Voiro provides revenue analytics to media companies that drive maximum ROI: Kavita Shenoy
Shenoy, Founder and CEO, Voiro, spoke about the trends in the OTT market and the role of technology in driving business growth
Bangalore-based SaaS start-up Voiro provides revenue optimization and workflow automation for content and media-led companies. Its product harnesses the power of data to track ad inventory in real-time. This enables ad-led companies, especially OTT platforms, to get actionable insights and make data-driven business decisions.
Voiro currently powers some of the biggest OTT players, digital publishers, and media houses in India such as Disney+ Hotstar, Voot, BookMyShow, Zee5, OLX, Flipkart, and DSTV (South Africa). In an interaction with exchange4media, Kavita Shenoy, Founder and CEO, Voiro spoke about the trends in the OTT market and the role of technology in driving business growth.
How is 2021 looking for the OTT industry in terms of business?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a great accelerator for the Indian SVOD market with OTT video subscriptions reaching almost 62 million at the end of 2020, doubling from 32 million at the end of 2019. Growing affluence, an explosion in smart devices, and easy internet access have been key factors driving this growth. At the same time, initiatives by OTT players to offer exclusive and high-quality differentiated original content, coupled with programming for regional content has also driven growth. One of the most important things that we see on the rise in most OTT platforms is the diversity of content. For instance, people watched Narcos in Spanish with subtitles, and Amazon Prime released Dana Shows. The adoption of regional content is no more restricted to certain demographics. With the democratization of internet access, and easy access to smartphones, rural India is poised to lead the way to the next wave of OTT adopters.
Pricing strategies by the OTT platforms have also become much more flexible and whether it is their ad inventory, or even their subscription in inventory, they're trying to base it on the database. They're moving forward to actually addressing what consumers want today in terms of how they want to consume their content. Post 2021, the OTT industry might be a dose of entertainment with different kinds of technological experiences. With the rise of the gaming industry, both these factors might soon be seen on the same side of a coin offering people AI and VR viewing experiences on OTT platforms.
What kind of work is Voiro doing with OTT platforms?
Leading publishers have proprietary tools to analyze & mine data inhouse. The monetisation of advertising dollars and ROI on content is always a challenge and the publishers who thrive are those who find ways to make every ad dollar count. Voiro provides revenue analytics to media companies that drive maximum ROI, whether through direct ad sales or indirect automated sales channels such as programmatic partners. We have a strong API strategy that allows integration into multiple tech stacks and our customers have one revenue horizon.
Voiro's intelligent reconciliation module lets publishers be 100% confident of their revenue at any given time. We read several leading indicators from direct as well as indirect sales channels and reconcile revenue in real time across multiple touch-points, while the algorithms behind our engine account for campaign events, currency conversions, custom buyer requests for amortization as well as third party or custom metrics that drive actual billing. As a result, we are able to project the most accurate revenue across every single dashboard, report and touch-point.
At the end of the billing cycle, the revenue is already reconciled, helping the finance team of the publishers to cut short their billing cycles from a week to 1-2 hours. Finally, Voiro connects downstream ERP and billing systems, giving a truly complete solution and bringing robustness to a complicated billing cycle.
Tell us about Voiro's cloud based solutions, and how are OTT platforms using them to streamline their business?
We’re India’s first all-in-one revenue management suite exclusively for ad-led digital publishers across media. Our cloud-based solution is built to tackle the complex world of multiple revenue channels and provides the best data security and protection, critical for a data-driven, content-centric industry. With our finger on the pulse of India’s digital media landscape, we’ve grown our revenue suite with the country’s leading OTT brands — and they’ve grown their revenue streams with us!
Most businesses today are publicly listed companies and they have a good grip on their revenue level information, but they struggle to have systems in place that can take into account all of their revenue streams. Also, they need to ensure their quarter results are compliant with the law of the land. We give teams the flexibility to experiment with several revenue streams, several technology partners, so that they're able to make decisions based on what's working for them. OTT platforms have the razor-sharp focus of being able to focus on what they do best - focus on content, with partners like Voiro supporting them with the technology needed to drive better business decisions.
How important is ad tech in driving ad revenue growth for publishers?
Publishers can make revenue in n-number of ways. Either one pays for the content or watches it free through an ad subsidised model.
Imagine if - as concurrency went through the roof, as we watched the most prized piece of internet real estate unfurl and create itself in front of our eyes, we had the capability to hit a button that said \"more!\" or \"now!\" and that triggered an automated cycle that's safe, secure and optimizes pricing in real time. Given our automation and ops workflows, everything else is already taken care of by our systems that are working beautifully in sync. Approvals, creative QC, pre-loaded key values and targeting tags and campaign runs - leaving a few, select buyers with the ability to capitalize on a spot where the entire planet is focussing their attention, but only for a split second. And that split second needs to count, because monetising inventory for live events is being able to make a split second decision. Matches can be rained out, CDN’s can crash and ads can fail to reach the viewer. For an effortless approach to revenue monetisation and ensuring that the ad revenue is optimised within an uncertain environment like a live sporting event or an ecommerce flash sale!
In the world of ad monetisation - imagine if you could trigger an automated cycle that's safe, secure, and could optimise pricing in real-time? From automation to ops workflows, everything is taken care of by our systems that work beautifully in sync. At Voiro, we ensure that India’s top publishers and media companies can have their choice of technology at any given time without ever having to grapple for business intelligence or lose monetising ad inventory.
Consumers have a short attention span on digital. How can OTT platforms keep up with the changing consumer preferences for content?
Today, consumers are exposed to a lot of content and choices online. Earlier, consumers would only watch one particular type of genre but today, there is no loyalty in terms of genre. People are just skimming through content on their gadgets and moving from one kind of content to the other; and this is how the future seems like as well because everyone is spoiled for choice.
To keep up with the changing consumer preferences for content, it is necessary to understand what the audience wants. It is necessary to provide different genres of content in different languages. Multilingual content too opens up a door to new audiences, it eliminates the language barrier because of the ability of technology to transcribe and translate fast and contextually as well. It also opens up cross-cultural sharing.
As humans, we crave new experiences. So offering consumers personalized experiences on OTT platforms can be a bait to attract a larger audience base. It can be in the form of live streaming or shopping options as many brands are seen jumping to the bandwagon of live streaming setting. It can be gaming content or AR and VR based content. The key is to serve the audience what they desire, at the time they desire in, in the languages they desire and constantly create novel viewing experiences.
How can OTT platforms leverage first-party data in enhancing their offering for viewers as well as advertisers?
Cookies kind of walked themselves to the grave and then came walking back with Google’s Privacy Sandbox & FLoC. Creating data moats and using the historical value of first party data is key to a publisher’s ability to monetise content and build the right audiences in line with their brand strategy.
First-party data can provide great insights to advertisers and target audiences and enable the crafting of a tailored ad sales strategy based on audience intelligence. When first-data is properly analyzed and evaluated, the media owners can reach across all distribution channels and it allows the advertisers to target the right audience and find new audiences, irrespective of where they are consuming the content. First-party data strategy creates relevance and prevents the audience from being served inappropriate ads and irrelevant content.
As advertising on OTT platforms sees a sharp increase, what are some of the challenges that brands face in achieving their marketing and business goals?
One is the cloud. It's always going to be there, the ability, the need to differentiate themselves with the amount of content that is available online. The second is provable success. That is something that a lot of brands struggle with because they need to understand whether the campaign they execute with the publisher or within a particular time period, actually works for them to be able to repeat that success or reinvent the process. Third is the regulatory landscape - in terms of understanding the law of the land. The fourth one is innovation - beyond a particular point a publisher needs to recalculate innovation and on top of that transparency, repeatability of success and facing a failure needs to be evaluated.
Each OTT platform is competing neck to neck with each other on content, the differentiation of content, the type of tentpole events, the innovation and definitely the creativity that brands need to make them memorable. If they are able to stay afloat in this, they are bound to move a step closer to achieving their business goals.
What steps should OTT platforms take to grow their advertising business?
The steps that OTT platforms should take to grow their businesses is to make sure that they're opening up many more monetization streams. Subscription and advertising revenue will always be like the cola wars and this is an undeniable fact as the churn experienced by OTT players after a flagship event is a key reason to have ad revenue bolster subscription. We have seen large players launch ad monetisation a few years after the launch of subscription, as the industry needs every possible channel to grow revenue.
Large publishers can definitely jump onto the bandwagon of publisher commerce because of the ease of buying today - The fact that you can transact easily is great. With the increased ease of transaction, the friction has gone away. Also, viewers are becoming device agnostic. Hence, the OTT platforms can start looking at creating or owning content distribution and bridge the device divides. I think that is definitely a big avenue over there in conjunction to understanding your audiences. And most importantly none of this is about advertising to everyone. It's about intelligently converting and placing things that you believe a particular audience will appreciate.
Delivering the right ads to the right audience has become the prerequisite for brands. Are the OTT platforms rising to this challenge?
Earlier, targeting was based on the data pulled from the header information of a browser but today, it is based on interests, demographics, devices and much more. It is evident that ad tech has become more intricately detailed. The rapid and exponential development of the ad-tech space has pushed publishers and advertisers to constantly search for improved solutions on how best to ensure their content reaches the right person at the right time. OTT platforms are taking to automated solutions to keep a track of this. The existing user and content data helps the platform to generate near-accurate forecasts in regards to targeting the potential audience for ad-sales.
With the help of intelligent real-time data solutions, brands are able to deliver the right ad to the right audience at the right time in the right format and at the right place. However, it is a challenge to keep with the upcoming trends of immersive narratives and voice search. that are affecting the world of digital advertising. Ads have to be in sync with the brand and narrative, and also with the entire wave of audio and voice-based search, publishers need to start serving non-intrusive, user-friendly ads. Great examples of brands that have successfully created data moats are Spotify, E-Commerce giants and the brands that used safety as a hook during the pandemic.
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