration of the common audiences across the platforms.

They are then brought together on tools that enable measurement of the net reach of the campaign. In order to estimate the duplication, industry practice is to use data from third party databases. However, the databases used to measure the overlap are static, get refreshed only once in 12-18 months and are unable to capture dynamic changes in viewing behavior that happen frequently across the year.

In our methodology, we continue relying on BARC data as the source of truth for planning the TV component. Disney+ Hotstar’s impression delivery can be vetted and measured through 3P industry tools. In order to measure the overlap of TV viewing amongst the Disney+ Hotstar universe, we have simulated the BARC panel amongst Urban TV homes through our proprietary ACR panel. In constructing our panel segments covering age, gender, location etc. we have applied the BARC universe weights.  The size of our panel is 0.6Mn individuals and the data gets refreshed every week similar to BARC. We do regular checks and comparison with BARC data to ensure that the output from our panel accurately reflects BARC trends. Thus while building a cross-screen plan, Sirius presents recent data with high standard quality output and ensures that we provide media practitioners with the ability to dynamically optimise their plans across Star India network and Disney+ Hotstar.


Are there any lessons from IPL that have been used for the cross measurement tool?  One can understand cross-selling with a property like IPL. But how will this work in the case of other content?

Currently, the Sirius suite of solutions are available for entertainment inventory.


Brands can have different objectives in their media plan when using TV and Digital. In this scenario, how does this cross-selling and integrated marriage of TV + Digital work?

Our audience is common across both platforms. Disney+ Hotstar is closest to television in terms of brand-safety, premium content, long-form engaging videos, with over 90% completed views of advertising. Apart from offering efficient and sharp targeting, through our ACR technology, we offer the possibility of re-targeting, sequential story-telling, and many more features to provide the best possible combination for brand-building.

With Sirius, you are addressing not just the ad spends but also promising solutions for creative agencies. Can you tell us more on why creative agencies should also sign up for Sirius?

Our attention insights solution helps track viewer attention effectiveness, which in turn, enables a deeper understanding of creative effectiveness, measure creative engagement, and avoid creative fatigue further helping marketers to make informed decisions during in-flight campaigns. Analysis of the working and non-working elements of the creative asset will be useful to the creative Agencies.


(With inputs from Javed Farooqi)

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