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We expect 10X growth in audio advertising revenues this fiscal year: Gautam Sinha of Times Internet

Sinha talks about Gaana’s growth plans in 2021 and how well-executed audio campaigns can help brands

Gautam Sinha

After initially witnessing a slow growth in 2020 due to the nationwide lockdown, audio OTT platforms have been growing consistently since the second quarter and are now eyeing recovery.

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Gaana crossed over 150 million downloads in 2019. The platform expects to maintain its leadership position and aims to grow its advertising revenue by 10 times, says Gautam Sinha, CEO, Times Internet and Gaana.

“The pandemic has greatly helped audio OTT players as audiences have more disposable time while working from home. At Gaana, our revenue teams have grabbed this opportunity and are offering brands a chance to engage with prospective consumers in creative and highly engaging ways. Our goal is to maintain our leadership by the end of this financial year. We expect our revenues from audio advertising to grow as much as 10X in this period. From a brand perspective, we aim to establish Gaana as the super-app in the audio OTT arena, with offerings that cater to all the stakeholders, right from consumers to advertisers,” he said.

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Sinha said even though industries across sectors were impacted by the pandemic, advertising on the platform has returned and they have added many more brands. “Since Q2, we have seen a strong revival in CPM ads led by video OTTs, online retail, education, etc. Now the CPMs are back to pre-Covid levels. At Gaana, we used this time to meet clients across industries and added 140 new advertisers,” he added.

Talking about the present challenges, he said the audio streaming platforms are yet to be considered a part of mainstream media plans. He suggested more advertisers should experiment with audio platforms. “A well-executed audio ad campaign, added on top of a traditional media campaign, increases overall awareness scores by a significant margin. More advertisers should experiment with this medium to augment their brand-building efforts.”

Speaking about their recovery plans, he said they will continue to focus on enhancing brand solutions that will empower advertisers to reach their audience and help them drive revenues. He mentioned a few advertising solutions for brands such as Gaana’s Self-Service Ad Model—a feature where clients can visit and create their own ads. He said the platform will focus on increasing the buzz around dynamic ads through which brands can connect and engage with their target audience.

As audiences have started experimenting with non-film music, Gaana originals and podcasts, categories such as auto, QSR, banking, FMCG and paints have been using ads on the AVOD front to drive engagement. The brands find it to be an interesting medium to have conversations with their intended audience, said Sinha.

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Despite the pandemic affecting the pockets of people, paid users on the platform have been growing. “The Covid-19 lockdown has offered users an opportunity to tune into digital entertainment platforms of their choice. Paid users on Gaana grew by more than 35% in the past 12 months, including the earlier lockdown. We expect steady growth in the number of paid subscribers in the near future,” Sinha said.

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