Digital advertising sees an upsurge as brands turn to revenge spending during festivals

An estimated Rs 8,200-9,500 crore of ad monies are expected to be spent on the medium in the festive season, say industry experts

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Published: Oct 1, 2021 8:21 AM  | 10 min read
digital marketing

Advertisers are on a spending spree with an eye on the upcoming festive season and the revival in economic growth due to increased consumer spends. The ease in lockdown restrictions amid the drop in the number of Covid-19 infections and the ongoing vaccination drive in the country has helped the economy gain momentum.

The normalcy in the economy can be gauged from the fact that ad spending is back with a vengeance after a lull in April-May-June quarter. According to media professionals, advertisers are resorting to revenge spending since they have enough budgets at their disposal. Following the second wave, a lot of advertisers had decided to hold on to their ad budgets in anticipation of normalcy.

Digital industry is benefiting immensely due to revenge spending by advertisers. Video-led platforms, whether it is over the top (OTT) or short-video platforms, are seeing strong demand from advertisers for their ad inventory. The presence of high-impact properties on digital across sports and entertainment domains has only fuelled the rise in digital ad spends.

According to Rohan Chincholi, Head – Digital Services, India, Havas Media, the upcoming festive season will be huge for the digital media industry with an estimated Rs 8,200 – 9,500 crore worth of ad monies expected to be spent on the medium.

“This festive season might see an increase in ad spends, mainly because of the spending tapered down during the second wave of Covid-19. With an estimated 12% increase from last year, H2 could be in the range of Rs 8,200 – 9,500 crore on digital,” Rohan told exchange4media.

Automobile manufacturer Maruti Suzuki plans to increase its digital ad spends due to the shift in consumer behaviour. The company had spent a quarter of its ad budget on digital, which is expected to increase to 30% this year. Apart from digital, the company had spent 30-35% of its budget on TV with print, radio, and OOH accounting for the rest.

“I would expect print spends to come down a little in this period because tactical advertising is likely to be less. At the same time, TV and the digital percentage is expected to increase. We have expanded our digital spending this year, and the percentage will remain high and go even higher by the year-end,” Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director, Marketing & Sales, Maruti Suzuki.

Megha Ahuja, VP- Digital Media Planning, Carat India, noted that most of the brands have kept aside 25-30% of their marketing budgets for the festive season and are planning to spend significantly more than their festive spends last year. “According to industry estimates, brands are expected to spend Rs 4000-5000 crore on sporting properties on TV & Digital in the current scenario where ad demand is higher than the supply,” she added.

“While the pandemic did see a slow-down on various advertising mediums, digital is one such medium that has been growing exponentially through the last 18 months. With eCommerce driving higher consumption, especially among millennials and Gen Y, brands have been pivoting greater ad spends on to digital platforms and this is expected to get stronger with the festive season around the corner,” said Monaz Todywalla, CEO, PHD India.

“Economic indicators are seeing a positive consumer sentiment. It is an exciting period for brands as they gear up with their festive spending strategies. We’re seeing an increase in the digital mix, and growth in ad spends is expected to rise across categories this festive. As markets look to sail past the recovery curve and well into growth, even categories that took a hit during the pandemic are looking positively aligned with improved market sentiments.”

MX Player SVP and Head of Revenue Viraj Jit Singh said that the OTT platform has seen a surge in advertising since July. He expects the festive season to drive massive growth in ad revenue for OTT platforms. “The market is upbeat, and we are ready to offer what our clients require. We are working very hard on our content calendar and ad-tech. We will obviously see an upside because e-comm, auto, fashion, handset, consumer durables are going to come in and spend money on advertising,” he noted.

Apart from corporate advertisers, MX Player is also betting big on retail advertisers. The platform will service long-tail advertisers through a self-serve advertising platform, which will make it easier for small brands to advertise. “We are looking at long tail advertisers in non-metro markets who were earlier using traditional media and are now using OTT because we have both the width and depth. The self-serve ad platform will propel our revenue in the next 4 or 5 months,” Viraj Jit said.

A senior ad sales executive with a leading OTT platform said that there is huge demand for IPL as well as T20 World Cup and beyond that on the GEC business. “Video will be a big gainer from the upsurge in advertising, whether it is short-form or long-form. In the last 3-4 years, video is the fastest growing pie within digital. OTT platforms are seeing huge demand from advertisers. The demand on non-cricket inventory is also very high,” he stated.

According to a top official with an OTT platform, advertising is looking buoyant as both corporate and retail are bullish about spending on advertising. He also said that OTT platforms have lined up a massive slate of original content, which allows advertisers to reach out to an engaged audience. “Apart from inventory, OTT platforms also offer sponsorship and integration opportunities like live voting for audiences during reality shows besides gamification. Digital offers a lot more engagement opportunities,” the official said, on condition of anonymity.

Big beneficiaries

Chincholi said that an estimated 12-15% growth can be witnessed on platforms like Google, Facebook, OTT, audio streaming and short-video platforms. E-Commerce platforms will additionally see an estimated 20% increase across direct & DSP buys, he added.

He also said that video will grab a large share of the digital ad spends due to consumption growth even as search continues to be an advertiser’s favourite due to its impact on branded query searches (BQS) which results in better performance results. The legacy display inventory with the famous static ad formats will help in remarketing at a palatable cost per reach for brands, he stated.

“As the intent is limited - search will not have maximum share, but will continue to be the advertiser's favourite. The search strategy is not only limited to Google but also includes Amazon, Bing & others,” he said. “Video will command the highest share of 55%+ with ads across YouTube, OTT, Social & connected TV. This is because the audience consumption/reach/build-up is faster.”

The share of audio platforms in the digital ad pie is increasing due to growth in listenership. “With an average listener consuming at least 2+hrs on audio-only formats, it is slowly making its way and gaining share in the digital ad spends pie. As consumers start coming out of their homes and the markets start re-opening, this format will pick up. Programmatic audio looks promising,” he added.

Monaz said that categories like OTT, search and video are expected to do well during the festive season. "Now more than ever, digital has become an integral part of our daily lives. Stay-at-home has changed viewability trends with an accelerated market for AVoD and SVoD. In 2020 alone, the Indian digital segment grew by 35 per cent due to an upsurge in paid subscriber base across all OTT platforms. That said, categories like OTT, search, video are expected to do well. For brands and marketers, this presents a stronger opportunity to explore a full-funnel brand strategy to set themselves up for success – one that looks beyond social media and explore consumer touchpoints like online TV, video and more."

Rashmi Sehgal, SVP, Zenith, feels that the video and social platforms will gain significant marketing dollars followed by Audio and Display. “While we are a video first nation, consumers also have latched on to the popularity of short format social-video apps like Sharechat, Moj, etc. Thus, Video and social platforms will gain significant marketing dollars with new advertisers adding on. This will be followed by Audio and Display,” she noted.

Ahuja stated that the audience has started spending more time on streaming video platforms like YouTube, Hotstar and Amazon Prime and are consuming local language content. Video streaming, she said, has penetrated into the small metros and towns in India.

“The highest proportion of spends on digital is contributed by social media (29%, Rs. 4,596 crore). This is followed very closely by online video (28%, Rs. 4,366 crore), and paid search (24%, Rs. 3,725 crore).  Spends on display banners stand at 16% (Rs. 2,528 crore),” she added.

Key advertising categories on digital

According to Chincholi, BFSI, E-commerce & Auto categories continue to spend more and have a higher SOE (Share of Expenditure). However, the growth is expected from D2C (Direct to consumer) brands, as many are opting for a digital-first approach to drive awareness and customer acquisitions.

The ease in lockdown restrictions has opened up categories like travel and hospitality which weren’t spending during the pandemic period, he noted.

Sehgal said that the obvious players like FMCG, Auto, Retail and such will continue to drive spending upwards. “Plus, categories which have got a boost post pandemic, like ecommerce, are going to see a battle between the large players during the Diwali sale events. Travel & Hospitality will see a resurgence, with travel regulations and ban lifts,” she noted.

E-commerce makes the highest contribution to the digital media ads spends industry, followed by consumer durables, FMCG and Telecom, said Ahuja.

Viraj Jit said that certain categories like EdTech, fintech, gaming, cryptocurrency, and M&E have started using OTT platforms frequently for advertising. He also said that traditional advertisers like FMCG, consumer durables, etc are also looking at OTT platforms seriously.

Digital is primary advertising vehicle

There is a consensus that digital is and has been a primary medium for many advertisers, considering the reach and performance that it delivers. In fact, it will be the key medium for digital-first brands and consumer tech companies.

“For start-ups and digital-first brands – digital will continue to be the lead medium in the initial years. These are mainly brands that have not invested in mainline mediums yet, & are largely focused on increasing sign-ups, installs, subscribers, sales, etc., given there are over 500 mn Indians using smartphones today & 60% of them are transacting audience,” Chincholi noted.

He also said that digital’s effective reach is better than mainline as it aims to highly focus on affinity, interest & in-market segments. Mainline media compliments digital with connections at scale & its relative impact on online performance, he added.

Sehgal stated that digital is no longer a secondary vehicle as time spent has increased on mobile, Connected TV’s, and Online Shopping. This has made it imperative for brands to rethink and plan end to end digital first journey for brands. The second reason, she said, is that the pandemic has re-enforced the agility and data driven marketing decisioning that can be enabled on Digital platforms, making budget work harder.

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Google reports just 1% revenue growth in Q4, YouTube ad revenue drops 8%

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google, says the tech giant will unveil AI-based language models soon

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 3, 2023 8:33 AM   |   2 min read


Alphabet, parent company of Google and YouTube, missed analyst estimates for Q4 results, as YouTube’s ad revenue again suffered a year-over-year decline.
Overall, Alphabet posted revenue of $76.05 billion, up just 1%, and net income of $13.62 billion (down 34% versus $20.6 billion in Q4 2021), or earnings of $1.05 per share. Google's ad revenue fell from $61.2 billion in Q4 2021 to $59 billion in Q4 2022. YouTube ad revenue was $7.96 billion in Q4, down 7.8% from $8.63 billion a year earlier. This is YouTube’s second consecutive quarter of year-on-year ad revenue declines.

Google Cloud, meanwhile, lost $830 million in Q4, better than the $1.7 billion it lost in the same quarter last year. Google Cloud revenue rose 32%, to $7.32 billion in Q4, while the segment narrowed its operating loss to $480 million, versus an operating loss of $890 million in the year-ago quarter.

Commenting on the results, “We’re on an important journey to reengineer our cost structure in a durable way and to build financially sustainable, vibrant, growing businesses across Alphabet,” Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet and Google, said in prepared remarks. He touted “great momentum” in Google’s Cloud segment, YouTube subscriptions (which the company does not break out in its earnings) and Google Pixel devices. In November, the company said YouTube Music and YouTube Premium subscriptions topped 80 million paying subscribers combined.

Pitchai shared that he expects “great momentum” in Google’s Cloud segment, YouTube subscriptions (which the company does not break out in its earnings) and Google Pixel devices. Pichai said YouTube Shorts, the platform’s TikTok-style video format, now averages more than 50 billion daily views, up from the 30 billion announced in early 2022.

'"We have significant work underway to improve all aspects of our cost structure, in support of our investments in our highest growth priorities to deliver long-term, profitable growth," Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat said in a statement.

During the earnings call, Pichai also shared that Google will make AI-based language models available soon. These models will serve as "companion to search", he said. 

Alphabet’s results are its first since it laid off some 12,000 employees in January. CEO Sundar Pichai had blamed the layoffs on Alphabet’s decision to staff up to meet the company’s demand during the pandemic.

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Google may post a drop in ad revenue in Q4 results

The total revenue is expected to show a slight increase

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 2, 2023 7:21 PM   |   1 min read


Google is expected to post a drop in advertising revenue as it posts its Q4 results early Friday morning, say media reports. This will the first drop in ad revenue since Covid struck in 2019 giving a huge push to the digital medium.

Google’s parent company Alphabet Inc., according to analysts, is expected to post $60.4 billion in advertising revenue for the fourth quarter, a decrease of 1.3% from the same period in 2021.

Google’s video platform YouTube is also expected to record a second straight quarter of declining revenue. Alphabet is expected to report $76.2 billion of revenue overall during the fourth quarter, a slight increase from the same period in 2021.

Alphabet said last month it would lay off about 12,000 workers, or 6% of its workforce, in response to a weakening economy. Chief Executive Sundar Pichai said during a companywide meeting that top executives would take cuts to their bonuses.


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Byju's lays off another more than 1000 employees

Employees from engineering, sales, logistics, marketing and communications teams have been asked to leave, say media reports

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 2, 2023 6:58 PM   |   1 min read


Edtech firm Byju's has reportedly laid off another more than 1,000 employees. The move is being seen as an attempt to cut down costs amid slow revenue growth and funding winter.

According to one of the media reports, the company is laying off employees from the engineering, sales, logistics, marketing and communications teams.

One of the reports claimed that while 300 employees from the engineering team have been sacked, the strength of the logistics team has been brought down to 50 per cent.

The company had undertaken a round of lay off in October last year when it let go of 5 per cent of its total employees, amounting to 2,500 employees out of 50,000 strong workforce. At that time founder Byju Raveendran had justified the layoffs saying it was a critical step for the company to become profitable.


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Meta Q4 revenue falls 4%

As per reports, Meta's annual sales have dropped for the first time since 2012 but beats forecast

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 2, 2023 11:12 AM   |   1 min read


Meta has reported a revenue of $32,165 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2022, a fall of 4% from the previous fiscal. The company's net income for the quarter stands at $4,652 million.

As per media reports, Meta's annual sales have dropped for the first time since 2012 but it was not as severe as expected. As per the financial report, the marketing and sales figure stood at $4,574 million for the quarter.

Sharing first-quarter predictions, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “We expect first quarter 2023 total revenue to be in the range of $26-28.5 billion.”

"Our community continues to grow and I'm pleased with the strong engagement across our apps. Facebook just reached the milestone of 2 billion daily actives," said Zuckerberg. "The progress we're making on our AI discovery engine and Reels are major drivers of this. Beyond this, our management theme for 2023 is the 'Year of Efficiency' and we're focused on becoming a stronger and more nimble organization."

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Dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Report 2023 to be unveiled today

Industry leaders to discuss opportunities and future of digital domain under the theme ‘Creating Value In The Web3 Digital Economy’

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 2, 2023 8:49 AM   |   3 min read


The rapid data penetration coupled with various technological advancements has revolutionised the digital landscape, helping companies to become more sustainable and resilient. As the domain continues to evolve, it creates ample opportunities to tap into the uncharted arena of digital space in newer ways. To highlight the current trends in digital sector, Dentsu and the exchange4media group will jointly unveil the 7th edition of the dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Report 2023 today, February 2, in Mumbai. The event is co-powered by Criteo, Bobble AI is the Co-gold partner while Lemma is the lanyard partner.

Dentsu, one of the leading global media conglomerates in India, specialises in media, digital and creative offerings. After the unveiling of the report, industry leaders will come together to discuss the opportunities and future of digital under the Theme ‘Creating Value In The Web3 Digital Economy’.

The event will kickstart with a welcome address by Dr Annurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, BW Businessworld and Founder, exchange4media, and Nawal Ahuja, Co-Founder, exchange4media, after which the much-awaited dentsu-e4m Digital Advertising Report 2023 will be unveiled. Divya Karani, Media Chief Executive Officer, dentsu South Asia; Vinod Thadani, Chief Digital Growth Officer, dentsu Media & CEO iProspect; Abheek Biswas, AVP Consumer Insights, Dentsu Creative India, will share key insights of the report and highlight the significant trends of 2022-23 and real time facts and figures pertaining to the entire digital domain.

The conference has a stellar line-up of insightful sessions by industry heads throughout the day. Rob Gilby, CEO, dentsu APAC, will deliver a keynote address on the topic- ‘Creating value in the Web3 digital Economy’. Following this will be the first panel discussion on the topic ‘India digital stack for technology and creativity in the new digital economy’. The panellists are Gagan Singla, MD, blinkX by JM Financial, Prasad Pimple, Executive Vice President & Head of Digital Business Unit, Kotak Life, Medhavi Singh, Head of Enterprise - India, Criteo, Abhijit Shah, Head Marketing, Digital & Customer Experience, ICICI Prudential AMC. The session will be moderated by Rashmi Sethi, Chief Strategy Officer, Fractal Ink, a Merkle Company.

The next panel discussion will be on the topic ‘Customer expectations in new digital economy’ where panellists including Amit Deshmukh, Business Head, NMIMS Global, Sachin Shukla, Head, Brand and Digital Media, ICICI Bank, Shoorveer Shekhawat, Head of Marketing, Video Banking & TFx Initiatives, AU Small Finance Bank will throw light on the expectations of the Web3 consumer and the ways brands can meet them to create value in the new digital economy. The panel will be moderated by Anita Kotwani, CEO, Carat India.

A keynote address will be delivered by Gulbahar Taurani, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, ISC, Philips Domestic Appliances, on the topic ‘Unlocking the potential of Web3 decentralized economy for consumer marketing and commerce’. The day-long conference will conclude with the last panel discussion on the topic ‘Experiential creativity for the modern consumer’ where panellists including Manasi Narasimhan, VP and Head, Marketing & Communications, South Asia, Mastercard, Adrian Terron, Head of Corporate Brand and Marketing Strategy, Tata Group, Sunil Nat, Head - Ecommerce & Digital Marketing, Galderma. The session will be moderated by Heeru Dingra, Chief Business Officer, DENTSU CREATIVE India.


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AI, TDS, Devices & Data: Why gaming industry is loving Budget 2023

Even though the Budget didn’t specifically bring out the matters of concern related to the gaming and esports sector, there were some decisions which are sure to impact the burgeoning industry

By Shantanu David | Feb 2, 2023 8:27 AM   |   6 min read


The Narendra Modi government’s last full Budget before the 2024 general elections tried to cater to as many segments of the population as possible, and even though it didn’t specifically bring out the matters of concern related to AVGC sector, specifically the gaming and esports segments, there were some decisions which are sure to impact the burgeoning industry.

Suhas Khullar, CFO, Loco, believes the Union Budget for 2023–2024 is “commendable for setting the bold vision of making India a tech superpower. Two initiatives focusing on capability building for the tech ecosystem stand out. First, the intention to set up 100 labs for developing applications using 5G services has the potential to open up a wide range of prospects for the ecosystem, including esports. Second, setting up of centers of excellence for AI under the ‘Make AI in India’ and ‘Make AI work for India’ vision, along with the introduction of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0, will help young people in developing the necessary expertise in coding, artificial intelligence and other technologies.”

Skill Tree

These enhanced digital skills will now support the sector's capacity to grow into a significant employer. Manvendra Shukul, CEO, Lakshya Digital was also heartened to see the Finance Minister’s continued focus on the most crucial building block for every sector - skilling India.

“A wide range of sectors, including the gaming industry, are facing a shortfall of skilled workers. India has a huge opportunity to be a leader in the global gaming market. However, for us to compete with entrenched players like China, it is essential to develop a strong pipeline of skilled workforce,” he said, adding, “We look forward to an effective implementation of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana 4.0 that will allow our youth to upskill and be job-ready for the global gaming industry.”

Gaurav Kapoor, Chief Finance Officer, Baazi Games, also welcomes the “Amrit Kaal” Union Budget 2023 with an optimistic perspective.

The new income tax regime will result in stimulating local demand and consumption in the economy. The rise of India’s position from an importer to an exporter of mobile phones in India augurs well for the online gaming sector. Moreover, the announcement of setting up 100 labs for developing 5G services apps for smart classrooms, healthcare, and others will open up a new range of opportunities and potential employment. Simplifying the KYC system process will further help in realizing ‘Digital India’ and will enable a seamless experience for consumers. Lastly, the ‘Make in India’ vision will further get a boost with a focus on ‘Make AI in India’ and ‘Make AI work for India’, and online gaming companies can develop new AI-based advancements that can provide a first-of-its-kind experience to users.

Sunil Yadav - CEO, PlayerzPot, says the Budget announced a welcome move in defining the future of the online gaming industry by removing the minimum threshold of Rs. 10,000 for TDS to clarify taxability. “The action will result in transparency, a clear legal identity, and standardized taxation for online gaming. We hope that the government will unquestionably support the sector's growth and development in the right direction, which will benefit the economy and its stakeholders,” he says.

Rohit N Jagasia, Founder and CEO of Revenant Esports, agreed that the announcement of removing minimum threshold of Rs 10,000 for TDS on online gaming and providing clarity on taxability is a big step forward, adding, “However most esports games, like ours, don't have any money withdrawing system so these are applicable for the online gaming sectors which are into real money gaming.”

Mobile Market

Rishabh Bhansali, Co-Founder of FanClash, says the enormous upsurge in mobile phone production has been the impetus for the boom of the esports industry in India. “Pocket-friendly smartphones have taken gaming and fantasy esports to every corner of the country and a further decrease in its prices, as the government proposes to reduce customs duty on import of certain inputs for mobile phone manufacturing, will boost the sector's growth like never before,” he says.

Indeed, the expansion of India's gaming business mirrors and contributes to the growth of the mobile phone industry. The number of mobile gamers in India is projected to increase to 650 million by 2025, according to the most recent report from the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI).

Animesh Agarwal, Founder & CEO, 8bit Creative, notes that the previous seven to eight years have been instrumental to the relationship between mobiles and gaming in India, with numerous mobile gaming titles being released and gaining popularity among the Indian gaming community.

“Developer dedication to expanding mobile gaming in India and the advent of different employment opportunities through mobile gaming have all contributed to an increase in the number of Indians adopting mobile gaming. This has also contributed to the growth of the mobile device sector, as professional gamers frequently seek to upgrade their devices as they progress in their career. Even casual gamers seek better devices in their gaming journey,” he says.

This interdependence of the industries is also reflected in the commitment of the mobile device companies towards strengthening their presence in the gaming community through dedicated efforts and investments. From launching gaming-specific devices such as One Plus Nord, ASUS ROG gaming phones, etc., to hosting multiple events and tournaments for the community, to working with gamers to build a community of mobile gamers, etc., mobile device giants are also investing heavily in the gaming industry in India.

Rohit Agarwal, Founder and Director, Alpha Zegus, points out that the increase in smartphone production in our country will bring down smartphone costs drastically - which will be a big win for the gaming industry. “More advanced smartphone tech will be available at accessible pricing, which means gaming will eventually no longer be restricted by hardware capabilities.”

Experts say that Indian gaming has the potential to provide a significant boost to the electronics industry as a whole, including consoles, PCs, VR gadgets, mobile devices, wearables, IT accessories, and so on. 

Lokesh Suji, Director, eSports Federation of India and Vice President of the Asian eSports Federation (AESF), concludes, “With the numbers of devices as well as gamers further upscaling and 5G acting as a catalyst that fuels the industry's growth, we are going to witness monumental growth within the esports sector in the coming years. As we are still awaiting clarity on the taxability for esports, we are hopeful that the decisions will be in favour of the community and impact it positively.”



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Connected TVs take centre stage as HD falls behind

Native Content: The shift towards CTV is indicative of a broader trend towards digital-native content

By exchange4media Staff | Jan 31, 2023 4:46 PM   |   7 min read


The digital revolution in the country is driving a significant change in content consumption patterns. The popularity of streaming services and on-demand content has led to a decline in interest for traditional High-Definition (HD) channels. In its place, Connected Television (CTV) has emerged as the new norm for television viewing, particularly in the realm of sports.

The shift towards CTV is indicative of a broader trend towards digital-native content. The convenience and flexibility offered by this technology has made it a preferred choice among audiences, leading to its rapid adoption. With the continued growth of CTV, it is clear that the way people consume and engage with television content is undergoing a significant transformation.

As India continues its transition towards digital-native content, the switch from High-Definition (HD) to Connected Television (CTV) is projected to accelerate in the coming year. With the launch of JioCinema's offering of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for free on CTV, the trend towards this technology is expected to rise.

HD TV, once considered a symbol of prosperity, is witnessing a decline in subscription numbers in recent years, while CTV viewership continues to grow. A recent report by Kantar-GroupM states that the number of connected TVs reached 22 million in the last year, and is projected to reach 30 million this year. Although these figures are based on household numbers, CTV is known to be a co-viewing experience, with an estimated 80-90 million individuals expected to watch content on CTVs. According to a recent Google data, in May 2022 alone, over 60 million people in India streamed YouTube on their TVs, and in 30% of instances, they watched together with other people. The availability of a popular property like IPL for free on CTV is likely to further increase its popularity among viewers.

The trend towards Connected Television (CTV) in India is particularly evident in the case of cricket tournaments. The number of households tuning in to watch cricket on High-Definition (HD) channels has seen a significant decrease in recent years. In 2022, 4.3 mn indian urban households watched IPL’22 ,whereas only 3.6 mn households watched ICC T20 World Cup’22 on HD TV and 1.5 million households in mega cities viewed the tournament on HD channels.

The change in viewership can be attributed to the growing accessibility of IPL content on CTV platforms. This shift is expected to accelerate with the upcoming availability of IPL on CTV platforms for free streaming, as opposed to the traditional linear TV where viewers must pay to access the content. The convenience and affordability of CTV is driving its widespread adoption among audiences and represents a major transformation in the way sports content is consumed.

The rise of Connected Television (CTV) as a platform for sports viewing is a result of its superior features and user experience. With the ability to stream live matches and access a diverse range of on-demand content, an increasing number of people are opting for CTV as their preferred method for watching sports.

The engaging nature of CTV makes it an ideal platform for high-intensity sports viewing, such as the Indian Premier League (IPL). The upcoming season of IPL is expected to follow this trend, as more viewers turn towards CTV for their sports consumption needs. The combination of live streaming capabilities and a wide variety of on-demand content sets CTV apart from traditional television and makes it a leading choice for sports fans.

Overall, the rise of streaming services and the advancement of technology have led to a shift in the way people consume and view media, making HD TVs less relevant. Additionally, the growth of broadband connections in India has played a significant role in this trend. As of 2022, the number of broadband connections in India has risen to 32 million, making it easier for people to access streaming content on their CTVs. With access to high speed internet on their phones, a lot of consumers are also seen streaming content on CTV through their mobile hotspots.

Krishnarao Buddha, Sr. Category Head - Marketing at Parle Products Pvt. Ltd said that the pandemic has affected the pattern of content consumption by audiences all across the world. Staying at home, online streaming of television, movies, and videos became the key source of knowledge, entertainment, and getaway. The ability to see content on any device, at any time, became nearly compulsive for consumers, speeding viewers' transition from linear TV to connected TV.

“The market for connected TVs (CTVs) is one of the fastest growing in India right now. The rise in popularity of these internet-enabled devices that are displacing the good old linear televisions throughout cities is mostly due to the low cost of smart televisions, introduction of 5G network, rising broadband penetration, and the accessibility of international content,” said Buddha.

He added that the number of connected televisions in India is expected to double in the next two years, from the current 20-22 million connected television homes (about 10% of TV homes). According to the 'Spotlight23' research by GroupM-owned marketing firm Wavemaker India, urban cities would see the most growth until 2025.

Samir Sethi, VP& Head of Brand Marketing was also optimistic about the growing numbers of CTV consumers. “Connected TV is on a growth path and I see this growing constantly. I see it growing on two accords--the prices of the connected TV devices are coming down drastically and it will become very affordable for people not only in the metro cities but even in smaller towns to switch to smart TV and the other reason is that the DTH players are introducing a lot of combo plans along with fibre internet which also give free access to live TV. These two aspects will be key drivers of growth of connected TV,”said Sethi.

The trend of "cord cutting" is gaining momentum globally, not just in India. The growth in popularity of connected TVs (CTVs) is due to the convenience, flexibility, and superior viewing experience that it offers. With the increasing affluence levels of CTV audiences, it has become a highly sought-after cohort for advertisers looking to reach consumers with a high spending potential. The shift from traditional linear televisions to connected TVs is happening across the world, as viewers prioritize the benefits that come with CTVs.

Quoting from the Changing Landscape of Indian Television- GroupM Finecast and Kantar survey, Bhairav Shanth, Co-Founder- ITW Universe said that although it is still possible that more affluent viewers are on linear TV, but they form a much smaller proportion of the total linear TV viewership and on the flip side, 2 in 3 affluent households prefer CTV. The way that ads can be targeted on CTV (as opposed to the same ad across all linear TV viewers) means that it will be more efficient and impactful for those looking to reach out to affluent viewers to advertise digitally.

“Recent research has suggested after conducting a survey amongst NCCS A and B residents of 16 cities to understand their preferences.It showed that the Household Income for CTV Viewers was 1.2 times higher than those that watched only Linear TV. Moreover CTV viewers are 2x times more likely to own smartphones that cost more than 40K. The more important point is that most of the respondents in the study around 78% said they intend to switch to CTV in the near future and every 2 in 3 preferred CTV as the primary mode to access TV,”added Shanth. 

This year’s IPL may prove to be a game-changer in the way people consume content on their large screens. Especially, sports. With high-quality streaming and the biggest variety of language options available, the CTV sports watching experience is bound to become a massive phenomenon this summer.



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