By Chanpreet Arora
Media consumption across the globe is increasingly happening in digital formats. Over-the-top (OTT) video has been one of the predominant forms of visual entertainment among consumers since the 2000s. With the onset of Covid-19, the popularity of OTT video skyrocketed even further. According to a recent report from TVision Insights, time spent on AVOD has increased from 9.3% in the first quarter of 2021 to a 38% share for the third quarter of 2021, attracting advertisers to spend more.
Over the last couple of years, the OTT ecosystem has grown to become more lucrative from an advertisers and marketers perspective with the marketing community placing bigger bets on how they spend and integrate with these platforms moving beyond the regular spots. Taking advantage of this landscape and opportunity for growth, media owners too, like Voot, continue to innovate to ensure that marketers are able to derive the ROI for every buck spent.
Rise of digital IPs
2021 witnessed OTT platforms risk and experiment with digital-only IPs in a bid to offer viewers content that is premium, exclusive and takes engagement to the next level. Offering viewers digital exclusive IPs increased viewership and time spent on platforms thus presenting brands a promising offering of consumer engagement. Bigg Boss OTT has been an evolving step that united entertainment and brands in a unique manner. The IP attracted new categories of brands to advertise and engage in the digital space as well as brands that were comfortable with television to experiment with the OTT medium. With Bigg Boss OTT’s success story as a case study, platforms have begun to proactively produce digital IPs which will further aid them in connecting viewers with advertisers and marketers.
Focus on interactivity
Video is going through a transformation from a passive activity to an interactive activity. The OTT era is all about interacting and engaging with audiences. A handful of brands have built themselves upon interactivity as it gives them a better understanding of what their TG wants and needs. Given the growing trend of all-digital play and category first concepts, OTT players are unleashing the power of fandom and bridging the gap between brands and consumers. OTT players are empowering brands to engage with the viewers on a deeper level through interactive features like polls, quizzes, play-along, voting, thus changing the narrative of storytelling and bringing in a whole new paradigm of engagement. With the scale of viewership on OTT, interactive pieces are helping brands connect with their core audience through meaningful integrations. Brands, too, are now increasingly depending on premium platforms to take their interactivity play to the next level. With seamless technology solutions and strong infrastructure, OTTs are working towards providing support to brands thus leading to more spends.
Being able to reach your audience where they are at, while they are most susceptible to your message is of crucial importance. The significance of OTT advertising is already becoming incredibly clear for many marketers. With stupendous targeting capabilities, OTT alone has tremendous potential; but when combined with programmatic, it can be unstoppable and create the differentiator that a brand needs, to stay ahead of the curve. With the continuous rising popularity of OTT platforms, programmatic advertising is enabling marketers to take an already successful advertising strategy and maximize its potential in real-time. It enhances opportunities by combining target audience efficiency with wider reach, quicker bids and buying, and a genuinely personalized experience for the users. With the growing demand in content consumption on OTT platforms, programmatic will continue to evolve to work more efficiently for marketers, enabling the industry to have greater momentum around the existing solutions as well we create newer strategies.
The OTT space is developing to become very valuable for marketers to capture new, targeted audiences and provide brands with another avenue to increase brand engagement. Marketers that can effectively capture the preferences of OTT audiences and the nuances of OTT video advertising will remain top-of-mind in the increasingly fierce competition for brand recognition and loyalty among consumers.
The author is head- AVOD (Voot) of Viacom18 Digital Ventures. Views expressed are personal.