The strong growth in the penetration of CTV has once again drawn advertisers' attention with YouTube recently announcing that Connected TV (CTV) is its fastest-growing screen over the past five years.
According to Priyam Dadia, Head of Media Planning, Schbang, currently, more than 70 million people in India are watching YouTube on their TVs. In about 30% of cases, they are watching in groups.
The recent numbers clear the myth about the base of CTV. Until recently, various reports have been suggesting that there are about 40 million CTV users in the country. Whereas, YouTube's latest revelations put this number beyond 70 million.
With this, CTV today is larger than DTH and Cable homes, separately. It is today more than half of the overall Pay TV universe.
Industry leaders predict that the future of advertising is tightly bound to CTV. This rapid CTV expansion is set to leave no platform untouched.
They believe that what's even more promising is CTV's potential for organic growth, with its universe expanding, ushering in an era of increased CTV viewers across various platforms.
CTV consumption is led by library content as well as LIVE broadcasts by the Sports and News genres.
Sensing the potential, the Sports and News genres have upended their CTV pitch.
While the Sports genre is eyeing huge premiums for their CTV advertising, news publishers like India Today Group, which leads on CTV as per comScore, are signing CTV advertising deals with clients.
Measurement is one big challenge when it comes to CTV. YouTube has its own set of metrics, while Samsung, the OEM, uses different metrics, and unfortunately, these metrics don't align with each other. This results in a situation where various platforms are essentially discussing the same viewer base.
"If it aims to compete with traditional television or mobile consumption, it still has some ground to cover. CTV is definitely growing, but achieving the necessary scale remains a challenge. Even during our advertising campaigns, we often encounter a situation where CTV audiences are quickly exhausted,” said a senior marketer who did not want to be named.
Amidst the measurement challenges on CTV, Aaj Tak is learnt to have been working closely with large agencies to bring a transparent measurement metric for curated campaigns for some of the big clients.
The metric, currently under wraps, aims to normalise the digital metrics to impressions and reach to bring equivalence in measurement and selling while maintaining premium for the audience quality.
This will also enable advertisers to see relative performance between channels, select contextual intensity and yet do an effective plan.
The process of bringing CTV into the fold of TV is growing at a rapid pace. Normalising parameters that work equally well with digital buying and TV buying are getting tested and pilots are being run for various clients in groups like India Today.
It is known that the latest models like that of India Today Group transcend the traditional sample-based TV metrics, offering universal value and higher visibility and transparency than a digital buyer is used to.
TV and Digital buyers both are getting the comfort of having a clearer view of their Return on Investment (ROI) in the terms they understand best.
This story unfolds in the heart of CTV measurement innovation.
Dadia said, “This is a chance for advertisers to reach TV audiences that are not easy to reach through traditional TV advertising. CTV is a key that helps brands open doors to previously hard-to-reach TV audiences. These include those who don’t watch broadcast or cable TV often, or at all, and who have turned to streaming video content on the big screen at home.”
"CTV is no longer just about affluent viewers, it's about tapping into the mass premium audience as well. For all new advertisers, it gives an opportunity to participate in TV advertising in a much easier plug-and-play digital marketing way, and for the existing bigger ones it is about an advanced way of buying TV ads. Marketers must tailor their strategies for this unique connected TV experience, crafting ads that are specifically made for the grandeur of CTV is crucial—a narrative evolution, not just adaptation, Maanesh Vasudeo, Senior Vice President - Media Operations, LS Digital, said.
“As screens grow larger, storytelling gains greater impact but a stronger conversation on CTV measurement is much required. YouTube's journey in this domain, helps them learn from the evolution and provides advertisers with unique connected TV solutions backed by robust Google backend. CTV hence becomes a crucial part of every media planner’s strategy," he added.
Niti Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Starcom, pointed out that the growth in CTV will impact every platform.
"So, if the CTV universe is going up, it will also lead to increased CTV bases across platforms. So, the growth is happening across various platforms," she said.
"The advantage here lies in the realm of CTV, particularly when we observe the trends. CTV has the potential for organic growth. If we look back at the times when TV was on the rise, and it still is in some regions, it's akin to a snowball effect. Minimal effort was needed for it to expand. However, by focusing on creating content tailored for specific CTV audiences, often premium and younger demographics, we can pave the way for even more significant growth in the years to come. This is one strategy that the platform could employ to expedite its growth," Kumar said.
According to Shradha Agarwal, Co-founder and CEO, Grapes, CTV is essentially an intersection between traditional viewing experiences and digital.
"It already has some options for social viewing, but there is an even bigger potential for this social online aspect to grow in the near future. There is also potential for CTV to become a crucial part of the connected commerce mix. As the mode grows, it might invite new ways for consumers to shop," she said.
Karan Anand, SVP – Strategy, Interactive Avenues (the digital arm of IPG Mediabrands India), highlighted that CTV allows for the best of both worlds with a bigger screen of linear TV and targeting of the internet, therefore boosting the effectiveness of ad campaigns.
“Interactive ads enable direct viewer interaction, while contextual advertising aligns ads with relevant content. Brands gain more control over ad placement and access robust data insights for optimising future strategies. Overall, the shift to CTV enhances ad targeting, engagement and revenue potential for OTT platforms, fostering a mutually beneficial ecosystem for all stakeholders,” he added.
Kumar emphasised that as the CTV user base continues to expand, it opens up additional opportunities for highly specific targeting. With a larger user base, more refined targeting filters can be applied. This, in turn, should enhance the effectiveness of the brand's advertising campaigns.
Schbang's Dadia said that most importantly people can access valuable data and analytics from CTV platforms to measure the effectiveness of their campaigns and content. This data-driven approach allows for better optimisation and fine-tuning of strategies.
“CTV offers advertisers the opportunity to target a highly engaged audience. It also has a huge base of content creators and with every new development on the platform, these creators have gotten opportunities to grow,” Agarwal of Grapes added.
Meanwhile, Oshin Kamble, Senior Media Strategist at Django Digital, said, “With consumers increasingly consuming CTV content, advertisers are also exploring various OTT platforms like Hotstar and Jio for advertising opportunities. It enhances advertising by offering extra data for precise targeting and measurement. While CTV is relatively new, its growing maturity promises a wealth of data for advertisers to fine-tune their strategies and reach highly specific audiences,” he added.