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Advertisers Find Hotstar's Adserve To Be A Formidable Tool But for One Drawback

10-April-2018
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Advertisers Find Hotstar's Adserve To Be A Formidable Tool But for One Drawback

Hotstar’s AdServe platform that empowers small advertisers to directly advertise on Hotstar is all set to give stiff competition to video sharing platform YouTube, Facebook, and other OTT players in India.

Digital media buyers that exchange4media spoke to said that Hotstar’s Adserve tool is one-of-a-kind and looks very promising. There is just one drawback, analytics features such as campaign planning and reporting are both missing in the current version of the tool.

The feature has been deployed for Vivo IPL 2018 in its Beta version. Features such as Audience Planning, Campaign Reporting that will facilitate media buyers to calibrate their campaigns and optimise them are yet to be made available in this Beta version. “Analytics is very important and if an advertiser is putting in money they want to know how the campaign is doing. Any advertiser big or small needs analytics,” said Gopa Kumar, Executive Vice President, Isobar India.


Comparing the tool that Hotstar has created to what Facebook and YouTube already have, Suraj Nambiar, Managing Partner & Media Head, Tonic Worldwide, said that Hotstar should at the very least provide demographic and psychographic data about the audience. “Otherwise we are just walking in blind,” he said.

“For people to take the platform seriously and put more monies, Hotstar will need to make the analytics available to advertisers,” felt Kumar. He said that Hotstar’s backend may be equipped to offer some amount of analytics as and when campaigns roll out.

“When all the features are launched, Hotstar AdServe will be a formidable platform for advertisers,” said Vibhas Sen, Lead, Auction Mediated Media, Liqvd Asia. He was also of the opinion that Hotstar has understood the needs of media buyers very well and is on the path to creating a very robust self-service tool.

In its current form SMBs with small media budgets will be able toy around with the service. “For now they can experiment and see how Hotstar works for them,” said Kumar.

That said, being a first-mover in the OTT space will give Hotstar a headstart in self-serve advertising. “Other OTT players are still not ready to roll out tool like this one,” said Kumar.

Looking forward to Final Product

“The final version will be a delight to work with. The tool still has a long way to go,” said a digital media buyer.

Hotstar promises to make this self-service tool available to advertisers for the Asia Cup in September, Pro Kabaddi in December and a whole slew of Entertainment content as well. Apart from Analytics, Hotstar also promises to roll out features such as Custom Audiences and Creative Library soon. “As and when all of this comes into play, AdServe will be an interesting platform.”



Nambiar believes that AdServe is a an apt tool for media planners and advertisers who look to optimise campaigns. He was also hopeful that instead of weekly or monthly reports, Hotstar may offer immediate reports thus aiding in better optimisation.

Some advertisers and digital media buyers that exchange4media spoke to said that the are yet to completely explore the tool which was launched on March 28. It is possible that since AdServe is in its Beta version, media buyers are in a wait and watch mode. “More features will need to be added before bigger advertisers use this tool,” said another digital media buyer. That also explains Hotstar’s full-page ad in papers on Monday for the advertising tool. 
exchange4media’s queries to Hotstar about the response from advertisers were yet to be answered at the time of publication.

How it works:

Currently, advertisers can only run video campaigns using the platform during the IPL matches. The ads run via Hotstar AdServe will appear when the match is in play – over break, fall of wickets and other events that provide an ad break opportunity and/or pre & post match show – ad breaks taken during the course of these shows.

Advertisers can choose the schedule for the campaign, preferred language/teams, budget, and upload the 20 second ad, it is as simple as that! Advertisers can either choose to run the ad for all matches across all languages or choose particular teams or languages in which they would prefer to run the ad.



The budget spans Rs 10 lakh to Rs 1 cr. Hotstar also gives advertisers the possible impressions a campaign can achieve within a certain budget. For example: in Rs 30 lakh a brand can achieve 10.59M impressions (upto 10s long creative) or 5.3M impressions (upto 20s long creative). 


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