5 ad tech trends to look out for in 2017: Siddharth Gupta, Chief Business Officer, GreedyGame

From header bidding and ad fraud to viewability, Siddharth Gupta, Chief Business Officer, GreedyGame, shares five ad tech trends to watch out for in 2017


With digital ad spends surpassing TV ad spends in 2016 for the first time since 2004; 2017 seems to be the year of digital with everyone focusing on what’s the ‘Next-Big-Thing’. Here are some of the ad tech trends that you should look out for:


1. Header Bidding


The ability to allow multiple advertisers to bid on the same ad spot simultaneously to determine the best price is called header bidding.


When people started growing tired of how Google’s ad server favoured its own exchange, publishers reworked their tech stacks to offer inventory to multiple ad exchanges simultaneously before making their ad calls. This was the advent of header bidding. What started as a short-term hack is now considered as the next evolution towards improving revenue for publishers.


2. With new techniques comes new Ad fraud


With header bidding spreading faster than a forest fire, it is essential to nip this one in the bud - domain spoofing.


Domain spoofing creates the illusion of buying premium inventory when in actuality; the programmatic buyers are buying imposter sites through the open exchange. Over time, misrepresented inventory can cost the legitimate inventory sold by publishers reducing eCPMs as imposter sites can never deliver on the same quality.


This activity will become harder, thanks to IAB Tech Lab’s new tool call called ads.txt. Similar to robot.txt for websites, publishers will need to now put a text file on their site listing all the exchanges they work with. Buyers can send crawlers to scout publishers’ sites and collect these lists. DSPs can then choose to filter inventory so buyers only go through those listed exchanges.


3. Viewability - the next great metric


For all branding campaigns, the first metric that is now being most valued is viewability i.e. the ability for an advertiser to determine if the ad was actually seen.


Simply put, it is a way for an advertiser to gauge the quality of the impressions that they are paying for. This is being considered as a welcome move by everyone. Advertisers can now start demanding for inventory that’s actually seen and pay only for viewable impressions. This should reduce the available inventory for qualified impressions. Once the impressions volumes decrease, the publishers will demand higher CPMs in order to retain revenue.


But there are some issues which still loom around this metric such as the right percentage over which viewability will not impact campaign performance, standardisation of measurement as numbers vary across vendors since each claims to use a superior technology than the other. We shall find soon enough how this pans out in 2017.


A quick tip for advertisers, a solution to viewability is to go native with the ads.


4. Cross device tracking


The digital consumer has always had a habit of spreading his/her behaviour across devices, now more than ever with 3.6 devices on an average. Companies such as Drawbridge and Tapad are now claiming to aggregate information about ads served on smartphones, tablets and desktops, and then use statistical models to infer who is using which device. Most of these work on probabilistic models and the exact accuracy of these are unknown at the moment. We shall wait to see what 2017 holds for us.


5. More focus on the user


Publishers want to clean up and improve user experience while maximising monetisation opportunities. Advertisers realise that what’s best for everyone—cleaner ad tech, improved focus on ad experience and better ad creative.


Advertisers want effective ads, not wasted spend. The year 2016 saw advertisers leaning higher towards social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat in order to combat their fear of fraud. This resulted in driving up CPMs but driving down advertiser ROI.


In 2017, advertisers are expected to index back to the broader media market to gain lift in ROI and rebalance pricing. The trend will be further accelerated because of doubts planted by Facebook’s metrics mistakes, the decline of Twitter growth and the exposure of large botnets throughout these platforms.


(The author is Chief Business Officer at GreedyGame)


Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com


 

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Draft e-commerce policy: Will it benefit homegrown OTT platforms?

The e-commerce policy, if implemented in its present form, may prove to be a threat to Originals from global OTT platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime, say experts

OTT

The draft e-commerce policy, if implemented in its current form, is most likely to act as a boon for homegrown OTT platforms with respect to Originals. 

According to the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT)’s draft national e-commerce policy, an e-commerce platform with foreign investment cannot exercise ownership or control over the inventory sold on its platform. Thus, the e-commerce policy may prove to be a threat to Originals coming from global OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hotstar. In the absence of Originals from these platforms, homegrown OTT players like Zee5, Voot, Alt Balaji and Hoichoi could turn out to be the direct beneficiaries of the draft policy, say experts.  

As per DPIIT’s policy, the terms ‘e-commerce’, ‘electronic-commerce’ and ‘digital economy’ can be used interchangeably as per the context. It says e-commerce includes buying, selling, marketing or distribution of goods, including digital products and services, through an electronic network. The draft also covers delivery of goods, including digital products, and services either online or through physical means.  

“Going by the definition in the draft e-commerce policy, OTT falls under e-commerce on the virtue of being a digital product in the e-commerce marketplace,” said Atul Pandey, Partner at Khaitan & Co, a law firm.

Most OTT platforms have been betting high on the Indian market and have been working towards capturing the Indian audience. Earlier this year, Hotstar announced setting aside a budget of Rs 120 crore for production of Original content, just for the Indian market. It has even tied up with big names like Salman Khan for these projects. While Netflix has already released five Originals for the Indian market and have eight more planned for this year, Amazon Prime too is going big with Originals and have an upcoming action thriller series with Akshay Kumar.

“During liberalization there were fears about Indian industries losing out to companies from the developed world. But the Indian manufacturing and services sector has actually grown in leaps and bounds after the end of the Licence Raj. The OTT industry is facing a similar scenario. E-commerce policies should not stop foreign players from running originals. There should be level playing field so that consumers are able to get the best of content and the players thrive in a clear competitive environment. Only then will the Indian OTT platforms be forced to become world-class if they want to survive,” said an insider.

Vishnu Mohta, Co-founder of regional OTT platform Hoichoi, agreed competition, in any form, was good for the industry. “There might be a slight advantage if global players do not show Originals.” 

“We are in a nascent stage and the OTT eco-system needs to grow in many folds. People should have more options to get hooked on to this platform,” Mohta added.

Meanwhile, Atul Pandey shed some light on how global OTT players could still co-exist in the Indian market. “If at all the draft e-commerce policy is implemented there can be ways by which Originals by global players can still exist on their platforms. These platforms can work with producers and become mere broadcasters of the shows,” Pandey added.

Content is king & queen for Abundatia Entertainment: Vikram Malhotra

Malhotra, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Abundantia Entertainment, talks about the firm's growth as an independent motion pictures studio and how it plans to stand out amidst the clutter

vikram

The OTT space in India is booming with new web series and Original movies, but at the same time turning into a cluttered space. Vikram Malhotra, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Abundantia Entertainment Private Limited, an independent motion pictures studio, spoke about how they plan to stand out in the crowd.
 

Malhotra, who has been associated with Balaji Telefilms and Viacom18 Motion Pictures, established Abundantia Entertainment in 2013 with focus on progressive content. The company recently roped in Akshay Kumar for a show currently titled ‘The End’. 
 

Excerpts:
 

Tell us about the growth of Abundantia in the digital space, first with the 2018 hit series ‘Breathe’ on Amazon Prime Video and now another bigger show in the making with Amazon itself?
We created this company with two building blocks: listen to the audience and look out for talented storytellers. This is a completely different ecosystem from the film word. We started with learning about the industry and partnering with like-minded people. As a result, season 2 of ‘Breathe’ is bigger, not just in terms of the budget, but also the ambition and storytelling. ‘The End’ and ‘The Men Who Killed Gandhi’ are the other Originals now in development in Abundantia, which runs as an independent division within the company.  

 

What is the focus of Abundantia Entertainment?
We will continue building on the journey that we’ve had. We were among the first movers and in many ways the pioneer in the premium digital and long-form content space. Our focus is to continue building on that, enabling talented and young storytellers. 2019-20 is very important for us. A lot of work, which is being developed for the last 2 years, will get into production and reach the audience. For us, this year is about working harder than ever before.

 

With ‘The End’, Akshay Kumar has also moved into the web space, recognising the upward trend of digital consumption and popularity of the medium. What kind of response are you expecting from the audience?
At this stage, we are not burdening or labelling ourselves with any form of expectations. We will treat it the way we treat all our other shows. We want to tell an extremely compelling story, a story that would entertain all. Our aspiration is to create a story with a global appeal, but anchored in strong human emotions and in a uniquely Indian form of storytelling.

 

Tell us why Abundatia is investing so heavily in the OTT space? What are the technical aspects and what is the business for the OTT space?
For us, investing means investing of resources and not just financial investing. We are a company that leverages our intellectual capital and not necessarily only the financial capital. For us, investing means putting out our best talent, putting our time and energy in nurturing this talent and getting them to tell the best stories because this is the way of the future. Technology is now in the hands of consumers. We have been fortunate to be at the forefront of this kind of revolution in India.

 

You have recently introduced two new verticals to the firm, Psych and Filters. Can you throw some lights on these two?
Abundantia has always been at the forefront of reading consumer insights and supporting progressive and non-conventional story-telling.  Psych caters to content in the horror genre, which is finding a growing market in India. Filters will concentrate on the booming ‘global young adults’ audience segment, with stories that talk to viewers in their language. Horror and Young Adults are two segments that have a globally seamless audience base. We hope to create innovative and engaging platform-agnostic content in these verticals that will connect with audiences worldwide. At the same time, our team is hard at work to continue telling compelling stories to the mainstream audience through a strong slate of feature films and shows.

 

With so many web series and OTT platforms in the business, how do you plan to stand out from the clutter? 
It is an extremely cluttered space for web series in India right now. There is nothing better than delivering quality stories. At Abundantia, our attempt has never been to be different just for the sake of being so.  For us, the quality and nature of the story and how it would resonate with our audience is going to be the differentiator and that’s what we aspire. Content is king and queen and this is the time for us to understand that anything sub-standard, any content that does not deliver value for money or time for the audience will be rejected outright.

Twitter India launches #LokSabhaElections2019 emoji to light up election conversations

Twitter India is also launching a special election emoji for encouraging healthy participation in election-related discussions

Tweet

Twitter India has welcomed the Election Commission of India’s SVEEP (Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation Program) @ECISVEEP onboard the platform. 

Twitter India is also launching a special election emoji, aimed at encouraging healthy participation in election-related discussions and encouraging more people to go out and vote.

The Election Commission of India’s Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation program (SVEEP) on Twitter (@ECISVEEP) is set to raise more voter awareness through the platform. The handle was launched on Holi and one of their first campaigns on Twitter #DeshKaMahaTyohar is about ensuring no voter is left behind. 

By introducing the emoji, Twitter India hopes to make it easier for Indians across the world to join the election conversation on its platform. Available now until 31st May, the emoji features a panoramic coloured illustration of the Parliament of India. 

People can Tweet in Hindi, English, Bengali/Assamese, Gujarati, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Odiya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu, to activate the emoji. 

Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Kumar Sinha said, “As we move closer to the 17th Lok Sabha election in the country, we are committed to ensuring fair administration of the electoral process, by equipping India’s voters with accurate and adequate information to make their choice. We are proud to extend this commitment with the launch of our new handle on Twitter. @ECISVEEP would allow us to further the aim of building a stronger democracy, by encouraging all eligible citizens to be aware and active in the voting process, thereby maintaining and enhancing the sanctity of the electoral process. It’s our wish and hope that all voters will participate in the coming national election 2019 in an informed and ethical way.”

Mahima Kaul (@misskaul), Director, Public Policy and Government at Twitter India said, “India is the world’s largest democracy and the upcoming election is a key priority for us at Twitter. Over the past several months, we have taken significant steps to safeguard the integrity of conversations and enhance the health of our platform. Election-related conversations dominate the platform today, and we are honoured to have onboard the Election Commission handle @ECISVEEP to encourage voter awareness and education. Citizens will receive crucial information directly from the Election Commission on Twitter and in turn they can engage with and amplify accurate and positive information to their community.”

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UC Browser ropes in Virendra Sehwag and Irfan Pathan for IPL in-app activities 

Cricket-related videos, GIFs and memes will be available on UC Browser

UC

UC Browser, a third-party mobile browser and a content platform, has announced multiple in-app activities in a bid to meet the rising demand for cricket content during the latest edition of the Indian Premier League. 

UC Browser, part of Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, is partnering with cricketers Virendra Sehwag and Irfan Pathan for the course of the IPL, starting March 23. 

The two cricketers will be cheering and supporting their respective teams on the UC platform. Exclusive cricket-related short videos, GIFs and memes will also be available on UC Browser. Leading smartphone maker OPPO is lending its support to the campaign as a sponsor. 

UC Browser is also offering cricket fans and users a chance to win a total of Rs 1 crore by participating in an exciting Play &Win Game on the browser. 

Sehwag and Pathan are challenging UC users to participate in the game and take the Captain versus Users challenge. For the first match, Sehwag is placing his bets on RCB whereas Pathan expects an easy win for CSK. 

Users can also guess the right answers for every match and win UCoins, which can be exchanged for Paytm Cash. UC Cricket, UC Browser’s in-app channel for cricket content aggregation, offers all-in-one live cricket content, including live scores, news, videos, photos, live commentaries and more.

UC Browser will also be launching a new campaign to select UC Miss Cricket, giving its 130 million monthly active users another reason to get on the platform this cricket season. While users follow the updates of their favourite team and players on UC Browser, they can also pick cheerleaders to support their beloved teams. 

UC Browser will be shortlisting contestants from all the entries received. Users get a chance to vote for their top pick through their mobile app. UC Browser will reward the most-voted contestant with a cash prize and winners will enjoy exclusive entertainment industry resources and public exposure provided by UC and its partners. OPPO is the exclusive sponsor for the campaign. 

Damon Xi, General Manager of UCWeb India and Indonesia, Alibaba Digital Media and Entertainment Group, said, “As a user-oriented content platform, UC has excelled in providing specialised curated content for its users. Cricket is India's most popular sport, which is reflected in the level of online content consumption. The announcement of Sehwag and Pathan as UC Cricket Captains comes as part of UC’s content strategy for the Indian market, in line with its promise to generate rich and enjoyable localised content via short videos, memes, GIFs and more. This year, UC will also be launching the UC Cricket Fun Columns with exclusive commentary and inputs from Pathan in a bid to reach the wider cricket audience.”

Relaxo ventures into the digital gift voucher space with GyFTR

GyFTR will enable end-to-end execution, technology, and delivery for Relaxo to create more visibility in the end-customer market through digital gift vouchers

relaxo

Footwear brand Relaxo Footwears Limited is now foraying into the digital gift voucher and loyalty points redemption space with GyFTR (Vouchagram), an online-to-offline (O2O) peer-to-peer gifting platform. The association gives Relaxo access to GyFTR's comprehensive gifting ecosystem and will include brand listing across top online catalogues, seamless and instant gifting/redemption and 24x7 customer support. The partnership is expected to bolster sales and customer acquisition for Relaxo, with GyFTR serving as a lucrative alternative sales channel for the brand. 

The Relaxo vouchers being powered by GyFTR are redeemable across its 300+ listed brand outlets across the country in values ranging from INR 100, INR 250, INR 500, INR 1000, INR 2000 and INR 5000. The vouchers can be clubbed with ongoing promotions and offers. Users can even combine and redeem multiple gift vouchers on the same bill. 

Commenting on this association, Arvind Prabhakar, Co-Founder and CEO – GyFTR, said, “Relaxo has been a popular offline brand for more than four decades has created a strong consumer base on the basis of its powerful merchandising, retail expansion and advertising. Its maiden foray into the digital voucher and redemption space with GyFTR will help the brand replicate its offline success with the rapidly growing online consumer base in India. We are confident that Relaxo will benefit from the differentiation that our extensive partner ecosystem of leading online brand catalogues in India will facilitate, registering a significant increase in transactions and hassle free customer acquisition.” 

GyFTR currently services more than 2 million customers and has a clientele of 135+ active brands. The platform manages end-to-end execution, technology, and delivery for brands and facilitates seamless gifting across multiple geographies. It has been revolutionising the segment by making the experience of receiving a gift like a ‘gift’ in itself through its proprietary technology.

India to be $10tn economy in 2030, says D Shivakumar of Aditya Birla at ISA CEO Conference

Shivakumar, Group Executive President Corporate-Strategy and Business Development, Aditya Birla, talks about how digital as an emerging market is a huge unifier and not a divider

shivakumar

The second edition of the ISA CEO Conference that was held on Monday saw many dignitaries talk about the connectedness paradox. D Shivakumar, Group Executive President, Corporate-Strategy and Business Development, Aditya Birla, gave an insightful speech on Rethink and Rework, Competitive strategies for a new interconnected paradigm. 

Speaking about being interconnected, Shivakumar explained how more than advertising, engagement would be the key in the coming days. “Every business connects to the other. No business is an island. Every event that happens has an impact on your business. You recognise that if you want to stay in an interconnected world. In the next decade, you will be more interconnected than you can imagine.”

Shivakumar explains how everything we use today - be it phones, cameras or clothes - are all interconnected. “All toys are from China, speakers from Vietnam, cameras from Japan and apparels are from Bangladesh,” he pointed out. “The best global brands are the best local brands today. Global best brands like McDonald’s adapt their menu to their relevant country. In India, they have aloo tikka.” 

Coming to statistics, Shivakumar made some interesting predictions regarding the fate of digital India in the coming years. He predicted that India would be a $10 trillion economy in 2030. “About 60 per cent of that will be domestic consumption. India has always been a domestic-led market. China is about 40 per cent. India will be richer, younger and a more educated country, and also more connected.” He also shared how the income of the Indian middle class would change dramatically in 2030.

Furthermore to his analysis of what India would be in 2030, Shivakumar continued, “India will be digitally united by 2030. Digital as an emerging market is a huge unifier. It is not a divider. India will have 1 billion people on the internet via smartphones. We have skipped once and for all the laptop age, we flirted with tablet era, that’s also gone. Now, the phone screens will go bigger and will have all the functionalities of either a laptop or a tablet, we tend to use the phone a lot more. Smartphones will be a dominant tool in the future.”

Shivakumar also reveals how video will become big in the coming years. “Search engines are going vernacular. We have seen that with concepts like ‘Who wants to be a Billionaire’ or ‘Dancing With the Stars’. All these big concepts globally, when translated into vernacular, are as popular in Odisha, Tamil Nadu or Kerala as it is in the USA. Consumer voice matters a lot and if you are not serious about taking that right into your boardroom, then you will be in trouble.”
India has the cheapest data price in the world. It is at $0.26/1GB of mobile data whereas Switzerland has the highest price of $20.22/1GB for mobile data. “Everybody is talking and sharing with everybody. This is the interconnected world we live in. India has the second cheapest handsets in the world. So if you see, to enable interconnectedness, we have two of the biggest ones already,” explained Shivakumar.

Digital transparency will ensure newer business models. “For example, the subscription business model of Bombay Shaving Club. We have never thought of the subscription business model in the pass. Only a subscription business model that was successful in India in the past was magazines. But I believe more and more business will get into subscription today,” Shivakumar said. He also broadly explained how renting furniture would become a big business in future. That’s because people don’t want to own. They would rather pay money. “Why I am renting? Because I am closer to the information of seller buyer and user. I know exactly who used it and what I am willing to pay,” said Shivakumar. He also mentioned how it would be the same in the case for cars, apparels and many more. As for e-commerce, he predicted that ease of shopping would be a huge factor for interconnectedness.

Premiumization will accelerate and the growth will be 53 per cent with more attention grabbing technology at the point of purchase. Consumers will give their right arm for both education and health. Training in companies will be interconnected now. Health and food sector will grow dramatically in the next few years, he added. 

The physical distribution of technology will not work anymore in this digital age. “Those who are big today, the digital guys will mercilessly murder them. They have zero cost, have all the margin and premium. If they play smart, India is waiting to premiumize and waiting for better options,” Shivakumar signed off.

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MyTeam11 launches campaign on 25 TV channels targeting T20 & World Cup Cricket season

Regional channels have also collaborated so as to maximise the reach and offer a familiar feel to the audience by offering them information in their native languages

Myteam11

Fantasy sports website MyTeam11, announced a collaboration with 25 television channels across the music, news, sports and knowledge sharing genres among others, in a massive campaign targeting the upcoming T20 and World Cup cricket season.

MyTeam11, who have popular former India cricketer Virender Sehwag as their brand ambassador, has a user base of around 10 million+ active users and offers fantasy cricket, fantasy football, fantasy volleyball, and fantasy kabaddi in two formats, namely the “Safe Play” & the “Regular Play,” being the only platform to offer multiple playing options to its users.

A significant number of regional channels have also been collaborated with under the aegis of this association, so as to maximise the reach and offer a familiar feel to the audience by offering them information in their native languages.

Commenting on the development, Vinit Godara, CEO and Co-founder, MyTeam11 said, “We are planning to become the leading brand in the world of fantasy sports, and the upcoming cricket season involving T20 leagues and the ICC cricket world cup seems to be the right fit for our plans. With this collaboration we want to reach out to people in every nook-and-corner of the country and encourage them to use their talent, skills & knowledge of the game to earn while enjoying their favourite sport.”

Prior to this collaboration, Myteam11 had signed some noteworthy deals with various sporting properties like the RuPay Pro Volleyball League, Karnataka Premier League and others as their ‘Official Fantasy Partner’.

These associations become pertinent in their attempt to outgrow as an organisation and target people who are not much familiar with the concept of fantasy sports. In the words of the company leaders, they are presently targeting on reaching the remote locations of India, spreading the word regarding fantasy sports.

MyTeam11 had also previously partnered with DSport, a premium sports channel of Discovery Communications, as ‘Official Broadcasting Partner’ for the India-Australia series and as ‘Broadcast Co-presenting Partners’ of the Bangladesh Premier League. They had also inked a deal with DD Sports for the India-New Zealand T20 series held recently.

Inshorts launches Digital Magazine

Digital Magazine aims at getting the customers to engage with the advertiser’s brand story allowing the readers to not just flip through the pages but to intrigue them enough to do so

Inshorts

Inshorts, the English news app, has launched its new advertisement format - the Digital Magazine. Launched in 2013, Inshorts has more than 200 advertisers who use the platform to reach out to relevant customers. By innovating Ad formats like Fact Cards, HTML Ads, Inshorts has aimed to create a unique and non-intrusive format of advertising. Keeping in line with Inshorts’ constant vision of coming up with more of such relevant and creative ad formats for new age brands who want to connect with netizens, Inshorts has released yet another engaging format of advertising coined ‘Digital Magazine’.

Strongly advocating that creative content in today’s time cannot be restricted to only text and allowing brands the opportunity to connect with their audience in different and distinct ways; Digital Magazines are designed to include GIFs, videos and polls to keep the audience interested. Similarly, since millennials like to share interesting and relatable content among their peers on social media, they can now share the entire magazine on their social media or via WhatsApp. 

Digital Magazine aims at getting the customers themselves to engage with the advertiser’s brand story allowing the readers to not just flip through the pages on the go but to intrigue them enough to do so. 

Speaking about the launch of Digital Magazine, Azhar Iqubal, Co-founder and CEO, Inshorts said, “Today native advertising is on the rise and brands today need new and creative ways to get their message to their millennial audience and get them to actually listen. With the launch of digital magazine ad format by Inshorts, brands can now engage their audience with content which can be entertaining and insightful, and connect through a non-intrusive medium.”

Due to interactive content, low cost production and distribution as compared to traditional magazines, digital magazines are progressively catching the eyes of the marketing and advertiser community. Inshorts digital magazine has already helped some global brands like Netflix to get 3x more engagement as compared to text ads for its new series - ‘The Umbrella Academy’ within just 2 weeks of its release. Apart from this, Inshorts had also partnered with Netflix for its original series - Narcos and Cadbury for its Valentines’ Week campaign. 

Further commenting on the launch, Piyush Thakur, National Sales Head at Inshorts said, “We are a company which is known for innovation and industry first. We are known for interesting and engaging products both from user and advertiser prospective. Digital Magazine takes our commitment a step ahead in that direction where it not only serves advertisers prospect of engaging with the user but also enrich user with right kind of information in interesting and crisp manner. We strongly believe, with our commitment, hardwork and farsightedness we will continue to challenge traditional media with our unique and interesting offerings.”

Vodafone Idea & Zee Entertainment add a new dimension to content partnership

The partnership provides customers easy access to ZEE5 content; the portfolio includes original shows and films, premium movies, digital movie premieres of upcoming blockbuster films, and more

ZEEL Vodafone idea

Telecom operator Vodafone Idea Limited and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) announced a strategic partnership for OTT platform ZEE5. Under the strategic partnership, aimed at driving the growth of digital ecosystem in India, the content portfolio of ZEE5 will be available to Vodafone Idea customers on Vodafone Play as well as Idea Movies & TV app.

Customers of Vodafone Idea can now enjoy the entire content catalogue of ZEE5 thereby providing a seamless viewing experience via multiple devices. The association between the two industry leaders will help create a beneficial ecosystem for viewers that will drive the growth of video viewing in smaller cities and towns in times to come. The content of ZEE5 can be accessed by customers through Vodafone Play or idea Movies & TV app. The ZEE5 content is available across 12 languages like English, Hindi, Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati & Punjabi across genres like Kids content, Cineplays, Live TV and Health and Lifestyle content.

Commenting on the partnership, Avneesh Khosla, Operations Director - Marketing, Vodafone Idea Limited said, “Our customers are constantly seeking rich and diverse content options and we aim to provide enriched entertainment to our customers by offering high quality content on Vodafone Play and Idea Movies & TV. We are happy to partner with ZEE5 and bring their library of content to our customers. Our insights on customer preferences, salience and relevance along with ZEE’s deep understanding of the Indian content viewership habits are being brought together through this partnership. We are happy to offer the entire catalogue of ZEE5 along with 2 exclusive channels to our customers as an introductory offer.”

Speaking about the association, Tarun Katial, CEO, ZEE5 India said, “ZEE5 and Vodafone Idea lend themselves to a complementary partnership. Having established ourselves as the fastest growing OTT platform in India with the largest repertoire of content, we have attracted subscribers across geographies and demographics. We have an ambitious growth plan charted out for us and through this partnership with Vodafone Idea, India’s largest telecom company, we will leverage synergies between the brands and further bolster our presence across the country.”

Through this alliance, Vodafone Idea subscribers will be able to access the content repertoire of ZEE5:

  • LIVE TV offering of ZEE’s Network content on Vodafone Play and Idea Movies & TV through ZEE5 app
  • Real-time broadcast of shows that are being telecast on any of the ZEE channels including Hindi and regional channels – ZEE TV, & TV, ZEE Anmol, Zing, ZEE Marathi, ZEE Tamil, ZEE Bangla, ZEE Yuva, Sarthak TV, ZEE Kannada, ZEE Cinema, ZEE Action, & Pictures, ZEE Café, & flix, ZEE ETC and so on
  • Unrestricted catch up of ZEE Network content through ZEE5 app. Customers will be able to access the ZEE5 content library including TV shows, movies and Before TV content 
  • Vodafone Idea customers will get access to ZEE5 premium subscription which includes Original shows and films, premium movies, digital movie premieres of upcoming blockbuster films, etc. as an introductory offer
  • Vodafone Idea subscribers will have access to the complete content portfolio of ZEE5 that includes the original web-series in Hindi and regional languages (including dubbed versions). ZEE5 offers original content in six languages – Hindi, Marathi, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam
  • Customers will also get unrestricted access to the entire movie library on the platform including digital premieres, acquired content, original films and so on.
  • The highlight is 2 exclusive linear digital channels including Zee Theatre - premium theatre content to be available on Vodafone Play and Idea Movies & TV app

ZEE5 is India’s fastest growing entertainment OTT destination that has invested heavily in acquiring and producing content that will resonate with a cross-section of viewers across the country. As of December 2018, ZEE5 has 56.3 million monthly active users, who spend an average of 31 minutes on the platform per day. ZEE5 has consistently been amongst the top-5 free and grossing entertainment apps in India as per the Google Play store rankings. In a first of its kind initiative, in the past quarter, ZEE5 launched regional subscription packs for Tamil, Telugu and Kannada users. These tiered SVOD packs enable consumers to watch premium content in a language of their choice at half the price. Subscribers of these packs are also able to watch their favourite TV shows hours before they are aired on television later in the day. This offering has helped ZEE5 gather subscription momentum in the south Indian market.

The Vodafone Play app is a one-stop entertainment destination to enjoy live TV Shows, latest movies and original content. Downloaded by more than 10 Million+ Vodafone Subscribers it gives access to over 9500+ movies,in16 different languages, 300+ live TV channels along with a huge catalogue of original web series and International TV Shows across all genres.

Idea Movies & TV app is an ultimate gateway to popular movies and video watching experience. The robust library comprises of 8500+movies, 400+Live TV Channels, TV Shows and Original Content across various genres. With over 10 million+ downloads Idea Movies & TV app has been growing in popularity and rating of 4.4 on Play store. 

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Is 'Roar Of The Lion' Hotstar’s way of creating more content around IPL 2019?

Nikhil Madhok of Hotstar Original Content and Deepak Dhar of Banijay Asia, reveal whether or not MS Dhoni’s docu-drama is a move to provide more content to the consumers during IPL

Hotstar

Hotstar recently announced the launch of Hotstar Specials, which will feature shows from India’s most acclaimed storytellers. The first to arrive from this bouquet is ‘Roar Of The Lion’. It charts the journey of Chennai Super Kings’ comeback to IPL through Mahendra Singh Dhoni after a two year ban and lifting the trophy last year. Hotstar claims it’s a story he didn’t even narrate to his own friends. The show hits the streamer on March 20 which couldn’t have been a more apt time because Indian Premiere League begins from March 23. In fact, the first match of the tournament is between CSK and Royal Challengers Bangalore. Could it be a move to get more time spend on the app apart from match viewing? Nikhil Madhok, EVP & Head Hotstar Original Content, insists it’s by default and not by design. 

Speaking to exchange4media, Madhok explains, “The way this story panned out, we would have wanted it regardless of whether or not IPL had happened. The stars have aligned in such a way that it is launching a couple of days before IPL. It does have a significant advantage. In the course of next eight to six weeks when the IPL is on, the traffic and the numbers are really mind-boggling. Frankly, it provides this particular show a massive opportunity for people to watch it. In that sense yes, it happened more by default than design which is beneficial. For us, we couldn’t have asked for a more original story for our first Hotstar Special is concerned.”

‘Roar of The Lion’ is a collaboration with Deepak Dhar’s Banijay Asia and MS Dhoni’s Dhoni Entertainment with Hotstar being the OTT platform on which it is mounted. When asked what made Dhar go for Hotstar, the Founder & CEO revealed, “The whole content boom that is happening. Now you want content to be made available on every device possible. This has really become the closest screens and the big screen is quite far off.” He also added how unlike ‘Sachin: A Billion Dreams’ which was in the docu-drama space like ‘Roar Of the Lion’, he never really thought about taking it to the theatres.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni already has a film to his name which speaks about his journey from a TC with the railways to being the World Cup winning captain. The film made Rs 120 crore or more at the box office. So why a show on him makes sense for Hotstar’s consumers? Madhok explains, “We announced our initiative for Hotstar Special a few months ago. Around that point of time, Deepak has come up with the idea of ‘Roar of The Lion’. We found a couple of things exciting. As the home of cricket in the country, Hotstar is the credible platform to tell such a story. In the kind of specials that we are doing, we are trying to be innovative. A story like his which is a mixture of drama and documentary…people are not really exposed to in this country. Given the size and scale Hotstar has we are going to make it available in multiple languages, the entire country can watch it.”

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