With OTT market growing at 35% YoY, players sharpen marketing strategy and loosen purse strings

How OTT players are deploying their marketing strategy with respect to their brand messaging and building, original programming and loosening their purse strings for same

Madhuwanti Saha 01-February-2017

With OTT market growing at 35% YoY, players sharpen marketing strategy and loosen purse strings

According to Frost & Sullivan research director Vidya S Nath, OTT video market was nearly USD 210 million in 2016, driven predominantly by advertising and is likely to grow at a CAGR of over 80 per cent till 2020. Let’s not forget India currently has around 220-250 million smartphones and is expected to touch more than 500 million by 2020. So with rising smartphone sales, falling data tariffs, 4G rollout and improvement in payment gateways, OTT market, an important growth driver in India’s digital space, is growing at a dynamic pace of 35-40 per cent year-on-year.

 The last year got more active with the entry of global players like Amazon Prime Video India and Netflix in OTT’s space. After that stakes have only got higher for existing local players who are sharpening their marketing strategy and even loosening purse strings for the same.

Partho Dasgupta, CEO, BARC India, which is geared to launch digital measurement, says, “The last couple of years have seen a boom in the OTT space. While initially there were independent players acting as content curators, today broadcasters have their own digital platform to cater to the internet-savvy audience. There is no doubt that the platform is being aggressively marketed, be it in the form on TV ads, hoardings or free subscription offered to subscribers.” 

Rajiv Dingra, Founder-CEO, WAT Consult, gives us an overview on the space, “OTT is getting aggressive. Earlier they were looking at digital videos. Now the focus is to increase their user base quickly. Netflix is positioning itself as to how in terms of video content Netflix is the thing to do. Others are using content marketing strategy to show their exclusive content as differentiator against others. But they end up looking similar to each other. Netflix and Amazon are standouts as they know how to market themselves and are able to bring in content outside TV. Hotstar is riding on cricket in a big way.”

Number talk

Industry sources confide that big OTT players like Amazon India Prime Video and Netflix’s yearly marketing budget ranges around Rs 40-50 crore and can go up till Rs 100 crore. Meanwhile, smaller players spend between Rs 10 crore and Rs 30 crore.

Amazon Prime Video India’s account was reported to be won by ad agency Leo Burnett and as per reports the size of the business is estimated to be over Rs 300 crore.

Hotstar since its launch in January 2015 has reported to mop up advertising revenue of Rs 138.6 crore. Marketing has always been in its prime investment with advertising and promotional cost standing at Rs 154.6 crore according to reports.

The numbers are only going to go up.

What’s working?

Netflix has mostly restricted itself to digital platform. Its first marketing campaign for India, launched last July, was a digital brand film titled Commitment, under its social campaign #LifeWithoutNetflix.  This was followed by several digital ads featuring stands up like Tanmay Bhatt, Kanan Gill and even Bollywood filmmaker Anurag Kashyap which used tongue-in-cheek humour to communicate its brand message. So far it seems to be working as its latest campaign #TryThisAtHome which takes a dig at New Year revelries racked up more than 3.2m views on Facebook alone in a week, striking a chord with thousands to receive more than 8k shares, and more than 98k reactions on Facebook.



Amazon Prime Video India, on the other hand, is testing every other marketing channel to create awareness. Its first digital campaign launched last December, #BeTheFirst with the collaboration of Only Much Louder and East India Comedy released a video named ‘Audacious Ones’ with a humourous touch. Nitesh Kripalani, director and country head of Amazon Prime Video India, said it was well received on social media. He claims, “Engagement was high. It exceeded all our expectations.” 

He also points out that the location of the customer drives the marketing strategy, apart from the content and its language. “For instance, for Tamil blockbuster ‘Kaashmora’ the marketing was restricted to Tamil Nadu with print and TV ads and hoardings. That worked extremely well for us as it turned out to be the top performing content in the service.” 

Viacom18’s Voot clearly leveraged its network’s mainstream channels for its campaign ‘Wanting Wanting’ launched last May. Later it extended its campaign to Voot Kids (a significant driver to the OTT service’s growth) with a special TVC. Akash Banerji, Senior Vice President, Head of Marketing and Partnerships, Voot, attests the success of the campaign with figures, “On the back of these two campaigns in a span of 6-7 months we have had 20 million downloads. Voot Kids campaign and addition of new categories to the product catalogue helped us achieve 100 per cent growth in OND quarter in viewership over previous quarters.” 



On digital front, it partnered with YouTube last June for a day-long interactive campaign to showcase the diversity and depth of their library on the latter’s masthead.

So what works? Banerji explains, “While all screens can achieve brand building tasks they all individually play specific roles. Mobile ads perform well on communicating message and driving activation.Viacom18’s network plays a critical role as it drives reach and helps us target TV audience. That’s a luxury only few players can enjoy. What works is the digital campaign on our platforms, YouTube, display sites (where money is being spent on CPC and CPI) and Ad words. Google search is a huge source of traffic for us. Marketing in digital world is ROI driven.”

Star India’s OTT service Hotstar which claims to have 140 million downloads, also follows a similar route with their brand message communicated through mainstream mediums besides digital. For IPL 2016, it offered brand integrations in programming and sponsor placements on the product. An ad campaign titled ‘Screen Chota Hai Par Dil Bada Hai’ ran on air to promote the IPL streaming on Hotstar. Similarly, to promote its coverage of Rio 2016 Olympics, the broadcasting network launched a campaign 'Life Gives You Tough Choices' which was well-received.

Sony Pictures Network’s OTT platform, Sony Liv, recently went for a brand overhaul with a 360-degree campaign which Uday Sodhi, EVP and Head – Digital Business, Sony LIV describes as ‘one of the biggest campaign on digital.’ He adds, “The brand film got us 10 million views on YouTube in no time. Over the last three to six months we have seen tremendous uptake and significant amount of consumption on platform in terms of refreshing content, bringing in new genres, refreshing our brand logo and positioning ourselves as entertainment destination in India. All the above has helped brand building.”

Dingra is extremely vocal about digital being the formula for clear cut formula for success, “When it comes to TV ads there’s no co-relation that it will bring downloads or subscription.”

Banerji adds, “TV is here to stay. Spending money on digital whether it’s activation or retention is going to be the mainstay.”

Differentiated marketing for original programming

Most of the experts we spoke to were unanimous about the need for differentiated and in-depth marketing for original programming. Dingra points out, “For a new show with new stars you need to create interest and try and build a following.”

According to Banerji this piece of content requires specific targeting to bring in early adopters to the platform. He explains, “More than mass game you need to find people with whom that particular piece of content is going to resonate. That actually drives in huge conversation.”

He shares marketing strategy of one of their popular shows ‘It’s Not That Simple,’ (INTS) “For the show aimed at women aged 25 plus, we deployed a strategy of targeting them across digital ecosystem juxtaposed with those who have already seen Voot Originals.”

Kriplani voices his thoughts, “For any content you need to build awareness. That applies to originals as well. We need to focus on the subject matter and accordingly use the right marketing channels.”

Sodhi agrees strongly, “It requires more marketing because it’s related to the product itself. The way the product is offered and its characters will determine the nature of marketing. A lot of these things are being experimented currently. For instance, for our Marathi webseries, Yolo, we put out the first episode on Facebook to see the response and then we moved that traffic to our platform through our second episode. So this is a form of content marketing. For ‘Married Women Diaries’ aimed at larger audience, we had spent a fair amount on outdoor and print. So the kind of marketing required for that is different from that of Marathi show.”

He also takes into consideration the scale of the show, “If the scale of the shows is bigger advertisement will have to be more mainstream with inclusion of TV and radio. You have to add outdoor and print for those with mass appeal.”  

Only set to grow

With the pace of OTT’s growth, investment in marketing by the players is only going to get bigger. Touching upon the paid users’ point, Dingra points out, “In three years regular paid user base (which stand at 5-8 million) may double to 10-20 million. But it also depends on the content and stickiness. So undoubtedly, there will be more marketing campaigns for the next three years. OTT platforms are investing to increase their user base to millions.”

Sodhi signs off, “New players will enter and existing players will get aggressive. Therefore this space will be a large segment for marketing spends.”

Tags digital

Madhuwanti reports on marketing, OTT and radio with a focus on trends. Based in Mumbai, she has worked across lifestyle, culture, television and retail industry.

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Amazon’s AWS and Salesforce partner for secure data sharing between platforms

Salesforce and Amazon’s cloud arm, AWS have announced working directly together to offer products and services that benefit their common customers

exchange4media Staff 9 hours ago

Amazon Salesforce

According to media reports, Salesforce and Amazon’s cloud arm, AWS, have announced that they are offering a new set of data integration services between the two cloud platforms for common customers.

Customers looking to transform digitally are still primarily concerned about security when moving data between cloud vendors said Matt GarmanMatt Garman, Vice President of Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud. “Customers talked to us about sensitive data in Salesforce and using deep analytics and data processing on AWS and moving them back and forth in secure way,” said Garman.

In practice, Salesforce customers can set up a direct connection using AWS Private Link to connect directly to private Salesforce APIs and move data from Salesforce to an Amazon service such as Redshift, the company’s data warehouse product, without ever exposing the data to the open internet.

Salesforce customers can set up Lambda functions so that when certain conditions are met in Salesforce, it triggers an action such as moving data (or vice versa). This is commonly known as serverless computing and developers are increasingly using event triggers to drive business processes.

Finally, the two companies are integrating more directly with Amazon Connect, the Amazon contact center software it launched in 2017. Salesforce offers its own contact center services with Salesforce Service Cloud. The two companies found a way to help common customers work together here to build what they are calling AI-driven self-service applications using Amazon Connect on the Salesforce mobile Lightning development platform.

This could involve among other things, building mobile applications that take advantage of Amazon Lex, AWS’s bot building application and Salesforce Einstein, Salesforce’s artificial intelligence platform. Common customers can download the Amazon Connect CTI Adapter on the Salesforce AppExchange.

Bret Taylor, President and Chief Product Officer at Salesforce said, “We’re enabling something that wouldn’t have been possible. It’s really exciting because it’s something unique in the marketplace.”

The two companies have been working together for some time. As Garman points out, Heroku, which Salesforce bought in 2010 and Quip, which it bought last year were both built on AWS from the get-go. Salesforce, which mostly runs its own data centers in the US runs most of its public cloud on AWS, especially outside the US Conversely, Amazon uses Salesforce tools internally.

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Puneet Gupt as been elevated as COO of Times Internet

Gupt has been with the Times Group for over ten years. Under his leadership, the company launched products like eTimes, GadgetsNow and NewsPoint to address emerging opportunities

exchange4media Staff 11 hours ago

Puneet Gupt

Times Internet announced the elevation of Puneet Gupt as the COO of Times Internet with immediate effect. Gupt has been associated with the Times Group for over ten years and since 2011, he has been head of Times Internet’s vast and diverse News business. Under his leadership, the company has been able to reinforce the #1 position of TOI, reach the #1 position in languages and launched products like eTimes, GadgetsNow and NewsPoint to address emerging opportunities. 

Gupt has played a critical role in Times Internet’s News business registering a stunning 6.5X growth and enabled the company to become the #1 premium digital publisher.

Announcing Gupt’s elevation Gautam Sinha, CEO of Times Internet said, “Puneet has been an invaluable asset to Times Internet. He is audacious, customer-obsessed and has rich experience in starting, growing and scaling up digital businesses. Puneet will be working closely with me to drive our ambitious growth agenda. He will lead our efforts in making Times Internet the go-to digital destination for every Indian’s information, entertainment and transaction needs.”

Gupt added, “Times Internet is a company that dares you to think big, and empowers you to make your dreams a reality. I look forward to amplify our growth by identifying and building category defining digital products that become the benchmark in quality and value proposition for our customers.”

Times Internet partnered with Tencent to invest in Gaana, acquired and re-launched a video OTT platform MX Play, as well as launched popular gaming platforms like BaaziNow & CricPlay. The company’s dining out platform, Dineout acquired restaurant management software firm Torqus last month.

With 40+ digital products, Times Internet reaches 400+ million people every month. Most of its digital products are market leaders across news, sports, music, video and more in India.

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Kotak Securities partners with CogMat to support their customer outreach

The teams will be working in tandem to track and analyse Kotak Securities’ online presence to synchronize the customer service loop thereby, quickening the customer-query resolution process

exchange4media Staff 12 hours ago


Kotak Securities, one of the leading stockbrokers in India has tied-up with CogMat Digital to capture their audience’s responses on multiple digital channels. The teams will be working in tandem to track and analyse Kotak Securities’ online presence to synchronize the customer service loop thereby, quickening the customer-query resolution process further.

Speaking on the partnership, Jaimit Doshi, Executive Vice President – Marketing, Products & Customer Service, Kotak Securities said, “We, at Kotak Securities believe that along with providing advanced online trading services, listening to our audience and redressal of their concerns and queries in a timely fashion, goes a long way in building a positive connect with them, thus, leading to long-term relationships and trust. With CogMat’s expertise in BFSI domain, we are geared-up for tracking and bridging the knowledge/query gap in order to enable us in strengthening our ‘Brand-Consumer’ connect.”

Adding to this, Rohini Joseph, Head of Operations, CogMat said, “Consumers today are extensively using digital platforms to connect with brands both for seeking information and for voicing their queries and concerns about the brand. They want to be heard and expect quick resolutions to their inquiries. We are pleased to be onboard with Kotak Securities, and offer our digital expertise and analytical skills to enable its CRM team to gather its consumer feedback and brand perception.”

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I want to see every Indian on the Internet: Rajan Anandan, Google

Anandan, VP - South East Asia & India, Google is the IMPACT Person of the Year 2018. He talks about the video explosion in India, why you can take data safety for granted on Google and more

Srabana Lahiri 19 hours ago

Rajan Anandan

Rajan Anandan, VP, South East Asia & India, Google is IMPACT Person of the Year 2018 for being a dynamic leader in India’s digital ecosystem, accelerating innovation, growing Internet adoption, enabling vernacular language access of the Internet and making ‘Internet for every Indian’ his mission. 

At Google’s headquarters in Gurgaon, Anandan, the company’s leader in India and South-east Asia, is affable and charming as he settles in for this interview. Google India is profitable, its many initiatives to help people use the Internet to better their lives are taking off and Anandan’s mission – to get every Indian on the Internet – has begun in right earnest. Therefore, it is a happy Anandan who talks to us, quick to slip from poking fun at himself to seriously dwelling on life, leadership and lessons learnt.

The first time I used the Internet, I actually didn’t know it… 
Working on programming at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Athena labs in Cambridge in the early 1990s, the first time I used the Internet, I actually didn’t know I was on the Internet! It was before the launch of the commercial Internet as we know it, and it wasn’t called ‘the Internet’ at the time… that’s my earliest recollection. And then when the commercial Internet arrived, Netscape, Yahoo Mail… I remember buying some books in 1997-98 after Amazon had launched and having them delivered… it was a magical experience… how you could order something and get it delivered at your doorstep. It’s incredible to see how the Internet has evolved.

As a child, I actually wanted to be a pilot…
When I was a child, I actually wanted to be a pilot, and fly planes. In fact, when I was 16, I actually took all the pilot training classes, but I was told afterwards that I was too young to actually take the test for a pilot’s licence. So, I lost interest in it and moved on to other things, otherwise I would probably have been flying Jet Airways or something!

There is no one model of great leadership… 
There are many different models of great leadership… no one model... What’s important is for everyone to find their authentic style of leadership, instead of trying to copy a style or a model because it’s successful… For me, a few things have been important. One, the ability to have a long term vision, being able to say, ‘This is where we want to go’, and ‘This is why we want to go there’. Two, being able to build very strong teams… I think leaders build teams because at the end of the day, that’s how you can actually build scale and velocity… Three, it’s very important to communicate clearly and communicate often, and without ambiguity. Four, it’s important for leaders to listen, and to be open to feedback, even if it is critical, and then be able to act on that feedback. The best leaders probably speak less and listen more. Five, the ability to quickly absorb data, listen to different points of view and make decisions quickly is very important in this technology era, because if you don’t make that decision, something would have happened, and before you know it, you are out of business. Lastly, being humble is very important.

I don’t think I have become a leader yet…
I don’t think I have become a leader yet, I am still working on it! You become better every day and at some point, may be you become reasonably good. I wouldn’t say leadership but I started managing people when I was in my early 20s at McKinsey, where I became an engagement manager. That was the first time where I actually had to convince other people, depend on them to do things collectively and get things done. It was an incredible experience. I learnt how to motivate people, how to inspire them… I have had this incredible privilege of having worked with truly inspiring leaders that I have learnt a lot from. My view is, you can learn from everybody. And you should also seek out opportunities where you can learn from teams, from leaders… I am just very fortunate that I started my career at McKinsey with a set of really awesome leaders. Since then too, it’s been a journey of learning from other leaders.

Forcing ads on people - that idea’s time is gone… 
It’s a very exciting time to be in the advertising and media ecosystem because there is so much change around us. On one hand, consumer behaviour is changing very dramatically and we have on an average 400 million Indians who are spending 3-4 hours a day connected to the Internet. What they are doing online is changing. You have to deeply understand those changes to change your strategies. The new set of digital technologies is much more measurable - the effective ROI that you can get from them is very interesting. Programmatic is fascinating. There are going to be things that machines can do better than people. Machines can buy much more efficiently at scale than many people can. Creating and serving 10,000 creatives instantly across an audience is possible today. Hyper-targeting, hyper-personalization, hyper-efficiency, hyper-creatives at scale, targeted creatives at scale… it’s slowly moving towards this idea of ‘segment of one’ - please show me an ad that I want to see when I want to see it and let me control whether I want to see it or not. True view is a fantastic format because you decide whether you want to watch the ad or not. I don’t watch mainline media anymore because I don’t want to watch things I don’t want to watch. This idea of forcing ads on people – it’s time has gone.

I resonate with Google’s moonshot thinking…
I resonate a lot with Google’s moonshot thinking… the idea of 10x thinking. Most companies are trying to improve things 10%, trying to grow 10%, trying to reduce cost by 10% as opposed to 10x. The core belief around moonshot thinking is something that I deeply value, and I have tried to imbibe it in what we do, both personally as a leader, but more importantly in our teams. So, when we launched the ‘Internet Saathi’ initiative, we said, ‘India has 6,00,000 plus villages. We want to get to 300,000 villages with a physical network of ‘Internet Saathi’ in three years’. We have to remember we are Google, a digital company, and we don’t build physical networks of anything. And that we were going to do exactly that, was really a moonshot idea. Over the next year, we will certainly reach that target. We have embarked on many moonshots; some have worked, some have not. Another leadership philosophy is that it’s really important to take a risk. I never ‘play it safe’. People always remember the things you did well and your big successes. The only person who obsesses about all the other things, all the times you failed, is actually you. So, I don’t agonize about failure. I just focus on trying to go for the big wins. 

What are Google’s ambitions in India, and what is on your priority list right now?
Our mission for the last several years has been Internet for every Indian. So, we said this when India only had about 100 million users. Today, we are at 400 million Internet users and we have over almost a billion Indians to go. There are more than 900 million Indians who are not connected to the Internet. So, everything that we are doing in India is focused on how do we get Internet for every Indian. We have developed a very deep understanding of all the challenges and barriers there are to getting Indians online, and we are addressing them. 

Recently you identified voice, video and vernacular as the three driving forces of the Indian Internet ecosystem. How has the Internet landscape evolved of late?
The Indian Internet ecosystem has changed pretty dramatically over the last few years. As we speak, we have 400 million monthly active users on the Internet. One thing that we have observed over the last year or so is that a large number of Internet users who come to the Internet for the very first time are now accessing it primarily through voice. It’s a combination of voice technology or voice access getting much easier, both on regular smartphones like Android, and also Jio connected phones. Most people would much rather speak than type. And as computer technology has got very big on voice, that’s become the primary access point. Video is really exploding. We have over 250 million active users on YouTube in India. As mobile broadband has become more affordable - a gigabyte of 4G data has gone down from Rs 250 to Rs 25 a month. Video consumption has gone from being very expensive to quite affordable, and that’s driven this explosive growth in video. Lastly, local languages - these new Internet users are accessing the Internet and consuming content in local languages, both in video as well as text. So, 100% of new users that are coming on to the Internet today are only proficient in their own Indian languages, be it Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Bangla or others. So, these are three very interesting trends among the new set of users who are coming online today.

How is the video explosion in India different to what is happening around the world?
It’s different in a couple of interesting ways. First, there is just a lot more consumption of video. About 75% of data consumption on the Internet in India is video, and that’s very different to where India was a few years ago. It’s been entirely enabled by the affordable broadband revolution in India. The first thing that new Internet users do in India is consume video. India is the world’s first ‘video first’ and ‘voice first’ Internet. I don’t think there is a single country in the world where you can get a gigabyte of data for Rs 25. And that’s really driven this massive explosion in video. 

It’s predicted that by 2020, India will have more than 600 million people online. What does a connected society of that size and scale mean to you? And what are the opportunities… what can you expect to make of it?
We will certainly be at well north of 600 million users by the time we get to the end of 2020. But, even at 600 million, we are still less than half of India. The most important part of this is the consumers who are connected to the Internet. Internet in India is going to enable all users to get access to very high quality basic services to which many Indians today can’t get access. For example, if you take education, we don’t have enough schools, we certainly will never have enough teachers, enough physical schools to be able to deliver very high quality education. But, with digital, especially with data becoming much more affordable, you can actually develop and deliver very high quality education through online tutorials to hundreds of millions of Indians at scale. For something basic like learning English, India will never be able to build enough centres, or have enough English teachers. If you really want to have 500-600 million Indians proficient in English compared to 200 million today, the only way to do that is through digital. Even in healthcare, India will never have enough hospitals – but somebody sitting in a small village in Karnataka can get access to the best doctors sitting in Bangalore or for that matter anywhere in the world if they are connected to the Internet. Access to affordable healthcare is going to increase. Internet is going to be an enabler in many ways, beginning to solve some of India’s more severe challenges that also become opportunities, especially for Indian start-ups. For brands and marketers, it’s already a scale medium with YouTube at 250 million users. Today it’s got more reach in urban India than any TV channel. But, it can be very targeted, so you don’t have to target all 250 million. You can target basically the 10 million Indians who are going to buy a smartphone next month, and just target them with the messaging that you want. How brands will drive engagement, how they will acquire users as well as how they will support and service and engage after purchase with consumers will change dramatically. There will be an extraordinary opportunity for brands to do things very differently.

With Google on every smartphone, sometimes users get a feeling that their privacy is invaded. Google knows everything. Is our data safe?
We take privacy very seriously; consumer privacy and consumer safety are most important for us. Many still don’t know that you can actually go to Google and see all the data that Google has on you as a consumer, and we give you the option to delete all that data at the tap of one button. Or you can take the data and import it to wherever you like. One, we want to be very transparent on what data we have on you. Two, we want to be transparent on how we use the data that we have on you. And three, and most important, we want to give you control. You should control the data that any platform has about you, and you should control whether or not you want that platform to have the data and what they use it for.

Can you tell us about some of the non-traditional or regional advertisers that are coming on board? And what are the things that they are doing differently?
There are 51 million small businesses in India. Only a few of them advertise on any medium today. About 10,000 of them advertise on Television, 1,50,000 advertise on Print. And today 2,00,000 advertise on Digital. So, the real advertising story in India is going to be about how do we get this medium Digital to become the first, probably the only way in which 20-30 million small businesses will advertise, because those advertisers want a medium that is easy, and extraordinarily focused on return on investment. They also want a medium that is very interactive. They want to run an ad now and get a lead in the next 30 minutes as opposed to run an ad now and see brand metrics improve. So, that is one very big story that is evolving in India today. But then, lots of traditional advertisers are doing some very interesting things, especially leveraging YouTube as a platform as well as programmatic. 

Advertising contributed a huge 69% to Google's turnover with Google Search ads continuing to be the go-to place for digital advertisers in India. But the digital advertising market in India is still very small. What are the factors preventing it from taking off?
We're focused on helping advertisers get the most out of their online spends. There might be any number of reasons why a marketer hasn't tried digital yet. What we do know is that once marketers give it a go, digital’s mix of transparent, measurable results speaks for itself. There is a growing realization that Internet today is not just a marketing channel - it is influencing purchase decisions and marketers are now looking at digital to drive revenue growth. In fact, many auto companies are shifting their marketing spends from Print to online. In 2017- 2018, in categories like Auto and Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI), there was even a direct correlation between online research and offline purchase: 20% of sales in a leading auto original equipment manufacturer (OEM) were driven by digital. In fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and banking, consumers relied on digital throughout their purchase journeys, leveraging search to discover products and educate themselves before converting online. 

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IPOY 2018: Experts discuss why innovation and digital transformation are of essence

A panel comprising Deepak Iyer, Mondelez India; Prasoon Pandey, Corcoise Films; and Rajan Anandan, Google; deliberate on 'future, innovation and digital transformation'

exchange4media Staff 18 hours ago


At the recently held Impact Person Of the Year (IPOY) 2018 Award function, a panel comprising Deepak Iyer, Managing Director, Mondelez India; Prasoon Pandey, Director, Corcoise Films; and Rajan Anandan, VP, Southeast Asia and India, Google; discussed ‘future, innovation and digital transformation.’ The discussion was moderated by ‘Anurag Batra, Chairman & Editor-in-Chief - BW Businessworld.

Watch the session here and scroll down to read:

Talking about what Mondelez is doing to be future-ready, Iyer shed light on connected devices and getting automated machines to life.

“So we changed our thinking and instead of having chief creative officer, we thought why don’t we have digital ambassadors. We started in all places. In the factory, we had all machines digitally integrated. Instead of having 10 people manning one machine, we have one console that can do the job. There are censors in these machines and we’ve been able to get lots of data. We have also moved from annual maintenance to predicable maintenance. Today, there is GPS, Google map, big data out there. There isn’t just one function but so many. So we haven’t cracked it all. It’s just the start,” exclaimed Iyer. Iyer said a team at Mondelez works on what could be the possible disruptions that might hit the industry.

Pandey spoke about how making a commercial has nothing to do with the medium-- whether one is doing it on digital or not.

“It’s like a painting. You could paint on canvas, paper or wall. A lot of people ask me, ‘Are you making a digital commercial?’ And I tell them that I can’t understand the question. It’s the same commercial which is played on TV, a movie hall. It’s a question of who am I talking to.”

Pandey remarked that the main issue is how does one grab audience attention. And this is a creative issue. “Here we are involved only with the painting.”

Speaking about data and research, Pandey said, “On research, I have very scant respect. World over, tell me one election prediction that got it right?”  He pointed out that it’s all about gut and observations. “What I’m watching or observing is being depicted in my commercials,” he said.

When Anandan was quizzed on his three predictions for future, he said that AI and machine-learning will impact every industry. He gave the example of the first driverless taxi service which has been launched recently.

“It is a true amplification of AI. It goes back to what can machines do better than humans? Machines can now do a lot of things better than humans. Today you can listen to music which has actually been created by a machine. Machine can predict better than an ophthalmologist.”

Apart from the prediction that AI and machine-learning will dramatically impact industries, Anandan shared that the way we think about life is going to change drastically as we go forward. 

“As technology is able to produce more food than the world needs, as technology dramatically brings the cost of energy down, what will we do with all the free time? You will start seeing new kinds of social model developing in the world and the way we think about world today will change.”

Addressing the issue of social media’s impact and technology players using data, Anandan shared that you can go to My Account at Google and can figure out what data Google has access to and can also wipe it out.

“Being able to give users the ability to control their data is very important. Platforms should take care they don’t use data in the way they shouldn’t.” He also added that Google is working on a concept for segments who spend a lot of their time online, so that they can tell the machine if they want the network or connectivity to shut down after a point of time.

Anandan said that Google allows people to flag content that is not desirable. It has over 10,000 human reviewers all over to check if it violates any laws. “We are trying to make it easier to flag it and are building the infrastructure and capability at Google to review it. We’re also training 8,000 journalists how to use technology and write high-quality content.”

When the experts were quizzed on what they would be doing a couple of years from now, Iyer said, “I would be selling moments of joy”. Pandey exclaimed that he would be creating. Anandan said, “Ten years from now, every single person and thing will be connected to the Internet. I want to be there.”

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Facebook ties up with Business Standard for subscription programme

Business Standard is the only publication in India selected for the programme

exchange4media Staff 2 days ago


Social media giant Facebook has tied up with the Business Standard as part of its subscription programme. The announcement was made by Facebook on Friday. Facebook said it had added a total of 28 such partners globally. Business Standard is the only one from India, according to media reports.

The development follows Facebook's announcement last year that it was developing a paywall for subscription publishers to use in ‘Instant Articles’ with the goal of improving subscriber acquisition from the social media site. 

Some of the other publications that Facebook has partnered with include, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe. 

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We have seen 20 times growth in Internet consumption in India: Rajan Anandan

Rajan Anandan on winning the IMPACT Person of the Year award, the scale at which Internet users are growing in India and new consumer behaviour trends

exchange4media Staff 2 days ago


Rajan Anandan, Vice President, Southeast Asia and India, Google, took home the IMPACT Person of the Year 2018 Award, instituted by the exchange4media group to recognise excellence in the advertising, media and marketing domain.

He won the award for driving Internet adoption across India, especially in Tier II and Tier III towns, through several initiatives including ‘Navlekha’, Google’s platform for users in India who are not conversant with English, ‘Internet Saathi’, an initiative to bring more rural women online, and the Indian Railways high-speed Wi-Fi project, providing free Wi-Fi to consumers at railway stations across the country. He has also been responsible for accelerating innovation in India and Southeast Asia for Google. Under Anandan’s leadership, the company saw its profits increase from Rs 306.6 crore in 2016-17 to Rs 407.2 crore in 2017-18, with a total turnover of Rs 9,337.7 crore.

Watch Anandan's speech here and scroll down to read: 

Commenting on his win, Anandan said the recognition isn’t about him but about the incredible Internet users in India. “It’s very humbling to win this award. I congratulate all the other nominees. But this recognition isn’t about me. It’s a recognition for the incredible Internet users in India and the recognition of the amazing products that Google has and of the amazing team at Google as well as the ecosystem partners we have been fortunate to work with. From the bottom of my heart, I’m truly appreciative of being at Google,” he said.

Anandan remarked that India is at an interesting time when it comes technology.

“When it comes to consumer Internet, what we are seeing in India is unparalleled; something that we haven’t seen in the history of Internet. We have witnessed a scale of growth and consumer behaviours that we haven’t seen before. And this makes it very exciting. There are 400 million Internet users in India and we’re adding 8-10 million Internet users every month. As data is becoming more affordable, all of these users are spending more time online," he explained.

Anandan shared that the average consumption per user per month has crossed 10 gigabytes. “Two and a half years ago, that number was less than one. So we’ve seen 20x growth in Internet consumption."

Shedding light on the emerging Internet user behaviour, he said it is largely being driven by voice. “The new Internet user wants to speak to the Internet and doesn’t want to type.” He revealed that India has the highest online video market in the world and also pointed out how going vernacular is another trend the brand has taken note of.

“There are over 300 million online video users with watch time growing rapidly. And users today prefer accessing the Internet in their local language,” Anandan added.

Making a case for what Internet is doing for the masses, Anandan spoke about how it is enabling world-class facilities at their fingertips. “What excites me the most is what Internet is enabling for the real India. Today, there is an app that uses AI to deliver world-class diagnostics even in the most tiny, remote villages. People can also easily get access to education with many online courses and programmes at their disposal.”

Speaking about Internet Saathi, Google’s initiative to bridge the online gender divide in India, he said, “As we started working on it, we learnt that only 10 per cent Internet users in rural area were women. The digital gender divide in rural India was worst.”

Anandan acknowledged that this stemmed from constraints such as no access to smartphones, societal pressure and lack of understanding of what Internet could do for them. Google decide to give them a smartphone and show them how to use the Internet apart from giving them a stipend, he said. In the process, they trained over 20 million women. Through this initiative, he shared, Google gathered insights on what these women actually wanted.  

“They want to get access to education for their families, they want to know how they can make more money and want healthcare of their families. Internet is bringing the best of the world to India and is extra-ordinarily relevant to India,” he asserted.

Anandan shared how the power of the Internet converted some of these 'internet saathis' into rural entrepreneurs. He highlighted how they didn’t know what Internet was able to do for them. But as they learnt how to start a business, they started making 10 times more than what they did earlier.

He left the audience with an interesting question. “I want you’ll to think where would India be when every single Indian will be online?”.

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Google India hosts Partners Summit in Mumbai

Experts shared insights on how technology and digital creativity are changing the media and advertising landscape and creating new opportunities for agencies to grow their business.

exchange4media Staff 3 days ago


At the second edition of the Google India Partners Summit, experts shared insights on how technology and digital creativity are changing the media and advertising landscape and creating new opportunities for agencies to grow their business.

Themed on ‘Agency of the Future’, the Google India Partners Summit centered around four sessions, that covered media and advertising industry trends, and how advertising agencies will need to adapt to be future ready. ‘Building Tech Capabilities’ discussed how embracing automation and improvements in technology can drive better client and customer results.

‘Breakthrough the clutter with storytelling’, talked about reaching the right audience through the right formats and rethinking creative approach moving from traditional to emerging story arcs.

‘Building the right team’ brought in former Indian cricket captain, Sourav Ganguly, to share insights into developing a great team that can compete internationally and understands the key principle around attracting and retaining top talent.

Speaking on the sidelines, Shalini Girish, Director - Google Marketing Solution, Google India said, “The consumer landscape is evolving rapidly, and the advertising industry must adapt quickly to continue delivering value to brands. Through the Partners Summit, we want to enable our partners to be future ready and rethink their approach for a digital-first world. Together with our agency partners, we want to create better opportunities for brands to understand customer journey, predict marketing outcomes and personalise the customer experience.”

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ZEE5 strengthens presence in APAC, MENA and Africa; partners with Zeasn

Over the next year, the ZEE5 app will be made available on all Zeasn enabled devices, offering Whale Eco consumers access to ZEE5’s premium content.

exchange4media Staff 3 days ago

zee5 and zeasn

Close on the heels of its global launch, ZEE5, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd’s digital entertainment platform today announced a key strategic alliance with Zeasn, the leading home digital entertainment service provider. The partnership will make ZEE5 available on millions of Zeasn devices across Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

“Asia, Middle East and Africa are among the fastest growing markets in the world for online entertainment content and are key markets for us, given the huge South Asian diaspora, and the universal love for Bollywood content even among the locals there. By enabling over 2.5 million Zeasn users to access our unparalleled content library, this partnership further underscores our commitment to bring the best of language entertainment to viewers across devices of their choice,” said Archana Anand, Chief Business Officer – ZEE5 Global.

“Bollywood content has a large number of fans around the world and it is a very important part of the world's cultural treasure. The strategy partnership will enable the consumers to enjoy wonderful Bollywood content efficiently on their smart TV devices, that will greatly help enrich the content of family digital entertainment system,” said Jason He, Chief Executive Officer – Zeasn.

Available across 190+ countries globally, ZEE5 offers multi-genre and multi-lingual content across English, Tamil, Hindi, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali, Oriya, Bhojpuri, Gujarati and Punjabi. ZEE5 comes packed with 1,00,000 hours of On Demand content, including Movies and TV Shows, Music, and Health and Lifestyle videos along with a slew of Originals, across 12 languages. It also has an extensive Live TV offering with 60+ popular Live TV channels.

With over 2.5 million Zeasn connected device users now being able to watch ZEE5 across any screen of their choice, this partnership further strengthens ZEE5’s international reach, while giving Zeasn users access to the largest library of over 1,00,000 hours of language content across genres. Over the next year, the ZEE5 app will be made available on all Zeasn enabled devices, offering Whale Eco consumers access to ZEE5’s premium content.

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Facebook 2018 Year In Review: Festivals, Cricket and support for Kerala connected India

The top moments of this year's Year In Review were determined by gathering a list of the top keywords by volume mentioned in a single day on Facebook between January 1 and November 11, 2018

exchange4media Staff 2 days ago


Facebook has announced its 2018 Year in Review, highlighting the top ways people came together on the platform to talk about some of the year's key events with their family and friends. This information combines the top single-day moments throughout the year with the top ways the Facebook community used the platform to come together around these moments.

The moments that people discussed most in India in 2018 were:


  • Festivals ruled the roost: India set Facebook buzzing on festivals in 2018 with Krishna Janmashtami, Eid al-Adha, Thai Pongal, Navratri driving the most conversations on the platform, as Indians took to Facebook to celebrate the biggest of occasions with their friends and family.
  • Community Connect: The community came together on Facebook to lend support and offer help as Kerala was affected by torrential floods. Facebook features such as Safety Check tool, Live, creating Page, and raising funds enabled people to reach to their near and dear ones, seeking help and informing of their safety.
  • Bereavement: The demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India was a reminder of impact that his leadership had in serving the nation with many Indians expressing their sadness, but also sharing tributes by sharing his poetry and inspiring stories of his life.
  • Sports bring India together: Nothing unites India like sport does and 2018 was a year that saw a flurry of high octane, exciting, global sporting events.
    • Cricket continued to rule to hearts of Indian sports fans on Facebook as it was one of the most popular topics driving conversations on the platform.
    • Millions of Indian football fans also came together to support their favourite teams and players as FIFA Football World Cup 2018 showcased the best in class footballing action and talent to fans worldwide.


Globally the events that were most talked about on FB were:


  • International Women’s Day: For the second year in a row, International Women’s Day on March 8 was the #1 most talked about moment of the year. But in 2018, IWD conversation was about more than the day itself. Women and men around the world discussed a wide range of topics, issues and causes related to women.
  • March for Our Lives: Survivors of the violence in Parkland, Florida announced the March for Our Lives movement on February 18, which drove conversation and action around the world. Over the next month, more than 1 million people showed interest in attending a Facebook Event for March for Our Lives, and more than $2.5 million was raised through Facebook Fundraisers.
  • Civic Engagement: The Brazilian Presidential Election on October 7 and the US Midterm Elections on November 6 were top moments for conversation about voting and elections.
  • World Cup: More than 383 million soccer fans from around the world took to Facebook to cheer on their favorite teams through 2.3 billion posts, comments, reactions and shares. France’s World Cup victory on July 15 and England’s Semi-Final match against Croatia on July 11 were two of the top most-discussed moments of the year.
  • Super Bowl 52: The Philadelphia Eagles secured their first Super Bowl win against the New England Patriots on February 4. More than 62 million people turned to Facebook following Tom Brady’s incomplete Hail Mary pass at the end of the game, and Justin Timberlake’s halftime performance paying tribute to Prince.
  • The Royal Wedding: The much-anticipated nuptials between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19 connected 42 million people on Facebook who about posted about the ceremony, the newlyweds, and the pomp and circumstance.
  • Nelson Mandela 100: July 18 marked 100 years since Nelson Mandela was born, and millions of people came to Facebook to celebrate Mandela’s life of dedication to human rights and social justice.
  • Keeping Legacies Alive: The world lost many influential and inspirational people in 2018. From musical icons Aretha Franklin, Avicii, and Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, to scientific visionaries like Stephen Hawking, influential storytellers like Anthony Bourdain and Hollywood stars like Burt Reynolds. People around the world shared millions of posts on Facebook to memorialize the global impact and work of these individuals.

The top moments of this year's Year In Review were determined by gathering a list of the top keywords by volume mentioned in a single day on Facebook between January 1 and November 11, 2018. To identify which topics were unique to 2018, Facebook compared these keywords to the previous year's maximum single-day volume. This means that keywords like Mother's Day and Halloween, which typically represent the top moments every year, do not repeatedly appear at the top of the list.


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