Voot, which runs more on a hybrid model that comprises advertising video-on-demand (AVOD) and subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) claims to have recorded a 58% growth in revenue year-on-year. This revenue growth, the company claims, is from the AVOD business. At the same time, it claims to have posted a 30% increase in userbase. Interestingly, the increase in userbase is across both businesses. The company refused to share the split of userbase when asked, hence it is difficult to reach a conclusion whether the rise in revenue is due to the rise in eyeballs or simply reduction in ad rates, thereby resulting in volume of ads. What is to be noted here is as per data shared by Comscore, Voot’s total unique visitors stood at 10.7 million in March 2022, recording a decline of 13% when compared to the same period last year, when it had total unique visitors of 12.2 million. In conversation with BrandWagon Online, Chanpreet Arora, head – AVOD (Voot), Viacom18 Digital Ventures, talks about the content pipeline and the growth in advertisers and revenue the company has seen. (Edited Excerpts)
What does VOOT’s digital content line-up look like for AVOD this fiscal?
Original content has been a part of our AVOD strategy since 2016. Silsila was the first TV extension series that we launched on Voot and soon after we launched It’s Not That Simple. Last year, we rolled out a new avatar of Bigg Boss OTT with a tighter format, live channel and interactivity. Going forward, we will introduce content innovations in four areas with the intention of serving as a full entertainment platform. The intent is to extend the big TV content IPs of our channels and market it to audiences who are present across digital and TV in a fashion that appeals to them. Secondly, we plan to adopt big IPs from TV and give them an extended life on OTT. The third area of focus is to tell stories which are digital and meant for the audience who are looking for content for individual entertainment, ideallys different from what they see on TV such as Cyberwar. Lastly, our experiments with formats of content and interactivity would continue with the introduction of short form content via ‘Shots’.
How many new advertisers have increased on Voot?
We have seen 40% growth in the number of new advertisers who have come on the platform. Thanks to the change in consumer consumption habits of users during the pandemic, it is now a well established fact that digital as a platform is equal to television. It’s TV and digital that are leading from the front when it comes to helping brands create brand awareness to be able to get new customers. We have seen new advertiser categories such as cryptocurrency, social commerce, short video ads, to traditional marketers, which is consumer packaged goods (CPG) and automobile, come to the platform with more commitment. The two areas of innovation and tech investments that we have made to be able to support advertisers is our ability to do measurement in content advertising. We have worked with Nielsen to measure the impact of advertiser’s value generated through investment in sponsorships for large shows– not just through in-content integration, but also through the platform exposure that we give them. Furthermore, we are deploying third party tracker integration to ensure that the others are able to measure the impact of their investment.
What are the other ad formats available on Voot besides video ads?
OTT is a video-first platform even from an advertising point of view. Display banners are not the core offering of our bouquet. However, we have started going beyond just simple video ads and have brought in innovation such as performance display and banner ads. Clients can now showcase their e-commerce experience within the ads and allow viewers to engage with it. For us, it’s really important that we do not interrupt the video viewing experience of our consumer. So, the ad has to work around it and not interrupt the user experience because if that happens, the user doesn’t really engage with the ad.
What is the rise in advertising revenue you have seen?
We have seen a 58% growth in revenue (July-to-July) across the platform. For us, the revenue mostly comes from direct advertising, buying media sponsorships and doing collaborative integrations with us on our content. This accounts for two-thirds of our business. However, when comparing pure media inventory with integration, our revenue split is 50-50.
From where have you seen most of your audience base coming from?
65% of our audience comes from outside of metros. This shows that we have audiences that are looking for individual entertainment across the country. Now our aim is to go further into tier 2 and tier 3 cities. Currently, Voot’s strength lies in Hindi, Kannada and Marathi markets. We are expanding our investment in content to Bengali, Bhojpuri and Tamil markets. However this year, we will focus on Hindi, Kannada and Marathi markets.