Screenage: Taking the journey to the next mobile frontier

Panel of industry experts discuss the trends, opportunities and the growing scope of monetisation and engagement, amongst other things in OTT space

ScreenagePanel

There is an explosion of entertainment options in OTT video, mobile audio is evolving constantly, the journey to the next mobile frontier is growing at a rapid pace. What are the opportunities lying ahead with so much happening?

At the Screenage Marketing Conference Sandeep Reddy, Country Sales Head, Media - Akamai Technologies held a panel discussion on the above with industry experts Abhishek Joshi, CMO & Head of Business Partnerships, MX Player - Times Videos, Amit Khanduja, CEO, BIGFLIX, Rajiv Singh, Head, Ad sales and Monetisation, SonyLIV and Ramakrishnan Laxman, Head of Digital Business, ABP Live.

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Reddy started off the discussion throwing a question at Joshi on the role of digital in the overall ecosystem. “Where are we today?” he asked. Joshi answered, “Mobile is the next frontier not as an ‘either,’ ‘or’ screen but as an ‘and’ screen. The biggest challenge we face as to how to make it as an ‘and’ screen which our consumers will access and engage with even while they are in front of the TV. As a result, we are fighting for screen time, mindshare, and engagement.” Reddy witnessed the above with the impressive viewership of IPL on both broadcast and digital. “Definitely, there’s room for everybody.”

This ‘and’ screen statement also gained more ground with the primetime for digital being different from television. Singh threw light on the same, “For the upcoming India vs Australia series, its T20 matches start at 2.30 pm of what we call as the digital timeband where the consumption is mostly male-driven.” He added, “Our non-cricket behaviour also replicates TV where the peak hours are between 4.30 pm and 11 pm. On the series we believe that 90 per cent of the traffic will be during that period of time, some of it will go to highlights and other sections. Tests start at 9.30 am or early morning which would drive digital traffic to it.” 

When it comes to news, the biggest challenge is its consumption across different platforms. Laxman added, “We see content constantly evolving. Personalisation to news is another big area to work on. Soon there might be the need to provide news to the consumer based on his location, where he is travelling. You will see that happening.”

Talking on engagement Reddy posed a question to Khanduja on how movie-on-demand services like BIGFLIX can get the watch time on movies to go up higher. “We are trying to see how we can target a genre specific to a user. It’s all about customisation for us. So what the user will watch next is important for us in our mix. If we can bridge that gap between what the user watches and is expected to watch the consumption pattern goes up significantly. Leveraging the technology, understanding the user and ability to market on a one-on-one basis are important factors,”

Khanduja answered. The panellists dwelled more on engagement, having pan-Indian content offerings and the threatening issue of piracy that’s grappling movie space especially more. “It’s important to have everything for everyone. That’s why you will see pan-Indian content on every platform across the board. I want to be pan-India focused. Regional is a part of it,”

Joshi explained the need for pan-Indian content for every OTT service. The digital space in India is always on the lookout for new streams of monetisation. How that can be worked out in the news space Reddy asked Laxman. Laxman felt that with news being mostly an ‘advertising-funded product’ and given the huge traffic coming online in the last few years advertisers are yet to leverage on it. “Bulk of it is still performance and e-commerce-driven. Brand advertisers need to start shifting their budget online which isn’t happening. In the UK 50 per cent of the advertising is digital. Here we are way behind,”

Laxman expressed concern. Joshi agreed saying that he is yet to see a brand build its branding only on digital “Even digital brands don’t build it on digital. So the marketers or agencies need to wake up to the fact that we can also deliver value (in building brands).” But the shift is happening. Singh confirmed that brands are moving to digital. “We are getting digital-heavy campaigns. 90 per cent of brands are coming back to us on a monthly basis. Availability of inventory for a lot of players have shot up through roof. Advertisers are targeting content through programmatic. That will happen next year. We are seeing far more revenue jumps and will see it next year also,” Singh seemed confident.

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