In the US, streaming services quickly became popular as consumers cut the cord on their pay-TV subscriptions, creating a profitable environment for subscription video on demand (SVOD) services. In Asia, however, the same trend hasn’t manifested; consumers aren’t used to paying for TV and have had little incentive to cut the cord on “traditional” TV.
For global content owners, PayTV operators, telcos and other media owners scaling direct-to-consumer OTT offerings in Asia is proving a difficult task. Asian consumers aren’t used to paying for media, and a lot are signing up for streaming services then ghosting. SVOD is struggling to attract and retain long-term subscribers, with many hopping from one service to another when their free month trial expires. In response, services like Iflix have moved to ad-supported models (AVOD) and as mobile-consumption dominates the market, Netflix is experimenting with mobile-only subscription plans in select Asian markets that cost half the price of a standard plan.
Despite this difficulty, new entrants to the streaming market are arriving in Asia at light speed. The landscape, as can be seen below, is cluttered.
If you can’t beat them…
According to a study conducted by Brightcove, Asians are happy to pay with their time by watching ads. It seems to be the preference for most – they’re happy to watch ads if they can avoid the subscription fee. If those ads are more relevant and targeted ads than ads on broadcast TV, the consumer will be less annoyed by the interruption.
Many OTT players are realizing that if they can’t beat the old model, they can join it with advertising delivered in-stream. The targeting opportunities that this ad space offers brands means that they can really capitalize on high grossing ad space.
Strategies for maximizing yield from OTT advertising
Real-time bidding and automated ad serving technology provide OTT services with methods of maximizing ad sales, fill and yield from their ad space. Here are our tips for maximizing yield:
- Podding: A programmatic control for inserting ads within OTT streams in a controlled and optimized fashion, podding helps publishers fill an ad break with a pod of multiple ads from a single ad request. The ads can be programmed to play in a particular sequence to avoid repetition and other issues like competitive separation. From a publisher’s perspective, podding maximizes efficiency and fill, offers more control, and is a better experience for the audience. Not only does this erase the possibility of ads repeating or running next to competitors’ ads, but it also means fewer ad calls between various platforms, easing latency and infrastructure loads. Pods can also be configured to maximize ad revenue (i.e., a 90-second pod could be programmed to ad call lengths of 15-second, 45-second, 15-second, and 15-second).
- Mobile-first: While most OTT consumption in the US is happening on CTV, most of the OTT consumption in Asia is on mobile. Hooq and Oona both launched their mobile app products first. Designing for mobile with good local content and getting the advertising infrastructure in place for cross-screen is proving fundamental in Asia.
- Header Bidding: Many ad servers lack the programmatic infrastructure, the mechanisms to execute concurrent, real-time bidding, that allows media owners to compete multiple demand sources simultaneously — hence the practice of “waterfalling,” or calling demand sources one after the other. Header bidding allows a media owner to plug in the advantages of programmatic to compete direct sold and programmatic campaigns against one and other. It’s a win for both the sell and buy sides — having more bidding partners drives higher yields for publishers while giving buyers more opportunities to successfully execute a campaign.
- Open Measurement: Frustrations around viewability and verification in mobile app inventory has long been a pain point of ad buyers. While for mobile app publishers who have wanted to enable measurement through multiple vendors, they’ve had to install SDKs from four to five companies an inefficient process that restricted the advertiser’s ability to measure in-app viewability at scale. SpotX is now fully integrated with the IAB’s Open Measurement SDK.
Engaged in a TV-like viewing experience and watching their choice of premium highly engaging content, OTT audiences are highly valuable to advertisers. As media owners in Asia crack the code of audience engagement, a new path to revenue is ready and waiting.
This article was written by Kyla Feeney, senior events manager at SpotX.