Brands likely to prefer OTT over linear TV, says DViO founder & CEO Sowmya Iyer

Media investment decisions are based on consumption patterns.

MUMBAI: In today’s digital-led world, brands need to reposition themselves and DViO Digital is doing its bit being one of the largest integrated marketing companies in India. The company takes pride in its creative, technical, and digital expertise. It also runs a startup incubator of over 18 companies and a research lab to work towards meaningful application of new age technologies like AI, ML, VR, and AR in marketing ecosystem for brands.

Started in 2007 as Xebec Digital (rebranded as DViO in 2017), the company, in the past few years, has handled a number of successful campaigns for brands like Star World, Star Movies, Star Gold, Hotstar International,, Reliance Mutual Fund, Cox and Kings, Protinex, among others. for brands like Star Gold Select,Gaana, Aldo, Aurelia, Protinex, and Signature Tours.

Founder and CEO of the company, Sowmya Iyer, in an exclusive conversation with’s Mansi Sharma, shares how the digital ecosphere has evolved in the past decade.

According to her, the biggest transformation has been the blurring of the line between traditional and digital media. She says, “Brands don’t look at media as traditional v/s digital anymore. The media investment decisions are taken based on the consumer’s environment and media consumption patterns.”

Sowmya quips that digital is no longer the ‘new media’ and OTT is well-positioned to take over linear TV if 5G is delivered as promised. “In fact application and integration of VR, AR, chatbots and voice search in marketing are adding new and very interesting dimensions to digital marketing.”

“If you look at the figures – ad spends in digital are at 17 per cent of the total media spends. It is expected to grow to 29 per cent share by 2021. In fact, media like TV, radio, and print are expected to see a decline. This only points towards a change in media consumption habits owning to smartphones and smart TV.”

But this massive growth also brings along a few challenges for the market. Sowmya contends, “The key challenge, which can also be a huge opportunity, is the pace at which digital marketing platforms and technology are innovating and changing.”

She adds, “The onus lies on marketers to adopt, internalise and apply at a rapid pace. Whether it’s new formats of content for social media platforms or introduction of advanced filters to look at data by publishers or new tech which can be applied for innovative marketing — the pace can be exciting as well as chaotic. Training and processes to ensure the adoption of learning across organisations and brands is the key.”

Sharing how marketing agencies can brunch on this feast of endless possibilities and transformations, Sowmya tells that they need to move away from some passé trends like buying fans to gain followers and using influencers to trend on Twitter.

“There is a general decline in trust of what people see online. A HubSpot study suggested that people are more likely to believe data coming from their peers or people like them. Therefore, influencer marketing definitely cannot be applied across brands like a checklist,” Sowmya mentions.

She also shares findings from DViO’s research to study the effectiveness of influencer marketing. “We observed that campaigns, which got the lowest ratings, had largely used influencers only as an amplification channel. The influencers were not seen as to have any brand connect, or the believability of content shared was low. Whereas, the top campaigns were those with majority of influencers were actual users or patrons of the brand. Also, micro-influencers seemed to create a lot more intimate engagement with their fans on the endorsed brand content.”

According to her, other top trends that are to be followed for driving a successful business include smart usage of social media that is not only focused on driving engagement but also contributes towards attracting commerce and provides a good ROI. “Better data science and analytics will help group programmatic buying as brands see ROI coming from programmatic as well,” she adds.

She sees video dominating the digital content and massive adoption of messaging apps changing how brands communicate with customers in the near future.

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