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“No need,” says Discovery’s Issac John on a common digital measurement system

In a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, Issac John, Business Head, Digital (South Asia), Discovery, explains how their OTT platform Discovery Plus has grown in India since its launch in March. He also talks about their content strategy and the OTT environment in India

Issac John

As the Covid lockdown continues to change the media habits of consumers, Discovery Plus, which was launched in March at the beginning of the shutdown period, has gained an impressive following. The brand says that they are going to be aggressive in India, riding on the fact that they offer differentiated content from other OTT players.

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In a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, Issac John, Business Head, Digital (South Asia), Discovery, says the consumption and subscription models have been impressive for them. “We are going to be very aggressive in India as far as increasing adoption for Discovery Plus is considered because our product is differentiated. If we had another OTT app with fiction content, you know, it might not have been true, but the fact is that ours is a differentiated product and brings value to the consumers’ lives. There are 38 apps out there but only one app offers real-life entertainment, education and inspiration,” he said.

John spoke about the platform’s content and marketing strategy and said they are well-positioned in the Indian market. He said apart from catering to the English-speaking audience, they have a significant presence in vernacular markets. 70% of the content on the platform is available mainly in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Malayalam, Kannada and Marathi.

“As far as content is concerned, a lot of digital exclusives are being planned for the platform. There are going to be a couple of shows every week that will launch on the platform exclusively. Apart from that, there are our linear premieres that will also go on the platform. There's also a lot of content that has not been exposed on linear or on any other platform, so we will be building on some of those as well. So overall, we actually have a pretty good mix between our digital and linear premieres,” he said. He said they are building on the passion verticals of the network and strengthening the existing learning verticals with content from platforms such as Discovery Turbo, TLC, etc.

Speaking about the platform’s recent campaigns ‘Big Screen Delight’, John said it is based on a simple yet critical insight that audiences loved the experience of watching Discovery+ on the big screen.

Talking about the recent move by major brands to pull ad spends from social media due to security concerns, he said this will benefit them extensively as brands might migrate those spends. “It is definitely a big opportunity for us because we are the most brand-safe platform in India. The content stands for educational, informational purposes.” However, he also stated platforms such as Facebook and YouTube are getting smarter at identifying videos and offering solutions to advertisers.

John said they would instead use social media extensively to acquire audiences, “People continue to use YouTube as an acquisition funnel. We will have a social media strategy but it wouldn't be for consumers to consume content. The strategy would be to use these platforms to ensure it becomes a source of customer acquisition for us or for future,” he said.

John said it might get difficult for platforms that are not differentiated in dealing in a competitive space with giants such as Facebook. “I think it's going be pretty challenging for platforms that are not differentiated. Now, let's say platforms like Facebook and Google typically would command 80 to 85% of the advertising share in digital rights. It is essentially the remaining 15-20% share that remains for everyone else.”

John said there might not be a need for a common measurement system for the industry. “I think it will be very hard for the industry to actually come up with common metrics and even apply even if there are common standards available. You have things like comScore, which actually gave insights beyond measurements.  There are enough tools and common standard tools that all advertisers and agencies have access to,” he said.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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