Advertisers are closing the gap between TV and mobile advertising: mediasmart’s Nikhil Kumar

Kumar on CTV opportunities for brands and evolving digital advertising trends


Mumbai: The growth of Connected TV adoption in India fuelled by affordable internet and smart TVs and availability of a range of streaming devices has opened the floodgates for newer technologies of content monetisation, digital/programmatic advertising and viewership measurement.

In our continued effort to unravel the complexities of this space, this interview with Nikhil Kumar, who is currently heading the business of India and Southeast Asia for mediasmart - an Affle company, throws light on the Household Sync technology pioneered by the organisation and emerging digital advertising trends in the country.

Kumar is a consumer marketing professional with over a decade of experience working in FMCG, retail, F&B and ad-tech set-ups with global brands like Puma, L'Oreal, Cafe Coffee Day and more recently Bytedance and InMobi. He was recognised as one of India's Most innovative Mar-Tech leaders in 2019 by World Marketing Congress. With a career spanning over 14 years, he has worked across multiple functions with his domain expertise primarily being brand marketing (digital & offline), business strategy/ sales and go-to market plan/ execution across consumer goods, retail and start-up ecosystem.

In his recent roles, Kumar has spearheaded business functions across India, SEA, and EU.

Edited Excerpts

On the adoption of CTV viewing in India viz-a-viz global CTV landscape

Connected TV and CTV advertising are both fairly well-known and penetrated categories in the western markets, especially the United States. India has started well on consumer adoption of CTV and cheaper Smart TVs, Dongles and data plans together with compelling content propositions of leading OTT players are only going to accelerate this change going forward. As consumers have started to spend more time on this device or content format, ad dollars should also eventually move in this direction.

The India market is expected to see growth for both subscriber-funded SVOD content and advertiser-funded AVOD content on CTV. We thus remain bullish on this opportunity and see India as a key market for the CTV business.

On CTV opportunities for brands in India and the segments that will benefit the most

The world is moving towards immersive watching experiences and CTV is an exciting space to be in. Industry observers are keenly following how India's multi-screen viewing habits are shaping up. CTV has already made a significant impact on the digital advertising industry in the western part of the world and India is following suit. It is interesting to watch leading advertisers across verticals within the country adopt CTV advertising as a critical new addition to their media mix. It is here to stay. While CTV advertising is relevant for all categories active on TV and/or Digital, we expect the maximum impact of our interactive Household Sync augmented CTV advertising to be for categories looking for instant engagement like mobile apps led categories, consumer electronics, fashion etc. 

On Household Sync Technology and how it can help brands with their digital ad campaigns

Though programmatic CTV ads have been available in the industry, advertisers can drive interactivity with follow-up household synced mobile ads. This is where mediasmart’s advanced industry-first Household Sync technology helps in taking the advantage of CTV even further. It makes ads more engaging by syncing CTV ad campaigns with ads on other connected devices in the same household. CTV ads can thus be made significantly more relevant by personalising them for specific audiences within the household. This brings together the twin strengths of engaging storytelling associated with TV and CTV advertising and brands can launch CTV campaigns to a specific audience in the same household, measure results, and drive them to the nearest store. It uses fresh data for each campaign and is based on IP addresses, which undergo several layers of validation.

On the reach and user base of CTV in India

CTV, which was until recently seen as an alternative to linear TV, has emerged from the shadows and into the spotlight on how audiences consume content. The pandemic has further accelerated the shift in viewing habits as more and more people stayed indoors accepting the “new normal” and taking to CTV as a common entertainment source for families to enjoy together. Of course, the increasing internet speeds and better access to internet-enabled devices have also contributed in many ways to the recent growth of CTV.

As per the India CTV Report 2021, CTV viewing in India is on a significant uptick and increased by 31 per cent. Globally, while CTV viewing increased by 81 per cent, India is still a young market with tremendous potential for CTV adoption by consumers. In April 2020, 21 per cent of CTV viewing households were cord-cutters (households who cut the cord within the past five years), whereas 22 per cent were cord-nevers (households with no cable/satellite subscription in the past five years).

On emerging digital advertising trends in India

Connected TV & OTT - CTV & OTT apps across devices, which were until recently seen as an alternative to linear TV, have emerged from the shadows and into the spotlight on how audiences consume content. The pandemic has further accelerated the shift in viewing habits and contributed to its recent growth due to an increase in internet speeds and better access to internet-enabled devices.

Multi-screen audience targeting and attribution - Advertisers are closing the gap between TV and mobile advertising by targeting ads and taking advantage of multi-screen environments.

Privacy and personalisation - There is an increasing demand for data privacy and for a more personalised ad experience, so brands have to play a balancing act to offer relevant experiences through data-driven advertising while also respecting privacy choices at the same time.

Digital Out of Home (DOOH) - DOOH with its programmatic capabilities, which can automate OOH advertising, is expected to grow because COVID-induced confinements have accelerated the adoption of digital and programmatic methods in the OOH space.

Mobile measurement - It has been defined this year by the changes in privacy settings announced by Apple with the launch of iOS 14. Incremental app marketing has been a buzzword in the industry for some time, but as advertisers lose access to attribution level data in a considerable percentage of their target audience, measuring the incremental impact of advertising actions should become a reality to more and more advertisers.

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