‘OTT platforms need to increase impressions on the AVOD side’

At the second edition of e4m Play Streaming Media Conference, industry leaders talked about ‘Unleashing the potential of advertising on OTT’

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Published: May 13, 2021 8:40 AM  | 6 min read
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The beginning of the pandemic last year forced people to stay home which led to an increased consumption of content on OTT platforms. At the second edition of e4m Play Streaming Media Conference & Metal Announcements, a one-day event on OTT organized by the exchange4media group on Wednesday, industry leaders discussed the growing importance of OTT.

In the session titled ‘Unleashing the potential of advertising on OTT’, the panellists discussed the buzzword of 2020, OTT, which has become the mainstream entertainment service for the consumer, and the advertising possibilities on the platform.

Shashank Srivastava, Executive Director, Maruti Suzuki; Anurita Chopra, Area Marketing Lead-Oral Care, GSK Consumer Healthcare; Pratik Gupta, Co-Founder, Foxymoron & Zoo Media; and Ashwin Padmanabhan, President Partnerships & Trading, GroupM; were the panellists. The session was moderated by Neeta Nair, Assistant Editor, exchange4media.

To begin the conversation, Nair asked Srivastava about the importance of OTT in Maruti Suzuki’s marketing mix. The company has always been a very strong advertiser on TV.

Srivastava shared that Maruti Suzuki spends close to Rs 700 crore on advertising. Out of which, television last year was the largest at around 30% and digital was 28% as also print. “On OTT, we actually started seeing some real strong trends in the last couple of years, and we saw the consumer behaviour itself changing as far as viewing is concerned. With the larger penetration of the internet a lot of platforms, which were based on streaming on the internet, have gained prominence whether it's video on demand (VOD), audio or voice platforms.”

He further added the digital percentage is increasing. In 2019, it was around 20%, but it's gone up to probably about 30 now and is expected to be 34%. “Video also has gone up. In fact, the growth is projected at 30%, and that gives OTT an edge because OTT has a lot of positives which television doesn't have, like it's more personalized, offers individual watching and can be watched across devices. Also, the cost is lower. We have actually 450 million smartphones, for example, as compared to 200 million television sets. All these trends got together, and we've been observing that since the pandemic started, this actually further strengthened. OTT is a very strong medium for which we would be advertising, not only in the current scenario but also in the future. We expect it to get much larger for Maruti Suzuki.”

Speaking about the GSK Consumer Healthcare’s marketing mix, Chopra shared, “We always knew that OTT is definitely a platform to consider and to gain from it. If the consumer is really taking OTT as a platform for regular entertainment and enjoying fresh content out there, then clearly as advertisers, it is only natural that we also find a way to be able to reach the consumer exactly there. So it's totally revolutionary.”

She further added that the pandemic has led to high consumption on OTT possibly because consumers got more choices on OTT as compared to TV where they were watching just regular old content.

Last year, when the first wave of pandemic hit the country, OTT platforms were among the few beneficiaries. Since we are still in the middle of the pandemic, will it again benefit these platforms?

“The challenge is less to do with demand from advertisers or demand from consumers,” explained Padmanabhan. He further said that we clearly have more consumers consuming content on OTT driven by all the factors that have been discussed. And at the same time, there are more and more advertisers wanting to come onto the platform.”

He also spoke about the chhalenge that advertising can be done only on the AVOD side of the platform, while a lot of the content is getting released and a lot of the eyeballs on the platforms are actually on SVOD. “There are not enough impressions available to really deliver a campaign, especially if advertisers want to leverage the advantage of looking at audiences in a certain cut. But the more you slice and dice it, we actually start figuring out that the impression that advertisers want to target are not available. The larger question for OTT platforms is from a strategic perspective: How do they invest more on content which actually powers AVOD of their business? And that's what we need to really work on,” added Padmanabhan.

Speaking about the content, Gupta shared that the shows on OTT are planned a lot more in advance. “The reason that OTT platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hotstar, were still doing very well during the course of the pandemic was primarily that the content was ready and available over six months in advance as opposed to television where there is regular content that's being created, which is live.”

“There is a constant flux of content. Today the demand for content is far greater than the supply. The advantage that we had during the pandemic was the fact that we started off understanding that India is a one-television home. Today the number of people in the house is equal to the number of screens that they have access to. So suddenly, the control of the audience was on to their cellphones, laptops, and tablets. From the consumer’s point, the choice was varied. They had the ability to watch different kinds of content as opposed to watch either the Ramayana or Mahabharata on TV. What also gives advertisers the ability to latch on is that they can target the person in the house who's viewing the content. I think OTT was sitting at a pleasant spot and it was anyway growing,” explained Gupta.

While speaking about brand safety going in the favour of OTT platform, Padmanabhan shared that a lot of the content which is their on the OTT platforms can be classified as brand-safe. Also, the way the consumer actually consumes the content means that the engagement rate is higher. “From that perspective, OTT makes it more effective. But the scale of impressions of OTT is minuscule compared to all the other platforms that we're talking about. So unless and until there's a strategic investment that is made towards increasing the available impressions on the AVOD side, we are always going to be talking about the potential that exists, but we are unable to realize,” said Padmanabhan.


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