“Biggest advantage on OTT platforms is brand safety, compared to multiple platforms”

While OTT has become the go-to medium for all entertainment requirements for consumers, it is also gaining in significance for brands and marketers. The growing audience base on OTT medium is creating a better field for brands to play and make it a stronger marketing medium. SCREENXX 2021, the largest congregation of the online video industry in India, brought together some leading experts to discuss on ‘OTT: A New-Age Marketing Medium’.

The panel was moderated by Uday Sodhi, Partner, Kurate Digital, and esteemed speakers included:

Ahmad Faraz, General Manager, FNP Media by Ferns N Petals

Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Co-Founder & Director, Wakefit.co

Jayesh Ullattil,  VP and GM, India, InMobi

Ramalingam Subramanian, Head of Brand, Marketing & Communications, CoinDCX

Vikas Bagaria, Founder & CEO, Pee Safe

OTT has been a developing platform – from the cinema experience to free-of-cost platforms like YouTube to AVOD and SVOD to regional OTT platforms. With the evolving platforms, brand marketers have also evolved with the same.

Speaking of the advertising spends in brand marketing through the OTT platforms, CoinDCX’s  Head of Brand, Marketing & Communications, Ramalingam Subramanian said, “OTT has been an interesting channel for us, and for the last couple of months we have been growing big. There are interesting takes versus other channels. We find there are benefits but I still feel there is a lot to be explored and lots to be learned, on this particular channel. It definitely gives good control over the overall marketing activities that we can perform, and as we scale as a business at CoinDCX. We started OTT first because it was more experimental understanding how we know about our large spends and we got to measure and track it really well. There is still a lot more that can be done, we still need to come up with better campaigns at our side and also work with the partners to understand and create attributions much stronger but, overall I feel as a starting point, I feel OTT is a good channel and as a business, we have got good focus there.”

Sharing his views on the advertising focus, Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Co-Founder & Director, Wakefit.co, said, “Wakefit.co is a D2C sleep and home solutions company offering products ranging from couches to wardrobes to beds and mattresses, and given this, we are always on the lookout for reaching out people that we are not able to reach out well enough on the standard traditional means. So, from our top-of-the-funnel perspective definitely OTT is one of the important channels that we look at because we are trying to reach audiences who may not be available as easily like YouTube or on some of these publisher networks or going on some of these regional newspapers that we get an inventory of. So can be reached them when they are much more immersed in watching something that is of their interest, that they have chosen to watch this episode, they have chosen to listen to this particular episode, while they're working. So from that perspective, we have been always looking out for it. But we've also seen certain constraints, that don’t enable us to spend as much as we would have liked to but we wish we could have done a lot more, in reaching out to people who may have very specific interests we love OTT from that perspective.”

Being a D2C start-up, Vikas Bagaria, Founder & CEO, Pee Safe, commented on his larger advertising goals, “PeeSafe is the new kid on the block and we are still learning how to go ATL (Above the Line Marketing) and, to be honest with you, we are into four different genres – toilet hygiene, menstrual hygiene, and sexual wellness and one we just started this year, which is Domina. I think what it is in our future planning for advertisement fits well because, as you know, condoms and sexual wellness product operator products are not being advertised on Facebook and Google and so what we are looking for is OTT as collaboration in episodes because we have massages as well. So, a lot of production goes into it and sometimes even the words you know like ‘Toilet seat sanitizers’ get rejected by the traditional digital media. I think in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year we are planning to go big on OTT. We had a little bit of success on  YouTube when we did some kind of collaboration with TVH and other episodes and we really got some good responses. I’m still learning but yes, OTT is a platform for us to grow starting from the fourth quarter.”

Adding to this, as a production house, Mr.Ahmad Faraz, General Manager at FNP Media, A unit by Ferns N Petals, said, “Ferns n Petals is one of the largest e-commerce gifting companies, and it’s been there since 1994, but F&P Media per se is only three years old, founded in 2018. 2019 is when we started making content, and we have also tried something different when it comes to our content, we've been into short films very largely,  we've been into storytelling poetry kind of a short format content, we have two YouTube channels for it and whatever clients we've approached and whatever clients we have got on board, we've seen that, conventional advertisement is not what client is any more looking for, so we pitched them some solutions which is based on the storytelling overall because everybody's going towards a storytelling road. However to increase traffic on my short films on my YouTube I have taken the help of OTT advertisement as well myself as a brand, where we advertise our short films on Hotstar AVOD content, because short films and short format content on HotStar is available in AVOD model and so we did experiment with a few of their properties, not the cricket one, but whatever content which aligned with our target audience persona we experimented and we saw a lot of OTT audience are also coming to our YouTube short films as well. We've seen a lot of traffic coming from their side.”

Speaking on where the brands are spending and how it is becoming a large part of the marketing mix, Jayesh Ullattil,  VP and GM, India, InMobi, said, “InMobi happens to be one of the largest non-walled garden platforms available in terms of both supply and demand. It's heartening to see the kind of interest that has been getting generated on OTT so I’ll take a step back over the evolution of how digital videos, specifically about video and not talking about the audio OTT per se, Over the last three-four years the adoption of video OTTs has been really great, and what I would see as the progression of the number, it's huge. Likewise, the spending also has started increasing, so earlier what used to be pure TV has now become video and, within that video, another 35% has got added into the Digital Video and what used to be purely YouTube has now spread into YouTube, that's OTT plus other platforms like gaming becomes another piece. So the biggest advantage that somebody gets on the OTT platforms is brand safety as compared to multiple other platforms. OTT is curated content and the kind of programming and because of historically how it has evolved in India and, like in many other countries, what you also see is the fact that OTT has become an extension of unity, it is not necessary to in other countries, so you see the same content.”

Watch the complete discussion below:

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