AVIA’s Future of Video India: Maximizing the Value of OTT and CTV Advertising in India
The OTT market in India is the fourth largest globally and one of the most competitive growing markets. Advertisers now have unprecedented opportunities to reach audiences increasingly shifting to OTT streaming. At AVIA’s Future of Video India, Magnite joined industry leaders from Airtel Ads, Amplifi India at Dentsu International, SonyLIV and Finecast India to discuss the potential of OTT & CTV advertising across omnichannel campaigns and how it complements linear TV advertising.
CTV & OTT Growth in India: Content, AVOD & Technology-Driven
The entire video landscape in India now reaches approximately 500 million video viewers, with a combined OTT reach of around 350 million unique users. AVOD will dominate OTT and CTV growth, driven by technology advancements and quality content.
“Because of the amount of fresh content, disruption and great storytelling, the space is growing faster than we know,” says Ranjana Mangla, SVP and head of ad revenue, SonyLIV. “Content is a conversation starter and a game-changer for any media company. The word of mouth and content drive more people to sign up.”
AVOD continues to lead viewership growth, especially with broadcasters increasing investment in digital-first content. “What’s fuelling exponential growth in subscription are the major broadcasters now on OTT who understand cord-cutting will happen and the importance of placing themselves at the forefront of getting views on other screens,” says Mangla. “AVOD is bound to grow faster compared to subscription’s dependency on the development of the digital payment ecosystem. For us, subscriptions grew exponentially, but most of our viewership comes from AVOD.”
The key technology enablers driving OTT and CTV’s rapid growth in India are readily available, increasingly affordable streaming devices and cost-effective home broadband plans.
SonyLIV emphasized the ease of internet availability and cheaper mobile phones as key factors fuelling OTT growth. “For any hard or software technology to grow, it has to become more affordable,” says Mangla. “There are now more ways to convert a traditional TV into SmartTV, and more people will get used to watching OTT on mobile or CTV.”
Similarly, Airtel highlighted that linear TV is not going away, as set-top boxes now give audiences access to OTT content without owning Smart TVs. Broadband penetration and affordable data plans will also continue to drive growth.
“We will probably see a consolidation of devices such as set-top boxes and broadband as technology evolves and telco data plans drive higher data consumption,” says Vignesh Narayanan, CEO at Airtel Ads. “With 5G, this will also accelerate high-quality TV viewing through these devices.”
Addressing OTT Fragmentation: Omnichannel Is Key
OTT and CTV viewership fragmentation will continue, where OTT players enter the market and audiences consume content across multiple screens.
“What we’re missing out in the cluttered ad space is the attention and noticeability of ads, which will only happen through omnichannel,” says Sujata Dwibedy, group trading director, Amplifi India at Dentsu International. “We’re always engaging in multiple activities. When you’re watching CTV, you’re also searching for a product. CTV & OTT ads can be looked at together with display, search and social ads.”
An omnichannel strategy is crucial for advertisers to capture audience attention and drive better outcomes, where OTT and CTV are looked at holistically as part of the media plan.
“Advertisers cannot look at CTV and OTT in isolation; these channels come across various stages of the buying journey. We need to look at messaging across audiences and platforms as an integrated channel of media,” added Dwibedy.
A key focus for Airtel is bridging OTT fragmentation, with efforts now targeted at streamlining distribution while ensuring content choices for viewers.
“As regional OTT apps and regional content grows, fragmentation will continue to happen,” says Narayanan. “We are focused on having one view of the customer across the ecosystem whether across digital, radio, TV and to automate on the linear TV side. The divide between linear and OTT is fading with technology becoming an enabler on both sides.”
Programmatic has also made it easier to consolidate premium video inventory, improving the efficiency of traditional TV buying.
“From a legacy perspective, TV requires several points of contact with individual media buyers,” says Mete Bargmann, senior director of business development at Magnite. “With programmatic, advertisers can tap into premium inventory from multiple sources and layer on first and third-party data. Scale is not an issue; it’s about getting the right access points.”
Future of CTV: Addressable Opportunities
The data possibilities of premium digital advertising are now available on CTV, with OTT providers pushing for better targeting to support advertisers in their omnichannel strategy.
SonyLIV highlights the interactivity opportunities with CTV offering more sophisticated targeting with active viewing. “CTV is a two-way medium and no longer a passive viewing platform,” says Mangla. “We’re innovating more ways for people to interact with CTV, such as our KBC play-along game show. You’re a passive viewer watching on linear TV, but on CTV or OTT, you’re an active viewer with opportunities to participate in the show.”
There are opportunities to realize the full potential of addressable TV. Airtel’s end goal is to make linear TV audiences more addressable to yield an omnichannel experience for advertisers. “We’re excited to see how we can help existing broadcasters not on OTT drive higher value through dynamic ad replacement on real-time TV to help advertisers reach addressable audiences.”
“With dynamic ad replacement, there will be a new form of publisher revenue with opportunities to be addressable,” says Bargmann. “There’s a lot of growth in live TV, especially in sports, where the tools and metrics are already available. That will be the next big wave.”
While the challenges of ad measurement remain in terms of having a common currency, OTT and CTV offer robust measurement.
“Progress is being made as new measurement companies are rolling out platforms and brands are testing their products. Solving challenges of ad measurement will likely require a phased approach as we work toward a common currency,” says Bargmann.
Dwibedy added, “There is no single source of measurement across media, but when you look at CTV and OTT, there are ways to track marketing efforts with robust measurement and attribution.”