100% brand safe and viewable: marketers eager for programmatic TV in Asia Pacific

Singapore, as well as Southeast Asia’s, switch to digital television by the end of 2018 represents a chance for marketers to tap into the potential of programmatic advertising on television.

Digital broadcasting in Singapore began in December 2013 when state-owned broadcaster Mediacorp converted all seven of its free-to-air TV channels to the digital format. However, it has continued to broadcast in the analogue format, which will end by January 1, 2019, with neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia following suit.

According to the Info-communications Media Development Authority of Singapore, the switch is happening this year to ensure that viewers can continue to enjoy their favourite TV programmes from around the world as digital TV offers better quality pictures, superior sound and multi-language subtitles.

Marketers that The Drum spoke to, like Athena Bughao, regional account director in APAC for Google B2B Performance Media at Essence Media, believe digital TV is a step towards innovation and measurability for them.

“The move to digital means carving their own path towards the same content accessibility and measurement or get on the bandwagon. Adapt or die (from a relevance perspective),” she explains.

James Sampson, vice president and general manager for Asia Pacific at Dataxu, concurs with Bughao, and adds that digital TV is set to be 2018’s biggest thing, irrespective of the roles of Pay TV operators, advertisers and media companies, as some brands, agencies and media companies are very nimble in utilising new technologies and meeting audiences where they are.

“This is a consumer-led change, and we’re seeing all of the above stakeholders have various levels of speed and success in embracing this new world. We work with Sky in the UK, and that’s a great example of a company looking at new ways of selling, measuring, optimizing and advertising differently in 2018 than 10 years ago,” he says.

Buying ads programmatically on digital TV

While digital TV represents a chance for TV ads to be bought programmatically, targeting and measurement like data-driven automation and audience-based buying component are key foundations that will need to be built into digital TV and enable it across more networks, for it to be viable.

As Narayan Murthy, vice president for SEA and India at FreakOut puts it, how big data plays a role in this area and how fast TV can reach sophistication of current programmatic digital targeting capabilities remains to be seen, while Bughao quips: “We can’t manage what we can’t measure.”

Another challenge facing programmatic ads on digital TV is that there is a still a healthy level of scepticism from broadcasters who are worried that programmatic TV will devalue their inventory, or it will be a race to the bottom in terms of price, says Damien Thomson, general manager for APAC at Sizmek.

“We have seen really convincing evidence to support the contrary to that, where broadcasters can make premium inventory available and still attract a premium price for it. That is because advertisers will always want to be associated with premium content and they will always pay a premium for that,” he explains. “Where linear TV has struggled is the declining audiences on free to air linear TV. That has been supplemented by the increased consumption of catch-up TV in the digital channels. That represents a real opportunity to advertisers to reach that same audience in a more connected environment.”

That said, as more viewers are consuming content through OTT devices, it means there is a whole new playing field of advanced personalisation opportunities, to ensure consumers are seeing targeted marketing messages, across devices, in appropriate doses, according to Sampson.

“This creates a better experience for marketers, who are reaching a more relevant, engaged audience, and for viewers, who are seeing messages applicable to them and their interests,” he adds.

Murthy shares Sampson’s sentiments and points out that as TV gets more and more digital, it becomes part of the overall delivery of the creative, in this case, a commercial or video. “Programmatic TV will be a subset of buying and selling video spots across multiple form factors like laptops, mobile phones and smart TVs with a robust multi-channel planning with the same set of creatives. So effectively we can measure, attribute, and plan, TV with the same yardstick we do other digital channels,” he explains.

Programmatic advertising on TV is 100% brand safe and viewable

While still in its infancy, having programmatic ads on TV will be more attractive than desktop and mobile because it is 100% brand safe and viewable, as advertisers can put what they want to appear against with the high production values of the content, which they know is going to be safe, notes Thomson.

“Viewability also does not become an issue in a connected TV environment. There is a guarantee that their ad is going to be on screen, 100% view and all pixels displayed,” he explains. “At this stage, there is an over-reliance on video channels on Internet and social platforms. There is an opportunity for brands to achieve the same outcome and reach in a more cost-effective fashion by working with local partners, not necessarily just the global platforms.”

“By providing dollars back into the local ecosystem, the local media industry, you are supporting local businesses and at the same time, putting your advertising alongside more brand safe content. That will have an impact of reducing fraud, viewability rates, better consumer experiences by providing more relevant advertising to consumers across TV.

Marketers can also overcome user privacy issues or being accused of targeting personal information with regulation like GDPR in place with programmatic ads on TV, because they can use contextual-based targeting, as there are a lot of information that broadcasters have in relation to the metadata that is available for programming.

“In terms of being able to provide data, I believe that an opt-in approach is a good way to start and a lot of broadcasters will require log-ins to access the apps. Being able to target against an audience profile or information that is gathered, is one way of reaching an audience. They will start to provide information on pre-shot series, rather than current affairs and news as providing that metadata to targeting systems, it will provide context around the content that is being described and allow better targeting for advertisers against that,” explains Thomson.

Ready for the switch

Dataxu, Sizmek and FreakOut believe they are ready when Singapore and SEA finally make the switch to digital TV, as they can address concerns like how will reach be impacted on digital TV, if there will be incremental reach a brand increase its spend with a particular broadcaster and if buying through one demand-side platform, will there be a clear outcome on another.

Sampson explains that Dataxu’s advanced TV offerings were built from the ground up as cross-channel, meaning they are not specific to TV, desktop or mobile, but encompassing the spectrum of digital channels for marketers. Murthy points out that FreakOut work on a probabilistic mode to target disengaged TV audiences who are on Facebook or some other site while in front of the television, and further enhance the brand’s messaging to someone who has just seen the ad by showing him/her a form to finish the transaction just seen.

For Thomson, he says Sizmek as a business is very much focused on transparency and not just transparency on campaign data. “We look at data across five different dimensions like creative, costs, campaign, consumer and context. Being able to assess each of those components when looking at connected TV as a channel, not just in isolation, but across the entire media plan will become important for advertisers.”

Source: thedrum.com; 28 May 2018

Reliance Big TV offer: 500 channels free for 5 yrs, HD ones for 1 year

The effectively free offer on Reliance Big TV DTH is valid starting today, March 1, 2018

Anil Ambani-owned direct-to-home service provider Reliance Big TV is now offering free access to up to 500 channels at a zero effective cost, along with one year of free subscription to premium channels.

To avail of the Reliance Big TV set-top box at effectively zero cost, you need to book the DTH from the company’s official portal by paying a booking amount of Rs 499. Another sum of Rs 1,500 needs to be paid once the DTH is delivered, for installation and other services.

However, the total sum of Rs 2,000 is refundable after successful completion of three years in the form of recharge.

According to terms and conditions of the offer, you need to do a monthly recharge of Rs 300 from second year onwards for two consecutive years. At the end of three years, the company would refund a sum of Rs 2,000 in the form of recharge.

The offer comes bundled with free access to up to 500 free-to-air channels for five years and one year of free subscription to paid channels.

“Today, Reliance Big TV is going to mark the beginning of a new dawn in the way Indians have been accessing entertainment on their TV sets. Starting from today, entertainment comes effectively free of cost, with the latest offer by Reliance Big TV. Now every Indian household can enjoy home entertainment & students can have free of cost access to education content with HD HEVC set Top box,” said Vijender Singh, Director, Reliance Big TV in a statement.

Source: business-standard.com; 1 Mar 2018

CES a Reminder of How Far TV Tech Has Come

As the industry gears up to attend CES this week in Las Vegas, I’m reminded of an invention that enthralled the conference 20 years ago: Web TV. The device promised a new era of entertainment, where television and the internet would converge to give consumers the best of both. They could channel surf and web surf, all while sitting in the comfort of their living room.

But despite the promise of a new, interactive entertainment experience and technology that was state of the art for its time, Web TV never really took off. The hardware was clunky—imagine the old low-definition TV’s of the past, sitting on a set-top box with a keyboard and a modem. The software was slow and hard to navigate. And though there were great things to watch on television, there wasn’t much to do online; no one really wanted to check their email on their TV.

Web TV never really took off, but 20 years later, we’re finally fulfilling the vision of bringing hardware, software and fantastic content together to create an unrivalled living room experience.

Start with the hardware. The latest TV’s are as thin as picture frames and look like art, with high-end displays that render the world into sharp, brilliant relief. They’re also smart from the start, internet-enabled and able to connect wirelessly to your home network. Connected TV sales have grown ten percent in just the last year. If your TV isn’t connected, set-top boxes like Roku, smart sticks like Chromecast, and gaming consoles like XBox One X can unlock incredible libraries of entertainment on nearly any TV. And the latest smart speakers from Google and Apple let you ditch the remote entirely and navigate with the sound of your voice.

As for software, it’s now as important as hardware. TV apps can give you features and experiences you could have never dreamed of before. At YouTube, we’ve worked hard to build an experience that works on every screen. When YouTube first launched, it was something you only watched at work or on your computer; now it’s second nature for people to watch it on their phones or in their living rooms. In fact, TV is actually our fastest-growing screen at 70% year-over-year. Two out of three YouTube users say they watch YouTube on a TV screen, and watch time of YouTube on living room devices now tops over 100 million hours per day.

And that leads to the third point—online video has exploded, creating a golden age of content we couldn’t have imagined 20 years ago. Today, you can seamlessly switch from watching live sports on a national network, to the latest Netflix original series, to your favourite music video, to doing Yoga with Adriene—a YouTube yogi with nearly 3 million subscribers. All that choice can be daunting, but recommendation algorithms are getting better and better at surfacing content you’ll want to watch—over 70 percent of time people spend watching YouTube is driven by our recommendations.

These developments have all led us to a watershed moment, fully realizing the potential of what an internet-enabled TV experience can be. But it also frees us up to push past this moment and unleash a new wave of TV innovation. It means we can embrace new formats like 4K and HDR video because platforms like YouTube have so much of that content to enjoy. It means we can create more social experiences, whether connecting fans with their favourite stars through comments, posts or live chats; or connecting them to each other through cowatching experiences that allow people in different places to enjoy the same content at the same time.
And with new over-the-top services like YouTube TV, Sling TV and DirecTV Now, we can undergo the biggest change of all: enjoying live TV without the commitments that come with cable. Cable TV revolutionized the television experience, breaking us out of a three-channel world and ushering us into a golden age for the medium. But today consumers can finally get everything they love about TV, without the fees and annual contracts that come with cable.

In fact, they can get even more. YouTube TV offers unparalleled features and powerful experiences that aren’t constrained by the cable box, like an unlimited cloud DVR, personalized recommendations and an experience that works just as well on any screen. It’s no wonder cord-cutting grew by 11 percent over the last year and is expected to jump even higher next year.

When we at YouTube think about the future of TV, this is what we see—a future marked by greater choice, better quality content, smarter recommendations, more social experiences and fewer commitments. As I head to Vegas for CES this year, I’m betting it won’t take another 20 years.

The author, Neal Mohan is the chief product officer at YouTube.

Source: variety.com; 7 Jan 2018

Don’t put all your money in digital to reach affluent Asians: Ipsos

Affluent Asian consumers have yet to fully embrace digital media, according to an Ipsos study.

Affluent Asian consumers are not disengaged from advertising, and digital aficionados who shun TV and print are not necessarily the biggest spenders among the well-heeled group. These are some of the consumer insights into affluent Asian consumers highlighted in the latest Ipsos’ Affluent Asia survey.

Zeroing on media-consumption findings from Q2 2017, the study reveals that 42.2% access only traditional media, compared to 37.5% for a combination of traditional and digital, while only 2% access only digital media. Likewise, data on respondents from the markets studied (which excludes China) between Q3 2016 to Q2 2017 shows that total TV and print reach are enhanced by digital. The overall study this year was based on 24,250 samples from 11 markets in APAC.

News consumption habits of affluent Asian consumers (excluding China).

Along the same lines, the study reveals that consumers who consume a combination of traditional and digital media are likely to be bigger spenders. They own three or more financial and upscale household products and have taken business or first-class flights, for example. The study notes that the affluent cohort accounts for the top 20% by income of the APAC population and further points out that not all ad spend should be invested on digital.

In comparison, Chinese affluent consumers are more inclined toward consuming media via digital devices, even though a higher percentage are still watching entertainment content on TV compared to news and documentaries. Therefore, a cross-platform strategy is especially important for reaching Chinese consumers.

Cross-platform consumption of Chinese consumers.

Source: campaignasia.com; 24 Nov 2017

TV Viewers Are Demanding More Options, and Streaming Services Are Happy to Oblige

Same channels, different remote control

The good news: TV lovers still love watching TV. The not as good news: Viewers aren’t watching it in the same way as they used to (and until relatively recently).

Set-top cable boxes have dwindled in popularity over the past four years. As consumers turn to connected TVs and devices, they have less need for a monthly box-rental fee and thousands of channels they don’t watch.

According to a study from Hub Entertainment Research, viewers reported that for the first time since tracking began in 2014, watching TV online was more popular than watching on a set-top box.

About 52 percent of viewers now say they watch their favorite shows online via services like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon, on a network’s own site or app, or via other online services like iTunes. Forty-eight percent of viewers prefer to watch TV live, on DVR or through an on-demand platform.

The emergence of streaming TV

TV started with limited broadcast networks and appointment viewing. If you missed an episode, that was it. Today, consumers can choose what channels they pay for, on what devices they watch those channels, which episodes to watch and when to tune in. Viewers are in control of the remote, and TV networks and providers are trying to be as flexible as their consumers need them to be.

Today, viewers hold all the power. They’re demanding high-quality content on their preferred devices at the time of their choice, and the companies that helped create the disruption and challenge to the status quo have been happy to oblige.

Sling TV is one such example. The skinny-cable bundle launched in 2015 when there was no live TV streaming service letting users control which channels they watch and pay for.

“We saw an opportunity to reach both cord cutters and cord-nevers,” said Jimshade Chaudhari, vp of marketing and management at Sling TV. “Lots of those people were frustrated with traditional TV back then and still are today.”

Sling TV currently provides two subscription plans with many add-on packages, giving users a customizable experience based on the TV channels they actually want to watch.

“The concept from a consumer standpoint caught on right away,” Chaudhari said. “[Viewers had] been waiting a long time for something like this. And as they got familiar with what it was, they got more control and flexibility than they ever got from the traditional cable experience.”

Subscribers to contract-free services like Sling, Playstation Vue, YouTube TV and other similar platforms can cancel any time at no fee, something not all cable companies allow in their contracts. Additionally, many of these platforms are available on multiple smart TV-connected devices like Roku, Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV where viewers can install other apps for entertainment like games or podcasts.

Even though the mechanics of viewership have started to shift, one thing has remained the same—people still love TV.

“It’s an escape for them,” Chaudhari said. “They want entertainment and really easy access to it that they don’t have to think about. Netflix helped drive the watch-on-your-own-time sensibility early on, and now consumers want more flexibility.”

Libraries and live options

Hulu, another pioneer in the entertainment streaming world, has seen the shift on a larger scale. As it celebrates its 10th anniversary, the platform has added more movies, shows, original programs, premium network add-ons and now live TV.

“Our lives as viewers have been changed irreversibly,” said Ben Smith, Hulu’s svp and head of experience. “Hulu was radical when it launched, but we’ve been all about putting the user in control of the time and place they watch content they love since the beginning.”

When Hulu considers what to develop or provide, it always considers the viewer first and tries to find a way to make that experience friendly to both users and advertisers, according to Smith.

Personalization and questioning what TV will be is at the top of Hulu’s agenda as it looks forward to the next decade.

“We don’t sell ads into shows, but we sell audiences to advertisers,” Smith said. “If Ford wants to reach a male audience aged 25 to 35 in the Midwest, we can do that. And if you don’t fall into that category, then you won’t see that ad.”

In addition to contextually appropriate ads tailored to the audience, Hulu is also mindful of ad repetition (“Zero people want to see the same ad five times in one hour,” Smith said) and providing viewers with the option not to see ads. Hulu offers commercial-free streaming options subscribers can add onto the company’s live-TV plan or its streaming library plan.

“Consumers are expecting experiences that are tailored to their needs,” Smith said. “Hulu, Spotify, Amazon—all these companies are working to empower the consumer.”

Source: adweek.com; 20 Nov 2017

Netflix Could Become Industry’s Biggest Spender On Content In 2018

Netflix says it may spend as much as $8 billion on content in 2018 — a figure that could make it the biggest content buyer of any media or technology company.

The company slipped the figure into its quarterly letter to shareholders Monday evening, adding that it had $17 billion in content commitments over the next few years, and is expected to spend between $7 billion and $8 billion on content in 2018.

For comparison, the $8 billion figure would be nearly twice what broadcast networks like NBC and CBS spend on content, according to data from SNL Kagan and Boston Consulting Group.

The only other company to spend more on content than Netflix until now has been ESPN, which totalled an estimated $7.3 billion in 2016, largely due to expensive live sports rights.

If ESPN’s spend is similar to what it was in 2016, Netflix could be poised to surpass the Disney-owned cable sports giant. Of course, sports rights tend to rise in price over time, thanks to contracts that were signed years ago, before the cable bundle began to fray. So ESPN’s spot atop the content world may yet be secure.

Netflix’s rapidly growing content spend adds to its competitive challenge for ad-supported media. The more cash it spends on content, the more eyeballs Netflix can steal from other sources of video, including many ad-supported companies.

Source: mediapost.com; 17 Oct 2017

Millennials mostly watch TV after it’s aired

Older people still watch more live TV, but that’s changing.

Millennials don’t watch live TV most of the time. People aged 18-34 spend 55 percent of their video-watching time consuming content after it has already aired on live TV, according to a new study from the Consumer Technology Association. Only 45 percent of that time is spent with live television.

Of the video millennials do watch, 35 percent comes from streaming services like Netflix or on-demand video from a pay TV. They spend 20 percent of their viewing time watching recorded shows off their DVR.

The switch to time-shifted TV puts further pressure on TV networks that are struggling to make their shows attractive to advertisers and retain audiences — audiences that are increasingly seeking out entertainment elsewhere, such as on Snapchat and Facebook. That’s one of the key reasons why advertisers still pay a lot of money to be next to sports content like the NFL despite its flattening audience: Sports still compel people to watch live.

People older than 35 do spend a majority of their viewing time, or 66 percent, with live TV.

Image 1

But even so, live TV has been losing ground across all demographics. The share of consumers who watch live TV at least once a week, according to the CTA study, has shrunk from 92 percent in 2014 to 80 percent in 2017.

That viewing time has been supplanted by an increase in TV watching through paid and free websites as well as network websites and apps.

Image 2

Source: recode.net; 9 Sep 2017

Streaming TV Viewers Complete 98% of All Video Ads, According to New Study

The OTT audience also tends to be younger and more affluent

The OTT television landscape is now a full-blown dominant force in the video viewing environment according to a new report from FreeWheel, part of Comcast’s advertising solutions teams.

The OTT viewer is young and affluent: according to FreeWheel’s findings, the median OTT viewer is 23 years younger than linear TV viewers, and OTT streaming households tend to make $10,000 more per year than traditional TV households.

OTT services provide benefits for consumers (a customizable viewing experience when they choose to stream), publishers (a premium platform that reaches non-traditional TV viewers) and marketers (a targetable audience of highly engaged viewers).

“New sources of premium inventory coupled with the ability to align delivery with changing consumption habits allows us to better connect with the consumer and ultimately drive more brand value for our client,” said Jon Anselmo, president at Omnicom Media Group.

“A focus on this area now ensures our clients are ready for a future that one could argue is already here,” he said.

FreeWheel found that OTT viewers, on average, complete 98 percent of video ads as compared to ad completion rates on other devices. Tablet users complete 91 percent of video ads, while smartphone users finish 86 percent.

And because OTT viewers spend more time watching programs, the odds are high that they’re seeing plenty of those ads. About 36 percent of OTT viewership is for visits of at least an hour; of that amount of time, 60 percent is spent streaming live content.

All of this adds up to higher brand metrics across the board. OTT viewers showed higher aided awareness of brands and brand favourability than desktop or mobile users, while mobile users still tend to show higher purchase intent.

“OTT and the increase in dynamic advertising opportunities in the living room represent a very valuable opportunity for our clients to use precision methodologies to reach viewers who have diversified their viewing habits to include OTT,” said Jonathan Bokor, svp and director of precision video at Publicis Media Exchange.

“We believe that the future of TV will marry the best of linear and digital and when OTT is transacting at scale with more standardized measurement, it will realize its full potential for brand marketers,” he said. “Today, despite the measurement challenges, it represents incremental reach and value for our clients, and we continue to seek out creative solutions to tap into these audiences.”

FreeWheel also found that OTT viewers tend to stream TV throughout the day; streaming peaks slightly in the morning as viewers watch morning news reports, but there is a clear peak on all OTT services for primetime programming.

FreeWheel Advisory Services selected a sample of its U.S. clients who represent 95 percent of OTT-driven impressions and combined those findings with data from Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings for desktop and mobile statistics to complete this report.

Source: adweek.com; 2 Aug 2017