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OTT and digital are becoming mainstream for advertisers: MXPlayer's Abhishek Joshi

The OTT platform is focusing on building its presence in the regional belt.

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MUMBAI: With five original web-series, Times Internet-owned over-the-top (OTT) service MX Player made its grand entry in the highly contended Indian market. While the new entrant in the market has gained enough traction within six month of its launch, the platform has kept an eye on the most promising opportunity in the ecosystem, the regional belt. Since the launch, it has been taking several interesting marketing initiatives with a special focus on the marketing of Originals to create impact for the brand.

According to a report from RedSeer, a Bangalore-based research and consulting firm, MX Player has already acquired its place in the top three list in terms of users with 176 million monthly active users. To understand its marketing strategy, interest from advertisers, key challenges of the new player, Indiantelevision.com spoke to MX Player marketing and business partnerships head Abhishek Joshi.

Edited excerpts:

From local video player to a streaming service - what are the marketing initiatives you are taking to change the brand image among users?

The biggest opportunity we face lies in the question itself. The paradigm shift from offline to online and educating the user of the same is the task we were faced with. I think the biggest step we took was rebranding ourselves and creating the brand promise of “Everytainment”. This word brilliantly echoes our brand ethos and encapsulates all that we offer – which essentially is entertainment suiting your every need, want, mood, reason or season. Our approach for this messaging to reach the consumer stretches from associating with brands across demographics/categories, TV, radio and print (enabling us to reach out to those that are not present on the internet) and social + digital mediums to name a few. The marketing of our Originals is yet another avenue to create impact for the brand and we do so by bringing you innovative campaigns that appeal to varied palettes.

How are you leveraging the strength of your own network?

Many in the OTT market are players who are backed by large broadcasters and each uses the might of its network which is challenged by their own set of pros and cons. But having said that – it’s always an added edge that weighs in when needed.

Are OTT platforms, in general, seeing good interest from advertisers? Has it increased this year?

There’s no getting around the fact that OTT and corresponding advertising offerings are in hyper drive as more content and advertising inventory becomes available. The OTT and digital window is becoming mainstream to most advertisers so this definitely seems to be a trend that is here to stay.

A lot of campaigns are going digital-first. The way advertising is targeted to the user changes when you have a mobile in your hand. It’s the only entertainment device you carry with you 24*7. Advertisers see OTT as a compelling proposition: a high quality, brand-safe environment allowing for targeted ads along with a means for even better audience segmentation.

We, in fact, encourage branded content as an option as well which leads to great brand visibility. For example, our association with Too Yumm! for our show Love OK Please has seen great results for us as well as the brand.

What are the key challenges MX Player is facing in terms of marketing?

There has been a rise in the number of platforms and hence in the number of shows which presents marketers with an opportunity to make a mark with impactful campaigns. With everyone trying to bite into the same pie, the only edge one has is to be relevant to viewers, position the brand in a way that is simple to understand and yet compels them to be engaged which I believe is the biggest challenge for any marketer today.

Are you doing targeted advertising while attracting new consumers? Which are the key demographics you are attracting?

Big pivots are happening. From a marketing perspective, it’s really how you engage your viewers, use your data to target and make sure your messaging is reaching the right customer at the right time. As MX Player’s TG is digitally driven, we incorporate the digital and social mediums in all our marketing strategies and tactics.

Our approach is always dependent on the story and the narrative of what the series consists of. Based on that, we decide the route, medium and strategy to use for a particular show.

Our app caters to not just the top 8 cities but also a lot of tier II and tier III markets. The regional belt is an area that we are actively trying to nurture and build.

Which are the brands showing more interest in your content? Which are the new brands coming on-board?

These are announcements that we will make alongside the launch of the respective series. But currently, the platform sees a lot of  ad traction coming in categories like FMCG, ecommerce, technology, telecommunication, banking and automobile with brands like OnePlus, Vivo, P&G, KFC, Reckitt and LIC amongst others.

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