In the Indian market where subscription rates are particularly low, the platforms are keen to establish a more rigorous and regular engagement with brands. It is a way to stave off the threat from home-grown platforms such as Hotstar, estimated to have close to 300 million viewers, and from new entrants with deep-pockets that charge a fraction of their rates. Hotstar however has a different model, the free platform programming comes with regular ads and mid-show breaks. Only the premium subscription-led service promises an ad-free experience.
RP Sanjiv Goenka Group’s Guiltfree Industries that owns and markets the brand Too Yumm! partnered with Amazon Prime for an in-film branding in the series Inside Edge Season 2. For a brand that aims to position itself as a ‘youthful brand and focus on fitness and healthy eating’, the cricketing drama felt like the perfect fit.
Anupam Bokey, CMO, Guiltfree Industries (RPSG – FMCG) said, “This collaboration will aid Too Yumm! in directly reaching out to our consumers since both, the web-series and the brand, share similar target audiences.” This is not the first association with OTT platforms, it partnered with MX Player for ‘Love OK Please’ in March this year.
“The costs vary on the level of integration a brand wants to do based on the objectives they want to meet. Films and OTT provide different opportunities and hence cost are not exactly comparable. OTT has several options with different genres and content that allows brands to find the most relevant fit for its target group,” he explains. It is a win-win for brands and video streaming platforms, helping the former find the right audiences and the latter to monetise the content further, without giving in to the need for commercial breaks.
Gandhi said, “We are continuously raising the bar in the entertainment space by creating world-class original shows. To take this high quality content to our customers, we often look at innovative and engaging ways to market this content through associations with like-minded partner brands.”
For Netflix bringing brands on the partner track is a strategic move in India where it goes up against low-price competitors and faces deep resistance to price hikes. It wants to grow its business here and in the rest of Asia where it may have registered the biggest gains across all regions for Netflix, but that is still a small portion of the overall business.
The streaming major has about 14.48 mn subscribers in the Asia Pacific region as of September 2019. The numbers have nearly tripled from 5.8 mn in 2017 for the corresponding period. India is an important geography in Asia Pacific for Netflix where it has launched a mobile-only plan around July.
Netflix is profitable in India, as per market estimates with its revenues registering a several fold jump in FY19. While Amazon Prime Video’s revenue break up is not known, it is also pumping in money to create a steady stream of original content to maintain its lead over Netflix.