Sandiip Kapur is a successful entrepreneur, runs Promodome Communications, an advertising agency with a track record of nearly two decades. He has produced three Bollywood feature films under his banner, Promodome Motion Pictures, Anarkali, Juggad and Bhonsle (recently launched on SonyLiv). Sandiip has produced several ad films and corporate films in his career. His next production shall go on floors in September this year. As is his wont, he shall be bringing a new, interesting subject to the audiences.
While the popularity of cable TV continues to decline, OTT (Over the top) viewing is poised to hijack the massive viewership of millions of Indians away from traditional mediums. With premium content, wide variety, and accessibility, it is now becoming an entertainment staple for viewers. Since the eyeballs have been shifting to OTT, it is also time for brands to follow suit.
What is OTT, and why is it gaining in popularity?
Over-the-top viewing refers to video content delivered straight to the consumer via an internet-based platform, instead of a cable or satellite provider. OTT providers have their websites and apps designed for users, where they can log in and access the content available by paying a subscription fee. When it comes to consuming video content, OTT tops the preference list, especially in the case of millennials. A report by eMarketer says the number of OTT users, i.e. cord-cutters will reach 55.1 million by 2022, up from an estimated 39.1 million this year. During the same period, OTT adoption is expected to jump from 170.1 million to 197.7 million.
The OTT platforms serve new and engaging content, which is well received by eager viewers who are tired of the repetitive content found across the various TV channels. Consumers now have the luxury of viewing shows “on-demand” on a number of devices, at their own convenience, and at a lower cost. A KPMG India & EROS report indicates that 80% of those who subscribe to OTT platforms feel that their entertainment needs are met by OTT platforms, while 38% of these users are ready to shift from traditional content viewing mediums such as TV.
What makes OTT one of the best marketing channels?
In India, OTT platforms gained significant viewership and popularity in the last few years. According to an Ernst &Young and FICCI report titled ‘Billion screens of opportunity’, the Indian OTT sector experienced a growth rate of 59% and it is expected to have reached$17 billion in revenues in FY2019. The staggering numbers are a significant jump from $13.5 billion in revenues a year earlier and are expected to hit $24 billion by next year. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the viewership base has increased further due to the nationwide lockdown. With movie theatres and multiplexes being shut indefinitely, the filmmakers began to release their movies on these platforms. With the explosive growth of OTT platforms, it’s now time for brands to wake up to the reality of content-driven consumer engagement and brand affinity. Here’s why brands must opt for OTT advertising to gain a competitive edge:
Brands and marketers now have the opportunity to target the right mix of viewers based on their profiles and viewing habits. OTT platforms could help brands learn about a customer based on the choices on their devices, through the shows they watch, browsing history, and shopping preferences. This information could help in creating targeted ads, keeping an individual viewer at the centre of decision making, rather than a large segment or group. OTT platforms also offer superior measurement and performance tracking metrics compared to TV advertising. Mobile measurement platforms and OTT providers are now offering tools, which allow OTT advertisers to attribute app installs, registrations, utilize relevant data and audience insights.
The OTT platforms serve well-packaged, personalized, relevant, and engaging content. The concept of binge-watching has now become a trend as it provides access to complete shows, instead of keeping the viewer waiting for the next episode. Viewers who binge-watch, get exposed to multiple ads throughout the show. Since the ads are well-targeted, they are more than willing to engage with them. On OTT platforms with controlled interfaces, it is not possible to just close the advertisement, switch to another browser tab or even install an ad blocker to restrict ads. Consequently, brands are able to get their message across at all times.
Viewers are particularly responsive to OTT advertising messages, making ad-supported OTTs a valuable marketing channel. A report by Freewheel suggests that more than one-third of OTT visits are over an hour-long, and viewers complete 98% of all premium video ads. A 2018 report by the Video Advertising Bureau’ acknowledges that34%of OTT-streaming viewers have admitted about their second-screen activity being almost completely related to the program or commercials. The report also suggests that25% of ad-supported OTT viewers have mentioned that they buy more products directly from the brands online versus in-store physical purchases. With OTT advertising creating increased brand awareness and favorability, brands can enjoy greater outreach and ROI.
Today, both smart devices and data connectivity are extremely affordable in India. The country is among the top few in the world in terms of data usage, with an average of 9.8 GB of data used per month. Indians spend close to 3 hours a day on their smartphones, and more than 30% of this time is spent on entertainment. A growing number of Indian viewers are choosing the OTT platforms to satiate their appetite for entertainment. With the precise targeting capabilities, premium ad opportunities, viewer engagement provided by OTTs, advertisers can now tap into its burgeoning audience, with a significant number of them cutting the cord in favour of streaming services.