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With ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) growing in popularity, what lies ahead for Asian over-the-top (OTT) advertising as consumption soars and device adoption evolves? At Asia Video Industry Association’s Asia Video Summit 2020, SpotX joined a panel with Brightcove, Viacom, and Mediacorp to discuss Asian receptivity to OTT ads, broadcaster ad revenue opportunities, server-side ad insertion (SSAI) adoption, and the future of live events.
OTT is for everyone
OTT is now for everyone and no longer a niche opportunity, as SpotX’s consumer research about OTT consumption across the APAC region revealed. With COVID-19, consumers are spending up to four additional hours each day consuming content across all screens. Mobile continues to lead video consumption at 70% across the region, while smart TV is rising in more advanced markets. Most viewers find their experience on mobile and TV to be of comparably good quality. With AVOD being the preferred way to access streamed video and video audiences showing greater receptivity to creative and emotionally engaging ads, this paves the way for brands to rethink their ad strategy.
Audience-driven data strategy
A robust audience-driven data strategy is key for both media owners and advertisers. Having the right content insights and first-party data enables content providers to win viewers over and help advertisers reach their target audiences. Meanwhile, having a custom targeting strategy alongside a measurement framework to prove high performing metrics wins advertisers over.
“For any broadcaster out there, you need a robust data strategy in place, so you’re personalising content for audiences and delivering more of that relevant content. On the advertising side, once this is addressable you can do one-to-one targeting and make your ads relevant, funny, and interesting. That’s where we see high performance based on using that audience data,” says Jennifer Chase, VP of Sales, Solutions & Operations at Mediacorp. “We take a screen-agnostic approach and data is at the heart of it.”
“Relevancy helps in optimisation and that’s where content providers can stand out to compete with social and other environments. It’s bringing that audience targeting into premium environments for brands who want to target certain demographics,” added Gavin Buxton, Managing Director of SpotX.
Social content extends AVOD reach
Social user-generated content (UGC) has great potential to complement AVOD and subscription-based video on demand (SVOD) channels by driving awareness and reach with short snippets to shift audiences to streaming platforms for long-form content, as well as promoting direct-to-consumer (D2C) products.
“Social content complements what we’re doing. It helps us to grow awareness across multiple markets and grow the brand as we don’t put long-form content on there, so it’s a very complementary play,” said Swami Iyer, Director Digital SEA at Viacom. “It doesn’t just help us with the broadcast and streaming businesses, but also helps us on the ground with our consumer product business, such as toys for Nickelodeon channels.”
Chase highlights the similar advantages of social content for Mediacorp where having their own Youtube channel increased reach. She said, “Everyone has their own platform that they discover content on. For events such as National Day broadcasts, we see that as very screen-agnostic across free-to-air, OTT, and key channels on YouTube.”
AVOD and SVOD play complementary roles
While AVOD has been well received across APAC both by consumers and content providers, adopting a model that pairs AVOD with SVOD could appeal to Asian consumers. ViacomCBS is planning to enter the Asian market with PlutoTV, an AVOD service, also known as FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV), with content from ViacomCBS along with regional and global partners. Offering an in-depth, interest-based content library across third-party providers, “PlutoTV helps to complement premium SVOD services, where AVOD allows audiences to discover new content for free, and move towards Paramount+ for premium content,” said Iyer.
Opening scale with SSAI and exclusive sponsorships
SSAI, a process that allows for a buffer-less transition from content, to ad, then back to content, has big potential to maximize ad revenue by opening up scale and giving advertisers more opportunity to get creative with targeting.
“In Asia, the biggest sleeping giant of accessibility of scale is SSAI. People are still watching linear TV but they’re watching digital linear. Pluto is linear focused, Netflix is bringing out digital linear options. This environment is thriving and it will continue. People don’t want to have to spend 20 minutes picking what they want. They want to dive in and get great content,” said Buxton. “Opening that up and looking at new tech to do that and bringing performance data will ensure that the medium has scale and advertisers will have to pay attention to that.”
“For the Olympics we are going to have 13 live streaming channels on meWATCH and opening up dynamic SSAI will open a lot more inventory. With over 80% inventory being addressable, this makes it interesting to see how advertisers come on board,” said Mediacorp’s Chase.
Another key point was the use of exclusive sponsorships as an attractive differentiator from the usual ad spots to give brands additional association.
“When we look at exclusive events like the Olympics, brands should get some exclusivity on content. If you’re a sponsor and you get beyond just an ad spot, that’s where the differentiation happens,” said Iyer.
OTT receives growing importance in media plans, but more education needed
More education and research in the OTT space is necessary to educate advertisers on the value of broadcast-quality premium inventory — regardless of the device. Advertisers need to have a more holistic picture on how content is consumed.
“There are advertisers in the market who don’t necessarily understand the OTT space. When you think about content, it’s long-form drama, entertainment, sporting events, amazing premium inventory with a captivated audience. Sometimes a brief may just want CTV, but why just CTV because the audience is on CTV, in-app, desktop, and so on,” says Chase. “It’s great to have research to find out the value of advertising in one environment versus the others.”
“Brands should understand you can have the same impact on content watched at home or on mobile. OTT mobile is the fastest-growing consumer-led space, and with our brand lift measurement solution launched, this helps to better understand mobile audiences, proving that it is an effective medium to be on,” said Buxton.
“Q4 is exciting with more uptake from brands in the region. With FMCG continuing to try it out, OTT is becoming more permanent in their media plans,” Buxton added.
Watch the full panel discussion here:
Doris Sun is the Marketing Manager, APAC at SpotX. She creates and executes the SpotX marketing strategy in one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. Based in Singapore, she started her marketing journey in the food and beverage and hotel industries before diving into ad tech. When not at work, you’ll find her planning her next travel adventure, food-hunting with friends, or attempting to be artsy with flowers, crafts, and cakes.