Noel D'souza
Feb 28, 2024

IAMAI India Digital Summit: Is CTV the Orry of digital marketing?

A panel delved into the transformative impact of CTV in marketing, its significance for events like IPL, and the potential for immersive shopping experiences

IAMAI India Digital Summit: Is CTV the Orry of digital marketing?
A panel comprising Gulshan Verma, CEO, Jio Ads; Prabhvir Sahmey, senior director - ad sales, Samsung Ads India; Dhruv Dhawan, head of ads, Disney+Hotstar and Rahul Ralhan, vice president - marketing, Housing.Com, explored the influence of of Connected TV (CTV) on performance marketing, its impact on marquee sports events and the possibilities of interactive ads at the IAMAI’s (Internet and Mobile Association of India) India Digital Summit currently being held in Mumbai.
The session was moderated by Arnab Mitra, CEO, founder, DigiBoxx and Liqvd Asia. 
Leveraging CTV for measurement and innovation
Dhawan expressed that his brand's goal is to gain a profound understanding of storytelling, content, and the behaviour of its consumers in the upcoming years.
To enhance this penetration further and appeal to the CTV ecosystem, Dhawan shared, “As consumers shift from traditional to digital and now to CTV, we intend to closely monitor their changing habits. Our focus has been on developing a CTV platform for measurement and innovation. We aim to analyse data from millions of households, offering insights into awareness, consideration, and purchase intent, uniquely addressing campaign effectiveness. Innovatively, we're rolling out a dominant billboard asset, inspired by successful models like Hulu's pause ads, upon opening the app. Despite still being in its early stages, the impact of CTV is unmistakable and set to grow in influence."
Adopting interactive ad formats on CTV takes time
Sahmey discussed the historical progression of digital advertising and highlighted television's distinct interruption dynamics compared to other devices. 
“The transition to interactive formats such as shoppable ads and cross-device integration presents the challenge of educating users about these cutting-edge innovations. Despite the potential of younger demographics to embrace interactive ads, widespread adoption will require time,” predicted Sahmey. 
CTV is a knockout for marketers during the IPL
Additionally, Sahmey reflected on the agency's experiences with advertising during major events like the Indian Premier League, emphasising the importance of adapting strategies to capitalise on format diversity and audience engagement metrics. 
Sahmey advised, “With the ongoing evolution of advertising strategies amidst changing consumer preferences, marketers need to adopt innovation and adaptation.”
Gulshan discussed the significant strides made in leveraging platforms like IPL for expansive reach, and underscored their aim to connect with over 600 million viewers, scoring a pivotal shift in the marketing landscape. 
Highlighting last year's innovations, such as multilingual coverage and interactive features like the Dugout View, he said, “There are complexities of traditional linear television advertising and the vast potential of mobile advertising, particularly in regards to harnessing the power of generative AI for hyper-local targeting. We should envision a future where advertising transcends mere promotion, enabling seamless user actions and immersive experiences on CTV platforms. Reflecting on the evolving media landscape, marketers should explore the possibilities of integrating gaming, shopping, and interactive content into televised experiences, presenting a multifaceted approach to advertising beyond conventional methods.”
Dhawan reflected on the platform's growth trajectory from the previous year to the present, highlighting the surge in viewership during marquee events like the ICC World Cup. 
He said, “There is a dire importance of retaining user engagement beyond sports, particularly with the rise in female viewership and the integration of diverse entertainment offerings."
According to Ralhan, while planning for advertising on CTV platforms during marquee sports events, the significance should be on aligning objectives with target audiences and budget considerations.
Ralhan also underscored the importance of understanding the brand's objectives and target audience when crafting a marketing strategy, noting that cricket remains a potent driver of brand awareness in India. However, he cautioned that the high entry barrier for marquee events like the World Cup may not always translate to proportional visibility for brands with limited budgets. 
“Marketers should advocate for a nuanced approach and consider alternatives like a bilateral series and entertainment content, particularly on CTV platforms where engagement is higher. Furthermore, conduct thorough research, align objectives with available opportunities, and explore alternatives within the same platform to maximise visibility and impact,” advised Ralhan. 
Is CTV the Orry of Bollywood in digital marketing?
Sahmey remarked that just as mobile once took the spotlight in the digital realm, today it seems like CTV is the trend every marketer is embracing. 
“As we've often heard, ‘revenue solves all problems,’ and now we're witnessing a significant shift from TV to digital, with 60,000 crores already migrating. When that figure reaches 100%, CTV will truly solidify its place as the cornerstone of digital. Until then, the debate continues if it's the Orry of digital marketing or not,” he said. 
Charting the future of experiential marketing in the CTV era
As the panel drew to a close, it was evident that the future of marketing extends far beyond the confines of digital platforms.
Ralhan accentuated experiential marketing and highlighted the importance of creating immersive brand experiences across various touchpoints. 
“We're shifting away from focusing solely on financing and returning to emphasising experiential marketing. This encompasses experiences at home, radio, and audio ads. To me, digital is just a tool that enables us to achieve two important things: scalability and personalisation. It allows us to create assets at scale and tailor them to individual preferences. Whether it's radio, out-of-home screens, or digitised stores, what truly matters is the experience. Even as digital platforms evolve, the core principle remains the same: delivering the right offer at the right time in the right format." 
"As technology advances, we see opportunities for personalisation expanding across various devices, including connected TV and linear addressable TV. The key is to leverage data analytics and customer relationship management to enhance the impact of our marketing efforts. Ultimately, it's not about whether it's digital or not, but rather the effectiveness of the outcome,” added Ralhan. 
Sahmey believed that true success lies in creating value for every partner involved—from advertisers to content providers to end users. 
“When everyone recognises and appreciates that value, that's when our efforts truly gain traction. Marketing and advertising are just a fraction of what a CMO does today. It's about delivering experiences, fulfilling brand promises, and ensuring a seamless journey for consumers, from showroom to purchase. We're riding this wave, but the real test comes when our strategies are put to the test in the real world," expressed Sahmey.
In conclusion, Verma asserted that we have likely surpassed the tipping point in the evolution of connected households. He concluded, “The current count stands at 30-35 million connected households this year, with a projected surge to 100 million by next year. This growth is driven by expanding broadband connectivity and the distribution of set-top boxes, reflecting the rising sophistication of home entertainment systems. Interactivity plays a pivotal role in shaping consumer behaviour, leading to a vision of TV evolving into a smarter medium. Despite challenges, past groundwork positions us to capitalise on these opportunities more effectively and affordably.”
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