Digital videos draw viewers in, but advertisers wary about real reach

According to report, the average Indian’s digital video consumption has grown 2x in the past two years
For the longest time, digital advertisers and stakeholders have believed that digital consumers fit into three main and interdependent categories, millennial, metro and male. This assumption has been an impediment to meaningful innovation in content offering and consumer based digital solutions, but not anymore. Thanks to the video.

Recently, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) released a report, ‘The trillion (and growing) touchpoint story – recognising the monetisation conundrum’. Sudhanshu Vats, chairman, CII National Committee on Media & Entertainment and group CEO and managing director, Viacom18 Media, India said, “India is one of the unique markets, where nearly all forms of media consumption are growing. However, true disruption is being seen in digital video, which has grown at a staggering 46 per cent CAGR over the past two years.” 

Video impacts all age groups and geographies, the numbers show. According to the report, the average Indian’s digital video consumption has grown 2x in the past two years, on the back of surging smartphone adoption and ubiquitous low-cost high-speed mobile internet, coupled with industry’s initiatives. The turn-around point though has been the pickup of streaming video on demand (SVOD) with the rise of Hotstar, Voot, the Jio family of apps, Netflix, Amazon Prime among others. The industry has invested significantly into making the experience a customer centric one, generating relevant content and making it affordable and easily accessible.

“The fundamental drivers of value for consumers are inherently different, ranging from an expansive breadth of content to just easier access,” observed Karishma Bhalla, managing director & partner, BCG India. She added, “The SVOD base is truly democratised, having moved beyond the traditional 3M's (metro, male & millennials). The digital age of a consumer plays a far more pronounced role in SVOD adoption once the initial trials are induced.” 

The report goes on to suggest that advertiser spending on digital media could follow the ‘lipstick effect’. Budgets could either keep to the past  levels or even increase marginally, thereby holding out hope for the sector in economically challenged environments.

Digital media has been widely adopted by most brands but the maximum use has been by FMCG, Auto and BFSI companies. These companies have come to rely on the medium for the understanding of consumer intent and behaviour  that it offers at specific times and events. Also known as psychometric targeting, such an approach ensures a higher return on investment.

Despite the general euphoria, advertisers are increasingly wary about the cure-all properties of digital media. The big concern is about measurement; the effectiveness of advertising in this space and the authenticity of the data that is used to measure the impact, is under scrutiny. 

As with social media, trust has become a big concern. Digital/online videos are drawing in viewers and sweeping up the likes, but how reliable are the numbers, advertisers ask. More importantly is that a human or a bot behind the screen?

Rising screen time
  • Digital video consumption has increased from 11mins/day to 24mins/day over the past 2 years
  • There is a 10-15% increase in the number of sessions (of video viewing) over 2018
  • There is a 15-25% increase in average time per session
  • Programmatic accounts for more than half the amount spent on advertising on digital video platforms

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