The expeditious growth of digital platforms has created stiff competition among media platforms, changed consumer behavior and increased personalized experiences. All these transformations question the distribution of viewership on traditional media with digital OTT platforms escalating growth. Brands and advertisers are closely studying these shifts and engaging in the changes by modifying content creation and exploring the metamorphosis in media.
To provide closer insights into the increased consumption of OTT and its effects on brand, advertising, and content, ZEE5 in association with ETBrandEquity.com hosted ConTech.Ed, scrutinizing the opportunities and challenges that come with the transformation.
Shaili Chopra, Founder of SheThePeople, was in conversation with Tushar Vyas, President, GroupM, South Asia; Hemant Mehta, Managing Director – Insights Division, Kantar and Chief Strategy Officer, South Asia; and Manish Kalra, Senior VP and Business Head-AVOD, ZEE5.
The levers of expansion of digital consumption
Over the last few years, there has been a new global trend of digital consumption that has especially escalated during the pandemic, with people at their homes searching for ways of entertainment from the safety of their homes. A present-day trend of ‘me time’ while watching content has evolved that has been supported by digital platforms. There has been a 200% increase in time spent on OTT and the subscription revenues have gone up.
Several factors have contributed to this rapid growth. Vyas explained, “In the history of India, there have been three factors expanding this growth. The first trigger was the Jio phenomena, data filtration, and change in pricing. The second was the pre and post-Covid circumstances that are surging digital growth. The third is low pricing of devices. These factors are continuously paving ways of digital growth.”
The coexistence of television and digital media
From the traditional indulgence of families sitting together watching content on huge television screens to the current distinct personalized screens and choices for content viewing, a dilemma about the existence of traditional media in the middle of enlarging digital platforms has risen. A shift from traditional televisions to smart TVs and now to connected TVs has also been observed, where an enormous volume of traffic is being witnessed by digital platforms. This shift has given birth to the coexistence of television & the digital platforms.
On the other hand, current consumption trends demonstrate higher viewer emphasis on choice and quality of content rather than on the type of screen at their disposal. Mehta expressed his views, “Screens are becoming non-factor. Consumers are more focused on chasing the content. 74% of subscribers, in fact, just sign up for a particular series. People are moving according to their content preferences.” So, while traditional and digital platforms have a higher scope of coexistence from an infrastructure point of view, the type of content will become a key differentiating factor.
As type of content becomes increasingly vital for drawing consumers, the flexibility and choices of digital platforms and OTT have given them a strong footing in terms of audience traffic. Digital platforms cater to the diversity of taste and preferences of audiences, including vernacular experiences, drawing a bigger and wider audience base for advertisers to target. In fact, digital platforms provide a space for advertisers and brands to target their audience according to their needs and suitability, in contrast to traditional media platforms. Digital platforms are immersed with data on user behavior, backed by artificial intelligence that decides on how the audience is going to likely react to the advertising. OTT platforms are also developing new formats for advertisers and users. Thus, brands must make the most of these advantages that digital platforms have to present and remain on top of the latest advertising strategies.
Kalra shared his personal experience in the change of advertising with digital, “The advertisers can run advertiser-funded programming (AFP) to create branded content with targeted audiences. At ZEE5, we have also launched a UGC channel called ‘HiPi’ that allows brands to explore and take influencers to drive marketing programs. From a user perspective, we have to ensure the user experience is seamless and on low-end devices with lower bandwidth networks.”
Finding the balance: Making the most of both traditional and digital media
Today, with the availability of both traditional and digital platforms, audiences are served with a variety of content from all over the world and across channels. With these options at the consumers’ disposal, in the upcoming days, brands need to analyze the persisting audience behavior shifts, the consumption trends across both traditional and digital channels, and the evolution of content types to capitalize on all emerging opportunities.
In certain aspects, OTT brings more flexibility and choices to the table – a feature that brands closely follow to build their audience strategies around. “Earlier there used to be a single genre, for example, horror. But now with the introduction of sub-genres, the choice of the consumer is also changing. OTT gives the option to see what type of content is needed to be targeted by the advertisers,” delved Mehta on the growing diversity of content that OTT helps advertisers align with. “Adding accountability in terms of media investment that brands are making and measuring the effectiveness of content with data available plays an important role while looking at advertising,” he further added. However, this doesn’t mean brands can rule out TV and traditional platforms from the equation.
Therefore, if brands want to maximize their visibility to the complete spectrum of viewers, they must complement the use of media channels while crafting their media strategy. Of course, modern content strategies, regional language choices, granular content categories, and personalized experiences will continue to open new opportunities in advertising. In this mix, brands must keep a balanced focus on the benefits of both traditional and digital channels.
Watch the full session below:
(Brand Content Initiative)