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Dipstick: Will OTT players in India gain from YouTube ad controversy?

After the recent ad fiasco on the online video channel, brands may be looking at other ways to target the audience and what better way to lure viewers than on OTT

Nearly a month back, YouTube ran into trouble after ads for the British government were seen with offensive content on its platform. Within a week, global brands such as Coca-Cola, Amazon.com, Microsoft and others decided to boycott advertising on its platform.

Analysts had predicted the platform could lose nearly $750 million after the boycott. While that happened in the West, India certainly wasn’t affected much. But what India is looking forward to is the boost the YouTube row has given over-the-top (OTT) players considering the fact that multi-national companies have boycotted the digital giant.

BestMediaInfo.com spoke to content providers, OTT players and digital experts to understand how it will boost advertising on OTT platforms.

Rajiv Dingra

Rajiv Dingra, Co-Founder and CEO, WATConsult

Video advertising is growing exponentially and OTT platforms will benefit from the overall growth. Yes, the YouTube issue does shake up advertiser confidence in the shorter term but in the long term, its impact would be negligible. I don't see a direct shift from YouTube to OTT platforms as the audience size is very different and so is their psychographics.

Sanjay Tripathy

Sanjay Tripathy, Former CMO, HDFC Life

I think brands and advertisers across India always had a well spread out media mix with budgets well allocated touching potential audience at multiple layers. But yes, YouTube was always an important part of any brand campaign and will continue to be. It was always looked upon as an extension of TV budgets with the idea of promoting and seeding TVC/video content online. Owing to Google's recent announcement, I foresee a reduction in spends on YouTube, which may mainly be due to lack of inventory.

Ajay Chacko

Ajay Chacko, Co-Founder and CEO, Arre

I don’t think that problem exists in India. Though there is always going to be an option that OTT is emerging in the way it is going on in India. Why only OTT, even Facebook has its video platform coming up in a big way. In India, brands and marketers are already looking for alternatives because of the availability. I think it is a more organic move, rather than one particular move driving this incident.

Ashwin Suresh

Ashwin Suresh, Founder, Pocket Aces

I understand the position advertisers are in, and agree that there needs to be oversight on ad spends. However, that is a hard problem to solve at scale so I expect it to be a while before YouTube is able to address it in an effective manner. YouTube does, however, make it easy for advertisers to bid on premium channels that are genre-specific or have a long history of brand-friendly content. I believe that advertisers should leverage that ability to place their creative on premium, trustworthy channels until YouTube figures out a longer-term solution. Similar to the arguments being made by television channels in the days after these incidents, this highlights an increasing need for brands to shift their spends towards native advertising campaigns or content sponsorship campaigns where the content quality and brand-fit are assured and engagement is always much higher.

Dushyant Kohli

Dushyant Kohli, Head Growth, nexGTV

If we look at YouTube, we know that the content is user generated. Hence we know that all kinds of content are available on YouTube. What YouTube monitored was infringement or copyright or plagiarism. Apart from that nothing is moderated. Unlike on an OTT platform, where the advertiser knows what kind of content is there and he knows whom to target for what. It is pretty logical for brands to think this way and look at OTT for sure.

Vinay Pillai

Vinay Pillai, Co-founder, Dekkho

Premium video OTT platforms in mature digital markets such as the US and UK already command higher CPVs and provide greater completed ad plays to brands and advertisers than YouTube and Facebook. This trend will soon follow in India and lead to premium brands turning to OTT platforms with the right nature of content and users that comprise their ideal buyer. OTT platforms provide advertisers and brands with safety checks and a very TV-like experience with relevant content targeting.

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