It is a perception that most of the video content is discovered online, while a viewer is watching a series or a show, largely through recommendations. Not anymore and that’s why it is being called a perception. From ZEE5 to Voot, MX Player, among others, video streaming players are relying on Google’s video over-the-top (OTT) YouTube to drive consumption of videos.
“The Indian over-the-top (OTT) industry is expected to be a $5 billion by 2023, in terms of revenue, according to findings of the latest report by The Boston Consulting Group titled ‘Entertainment goes online’. Further, over 80% users doesn’t use more than three apps. Uninstall rate is at 50% and remaining at the top 3 position is a constant challenge. Even as content should be able to solve most of these issues, marketing plays an equally important role,” Vikas Agnihotri, country director, India sales, Google said.
Picture this: At the time of launch of its original show Rangbaaz, last December, ZEE5, the video streaming platform from the house of Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd (ZEEL), along with YouTube’s internal team created not one or two instead of, as many as 40 different trailers with each one featuring a character from the show. As a result, 95% installs happened during the period of the campaign. Moreover, paid subscriber base rose by 20x. This happened at a cost that is 80% lower per subscription rate during the previous year. The campaign was rolled out a month before the show was aired on the video OTT platform.
YouTube claims that there are three key reasons which brings video OTT players onto the platform to advertise their content. The first one being the reach of the platform. Youtube currently has more than 265 million monthly active users. Consumption of content on smartphone is about 90 minutes per day and on high end smartphones is about 130 minutes per day, states the firm.
“Secondly, trailers are the best forms of sampler for marketing any series. Lastly in terms of measurement, YouTube allows a brand or in this case a video OTT platforms to track consumer journey. Players are able to track right from the time a viewer watched a trailer to the point if she has watched the show on the platform or has she subscribed to the OTT platform,”Agnihotri added.
Viacom18, the media and entertainment firm started to use YouTube at the time of launch of its video streaming platform Voot in March 2016. At the time of its launch, Viacom18’s team wanted to reach out two kinds of audiences. The first one being news enthusiasts and the second lot being reality TV viewers, who were available on the Internet.
“The marketing campaign on YouTube was designed on the fact that users should react to ads by clicking on it. With the help of machine learning placement of an ad drives more action, click through rates are higher. Thus two sets of ads were placed, one on the side and the other on the bottom of the video player,” Agnihotri explained.
This lead to a 300% increase in click-through-rate (CTR), 60% lower cost per install and 57% lower cost per video as compared to other marketing channels which Voot had used a year back.
“For Voot which has 60,000 hours of content and 50 million monthly users, YouTube fits the bill perfectly to drive consumption. Not only advertising on YouTube has helped in acquiring new customers, it has also helped in retaining the existing ones. Voot as a platform has posted a 3x year-on-year growth in userbase,” Akash Banerji, head, advertising video on demand business, Voot said.
MX Player is another video streaming platform which has been using YouTube to drive consumption of its original series such as Only for Singles, imMature, Thikistan, among others. As per Abhishek Joshi, head, marketing and business partnership, MX Player, the video OTT platform has used YouTube to drive usage of its all its content. This has resulted in an increase in CTR besides registering a 70% conversion rate.
Different formats of ads is another factor which seem to have brought video OTT platforms onto YouTube, it claims. From bumper ads to Trueview, YouTube has over the years have increased the number of ad formats. “The aim is to understand in terms of genre of content and audiences, what are the kinds of ad formats which work,” Agnihotri said.
According to Google, the combination of creative and measurement has helped in establishing the science behind marketing of shows or series. The internet giant stated there is a correlation between the number of people who watched content to increase in app downloads, a reason why more and more video OTT platforms are using YouTube to promote its content.
Retention rates remain high and uninstall rates are at 50% and to remain at top 3. We try and bring is science to the process of marketing. Youtube in relationship to OTT, there are three things to work with us. – reach, so breaking from the clutter becomes the biggest challenge. But what we are seeing is that consumers are lapping up to the medium, and while India is a price sensitive market, many of the consumers are willing to pay, if they see value,” even as the market is largely advertising-led, consumers are willing to pay also. “We see 40-60 million paying subscribers by 2023.
However, a big challenge will always be the stickiness on the platform, for which OTT players will not only have to invest on content, but also on marketing as well as subscriber acquisition and retention strategy.