Ad:Tech 2022: Mapping the future of TV

Mediasmart Mobile's Nikhil Kumar, Adjust's Ajit Pawar, Ranjana Mangla of SonyLiv and Dabur's Rajiv Dubey discussed CTV as the future of TV

May 02, 2022 04:11:00 AM | Article | Eularie Saldanha

The second day of Ad:Tech 2022, featured Nikhil Kumar, vice president - India and SEA, Mediasmart Mobile; Ajit Pawar - director, APAC Partnerships, Adjust; Ranjana Mangla, head, ad sales revenue, SonyLiv and Rajiv Dubey, head - media, Dabur anticipate the future of TV advertising. 
 
The discussion was moderated by Bharat Khatri, chief digital officer, APAC, Omnicom Media Group. 
 
When asked what the foreseeable future of TV will be all about, every panellist had one term on their tongue - Connected TV (CTV). They believed that this format can work for streaming platforms and gaming advertisers, who are spending hugely, especially in tier 1 markets. 
 
Perks of CTV 
 
Khatri pointed out how the fragmented consumer journey helped marketers and advertisers understand the way they’re interacting with brands. 
 
Speaking about one of the biggest perks 'personalisation' that CTV brings to the table, he said, “How many people would prefer to get customised ads, instead of being forced to watch whatever is shown on TV? We want to make the advertising experience interesting for our consumers. Currently, there are enough intrusions, whether over frequency or wrong content and this is where personalisation helps.”
 
Kumar also highlighted how CTV enables marketers to personalise, localise, and send messages. “In advertising, we always want to get to the very last guy, but the scale is lacking.”
 
Growth of CTV
 
Kumar added, “We’re a fairly well-evolved internet consuming ecosystem and CTV will grow. If it is the channel of masses, it is no longer going to be a premium offering for most people who are monetising it."
 
“If I see an ad, download the brand’s app and make a purchase, and if that purchase can be attributed to that particular ad that prompted it, it’ll be so much more interesting. Since we have a pricing barrier, it opens up fields for the mobile-first companies who might not have deep pockets for linear TV,” stated Pawar, when exploring the unique perk of CTV. 
 
Barriers to investing in CTV 
 
Agreeing with Pawar, Dubey affirmed that what stops people from going all out on CTV, is the pricing. Thinking out loud about bettering this customer experience journey, he said, “99% of the people are on paid subscriptions, but if all these consumers get sachet pricing, it will improve the accessibility. If Netflix came up with a weekend subscription for Rs 10, many more people would go in for it.” 
 
He added that platforms like Disney+ Hotstar and SonyLiv are currently expensive and stated the need for their pricing to come down. “When TV came to India 30 years back, cable TV was in the paid TV format. It attracted more people because it was almost free. That's what has to happen for our OTT as well. In this country, only the scalable businesses will sell.” 
 
However, Mangla contradicted Dubey’s statement by explaining how a show like SonyLiv’s Shark Tank India is expensive to build and licence and thus, has a high CPM (cost per mile) too. 
 
Will CPM stabilise? 
 
Mangla shared that her company saw more premium advertising coming in, with the kind of CTV reach SonyLiv has. However, believing that content will always be king, she stated, “You will be able to deliver more reach depending on your content. When we give people the experience of being an active and not a passive viewer, the kind of interaction we see is great. That’s why the advertiser is okay with paying a higher CPM due to a phenomenal engagement.” 
 
She added, “As the scale comes in, CPM will become more rationalised. The time is coming sooner than we know. Here we know who the person is, what they are watching, how much time they’re spending and if they’re male or female. Unfortunately, we cannot attribute it to kids because there’s still an 18 plus login and you don’t know if someone below that age is watching.” 
 
Pawar acknowledged that the CPM is going to reduce, and shared how that would help marketers who are less likely to go on linear TV. He said, “Marketers will focus on performance on the CTV side of things. If you're able to measure the performance of a CTV app download and more metrics including brand purchases attributed to the viewing of an ad, it will scale and we’ll see more marketers chipping in.“ 
 
The way ahead 
 
Kumar believed that the world will always be spoken of in a pre and post-Covid context. “What had to happen in three years, ended up happening in one and a half, because the pandemic accelerated the world of experiences. I was watching things on the four walls of my room and questioned why I was seeing them on a small screen.” 
 
He stated that although OTT never stopped growing, it found better ways to grow. Sharing that the CTV ecosystem was close to 12-15 million TVs, with 35-40 million users the scale would come naturally. 
 
When asked about what the fate of linear TV would be, he added, “CTV is doing something which is the longest debate - because we can see the journey post the ad is aired too. You can do so much with it. Once you know the consumer’s interest, you know the lifetime journey of the user. Linear TV advertising will continue but as it continues to grow, CTV will grow uncontrollably. The proof of the growth of CTV is in the fact that DTH (direct-to-home) is on a decline. 
 
Speaking about how social listening helped a traditional brand like Dabur connect with its CTV and OTT audience, Dubey explained, “As far as our honey campaign is concerned, we went through the sourcing story of honey and were challenged by competition, and yet, we came back very strong. We did a TV campaign first and then started sourcing stories from different regions, right from the Sundarbans to Rajasthan. We targeted people in different regions and showed them these stories, which worked very well for us. There’s no number two in the honey business because we’re number one.”