We need to educate the market about programmatic advertising: Amitt Sharma, VDO. AI

Amitt Sharma, CEO & Founder VDO. AI, on the video advertising platform’s plans, and its increasing relevance in the Indian video content and advertising space

e4m by Dipali Banka
Updated: Oct 2, 2020 9:56 AM
Amitt Sharma

VDO.AI, a video advertising platform that brings together video hosting, video streaming, and video content in an end-to-end offering, makes all of these profitable for the publisher by incorporating advertising as the business model.

The Indian market is just catching up with the video consumption as more and more advertisers, and publishers are becoming aware of this new medium and its possibilities. We chat with Amitt Sharma, CEO & Founder VDO. AI, on the scenario and company plans going forward

Edited excerpts:

How does VDO.AI stand out in the video content and advertising space in India?

Video is a high-end product when it comes to the Indian market and we are still at the early stages when it comes to video advertising in India. Our USP is that we bring an end to end offering for the publishers. It's a turn-key offering which also includes advertising, which is very rare in the industry. So we do all the heavy lifting, whereas the publisher just needs to focus on what they do best which is like create great content and keep the users happy.

In India they are not many players whom we will call competitors, most of our competitors are larger companies out there in the west. Yes, it's a niche market and it is all about providing the best service and support for your partners.

There are many players, big and small, in the Indian market in the space. What is your view of the scenario and how do you carve out a niche for yourself here?

I think in India they are not many players whom we will call competitors, most of our competitors are larger companies out there in the west. Yes, it's a niche market and it is all about providing the best service and support for your partners. I believe in terms of technology, support, and customer- success relationships; we are way ahead of everyone out there. We have really low churn rates when compared to the industry averages. In terms of technology, we are at the forefront of the latest and the greatest in programmatic advertising. We are partnered with companies like Google and Amazon. In this way, we have access to the latest technology as soon as it reaches the market.

How are you using AI and ML for marketing strategies?

Our technology targets the user across the web, it is based on their interest, age, location, and multiple other factors. These factors use AI & ML at the back-end to implement campaigns that target people at scale across different websites, publishers while offering a higher ROI for our advertiser.

What is your view about the programmatic advertising space in India? How has been its adoption so far?

The programmatic advertising space in India is a smaller market as compared to what's there in the West. But it's picking up speed slowly as the technology and as the capability reaches Indian publishers and advertisers. When it comes to advertising, most of the larger companies in India rely on direct advertising and direct sales. But they are noticing a big influx of private marketplace and other programmatic avenues that can disrupt their traditional sales channels.

Its adoption so far has been gradual and it will take some time for things to pace-up in India. In terms of programmatic advertising, India is at a stage where the US was five years back.

What are the key challenges for you and VDO.AI at present?

Presently we are in the growth phase and in this phase, it's important to get the right talent but it is a challenge because the programmatic advertising market in India is not very mature when compared to the west. We need to educate the market about this opportunity. Of course, we need to navigate the challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic that has led to a loss in advertising budgets and lowered marketing spend. Right now, it's a fight for every single dollar out there.

What are some key innovations that you have noticed in the space? Where do you think the industry will move to in the next couple of quarters?

I believe that ultimately most of the advertising will move from TV, Print, and other traditional forms to the Digital format. There is a strong imperative for innovation in digital. When it comes to video ads, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are some of the key areas where there would be lots of innovation going forward. Eventually, we would consume even more videos, but we will not consume videos in the 2D format that we are accustomed to but we will be consuming videos in a 3-Dimensional environment or an Augmented Reality environment as products like Oculus get cheaper and more accessible in the mass market. I see the industry moving in that direction in the next few quarter.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we all are physically separated from each other and this technology gives us the feeling of being proximity even when you are away from your loved ones. I'm optimistic about the features of video advertising because that will follow on with the increasing trend of video consumption which is on a bullish growth curve right now. 

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