Prabhvir Sahmey

What Does The Future Hold for Ad-Supported CTV in India?

Gavin Buxton, Managing Director, Asia, Magnite

January 9, 2023 | 5 min read

Magnite’s Asia Managing Director, Gavin Buxton, caught up with Samsung Ad’s Senior Director, Prabhvir Sahmey, following Magnite’s latest research report, India Embraces the Streaming Era, to discuss how India’s ad-supported streaming market is developing and the exciting opportunities ahead for advertisers.

GB:  Our report indicates that most streamers (75%) are streaming more video content now than one year ago, and (66%) expect to stream more video content in the near future. What is your view of the state of ad-supported streaming in India?

PS: We are witnessing the next stage in streaming’s evolution – where the lines between SVOD (subscription video-on-demand), AVOD (ad-based video-on-demand) and FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV) are blurred as audiences continue to fragment. Whilst globally, we’re seeing the major streaming giants introduce ad-funded and hybrid models, locally, we’ve seen the adoption of these freemium models in India gain considerable viewership over the years.

GB: The data shows us that most streamers in India prefer to watch ad-supported content rather than pay for an ad-free experience. What is driving users to stream more free ad-supported content?

PS: Indian audiences are accustomed to the value exchange of ads for free quality content.  In our recent TV Advertising Engagement Study, 4 out of 5 (81%) Indian consumers are willing to see ads in exchange for free quality. However, these ads must be relevant. Smart TVs offer a big-screen OTT experience and allow advertisers to reach a highly engaged, growing streaming audience in an environment that also offers greater targeting and measurement capabilities.

GB: Magnite’s report also revealed that quality content, platform usability and content discovery are the top factors driving audiences to stream over watching traditional TV. Why is a top-quality user experience and advertising experience so important, and how are you delivering this for your customers? 

PS: As TV gets smarter, with easier navigation, enhanced capabilities and a more personalised experience, consumers not only expect Smart TVs to provide access to great apps and content but also to make them more discoverable. Brands and content providers battling for attention on the biggest screen in the household must shift their focus towards discoverability. 

While consumers are streaming more OTT content than ever, ironically, the more available the content, the harder it becomes to find something to watch. The rise of app-based TV has seen app opens and usage soar. In November 2022, we had over 280 million app launches on Samsung Smart TVs in India. As viewers deal with decision paralysis, there is a big opportunity to simplify the journey of discovery and content recommendation.  

According to a PWC survey, 79% of viewers now look to the Smart TV home screen to aid discovery and recommendation. Our advertising solutions are positioned within the native TV viewing experience – so the audience is always top of mind.

GB: Streamers indicated that they are more inclined to pay attention to video ads on streaming services than to ads on social media or websites. What is the key to unlocking the power of streaming advertising for brands and advertisers?

PS: The key to unlocking discoverability will be access to audience insights. There are millions of Samsung CTVs installed in Indian households, and they will become a fantastic source of audience data. This allows us to collaborate with advertisers to position content and brands within the organic TV viewing experience based on viewing insights. Planning against real behaviours will enable advertisers to achieve better cost-effectiveness and manage reach and frequency.

Recently, Tata Motors achieved incremental reach for their recent EV launch campaign. The CTV campaign reached 73% of our total Samsung universe, compared to just 19% who were reached by the linear campaign alone on Samsung Smart TVs.

GB: Looking ahead, how do you see the Indian video streaming ad market developing?

PS: Looking to the future, a new type of streaming service is gaining ground. FAST, free ad-supported streaming TV, is becoming a popular route to viewers and provides new revenue streams for not just the traditional media companies you’d expect. FAST channels can create a simpler journey and shortcut to content with genre-based or single-show channels. It marries both the traditional broadcast experience of “live” channels and the video-on-demand convenience into one place — giving users the choice and ability to jump between the two. Like all streaming, it is easy to access, and in some instances, it is pre-installed on Smart TVs.

FAST is still a fairly new concept in India offered by only a handful of platforms, such as Samsung TV Plus, which has over 85 channels. But if the growth in the US is anything to go by, then we could expect similar growth here, especially given the appetite for free alternatives. Furthermore, audiences are starting to see the value proposition that ad-supported streaming can bring, especially when their viewing behaviour data is used to present relevant and engaging ads back to them.

While the growth of smart TV adoption in India is a clear indication that brands need to take advantage of CTV advertising, those willing to invest and learn about this growing media will reap the rewards by being forward-thinking and ahead of the trend.

Download Magnite’s and Samsung Ad’s research reports to learn more about India’s latest streaming video trends.

Tags: CTV

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