"Advertisers know what an audio visual communication does to the consumer": Vijay Iyer, Komli Play

The business head of Komli's interactive video advertising talks about the growth of the medium and the emergence of new categories

Vijay Iyer, general manager and business head, Komli Play, talks about the video advertising space on the sidelines of the formal launch of interactive video offerings from Komli Media under the Komli Play banner.

Campaign India (CI): Despite the partnership with Jivox in October 2011, why was the formal launch of Komli Play delayed till now?
Vijay Iyer (VI): Video is our global priority for the next 15 to 24 months. So, lot of effort, time and muscle have been put behind video. When we started the video initiative late last year, we wanted to set up a full fledged team to only handle video. And, at Komli we are very picky about the team we hire. It has taken us close to six months to get that team in place and going. Once we had set up the team and started going out to meet people, we thought it was a great time to start making some noise. We could afford to wait for a while as Komli is known. But, we were out there doing ground work and chipping away.

CI: Could you elaborate on the unique offerings from Komli Play?

VI: Fundamentally, one of the things that we do is to make ads interactive. What that means is, if your ad is social worthy we will have social plugins which will help people distribute it to others. We will also ensure that you can have plugins to customise your video offering. For example, if you are a fashion brand, you can have a catalogue along with your video and enable it to be downloaded from the banner itself. So, we want to make banners as interactive as possible and just at the basic level itself. It is not something like an option. It is something that we build and hardwire into what we offer.
Secondly, there is a high level of customisability. I think we are probably one of the few people who have a full fledged creative team, so that we can consult with them when advertisers give us uncut versions of their ads and ask us how it can be made viral. We have now got ads that are large format page takeover ads. What we want to do is make them ridiculously simple to build. At the end of the day, there is only that much space available on a page to showcase your offerings. What differentiates us is how simple we make it to be built. If you just give us the pictures, we can build the entire thing in six to seven hours. Nobody in the market can do that today.

The second part is more an on-going effort to bring in a lot of transparency and reporting. This is about creating those three or four metrics that we can build. And we want to build them as soon as we think of them. Given that video is such a big priority for us, this is how we are looking at it in the long term. 

CI: What is the publisher split between India and international markets for Komli Play?     

VI: It differs from category to category, but if you have to take an absolute measure, about 70 per cent of our inventory is in India and rest from publishers not based in India. But publishers we work with outside India are category leaders like Miniclip and Babycenter.

CI: Which are the categories that are emerging in India right now?

VI: Video in general attracts a lot of attention from automobiles, FMCG, technology and telecommunications. There are others, but these are the ones who advertise all year long. Apart from that, fashion and lifestyle is an emerging category, given the festival season that is starting now. 
CI: How are Indian advertisers evolving to video advertising?     

VI: Advertisers are receptive to video as they understand the delivery mechanism. They know what an audio visual communication does to the consumer, which banners don't. So, when I give them a metric for a video ad that says 'You have a one minute ad and 50 per cent of the ad got viewed', they immediately know what that means. It is actually the reverse - in display, when I tell him 'Your interaction rate is this much and I have delivered two million impressions with a 5 per cent CTR', he doesn't know what to make of it.
What makes video easier for discussion is, there is already an understanding of what audio visual can do for them. And the more seamlessly we make the delivery online, the more easier it will be. So, I would actually say that the interest levels in video advertising among advertisers is growing massively. It is interesting to see a bunch of new categories coming on board for videos. Television-heavy brands like Dixcy Scott are doing only videos on digital. We are also talking to a lot of masala companies who have multiple ads but because of budget constraints, they are not broadcast. 

CI: But, isn't there a school of thought which says television commercials are not the ideal form of online advertising?

VI: If I am marketing a product where urban India is important to me or an audience that is present online, then video becomes the easiest entry point. There are a lot of categories which internet may not be able to service no matter what you do (categories whose audience doesn't exist online). If I am an advertiser and if I want to reach out to a 50 million audience, and 20 million of them are online, then what we are seeing is that video is the easiest entry point for those guys today.
The other point is, take the television commercial and make it online friendly - that is what our platform is about. In fact, we are talking to a lot of fashion brands who have long product videos that can never make it as ads. What we are telling them is 'This a product demo, and is content worthy'. We will take that and distribute it to our network of publishers as content. It will be marked as an advertorial, but instead of running it like an ad, we run it as content. That is something we are beginning to do and where we expect a lot of traction.  


Campaign India