Netflix, Amazon Prime, others line up ₹300 crore ad blitz
New Delhi: The Indian arms of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other key video streaming platforms will spend an estimated ₹300 crore on advertising in 2018 to make individual viewing a habit instead of a fad, according to media buyers.
Advertising expenditure on mainline media is expected to be ₹250 crore, with an additional ₹50 crore to be spent on digital media this year collectively by the over-the-top (OTT) players, according to the estimates.
About 250 million Indians viewed videos online in 2017 and this number is expected to double to 500 million by 2020, according to a report by the lobby group Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci) released jointly with consulting firm EY.
“Advertising in the OTT category is witnessing a steady growth led by television as major players are trying to make video streaming a habit by drawing away viewers from television,” said Navin Khemka, chief executive, Mediacom South Asia.
Amazon Prime Video has been spending on advertising since its launch in December 2016. Its first fully integrated campaign ‘India ka naya prime time’ ran across television, digital and outdoor in February last year. The second campaign series, which is running now, features a young couple accessing the latest films and other content, emphasising the anywhere, anytime viewing proposition.
“Our advertising strategy has been to build brand awareness as well as to highlight content features offered by Amazon Prime Video. Anybody who is looking for a reliable and affordable digital streaming service becomes our customer and we remain heavily invested in the market both from content and marketing perspectives,” said Vijay Subramaniam, director, content, Amazon Prime Video India.
Prime Video not only show the latest films in Hindi, English and regional languages, but also offers television series, shows for children and a web series created by Amazon Studios, which it calls ‘Amazon Originals’. The company has so far created shows such as ‘Breathe’ featuring actor R. Madhavan and Comicstaan featuring stand-up comedians like Tanmay Bhat and Biswa Kalyan Rath.
A host of independent OTT players, including ALTBalaji, owned by Balaji Telefilms, Tata Sky Mobile, and JioTV, are also advertising on television to promote the habit of on-demand viewing.
“One of the advantages that telcos enjoy over other video streaming apps is that we have a massive physical infrastructure/ distribution that is available across the country. Our 15 lakh Airtel outlets are also informing subscribers about the app. We continue to innovate our content strategy,” said Sameer Batra, chief executive, Wynk, the content business of Bharti Airtel.
An earlier campaign of the Airtel TV app focused on viewers streaming reality shows, cricket matches and news on their smartphones. Airtel TV offers shows, movies and original content from 300 television channels as well as OTT players such as Hotstar, SonyLIV, HOOQ and Eros Now.
Meanwhile, video streaming platforms owned by broadcast networks such as Star India (Hotstar), Viacom 18 (Voot) and Sony Pictures Networks India (SonyLIV) tend to spend mostly on print, outdoor and digital.
“Apart from having their own loyal viewers, OTT players like Hotstar, Voot and Sony LIV are heavily promoted on the channels within their own network. Most of these players tend to spend advertising money on print and digital,” concurred Mediacom’s Khemka.
Netflix has declined to elaborate on its advertising plans in India.
It has taken to television, outdoor and social media platforms Twitter, Facebook and Instagram recently to promote its two India originals, Sacred Games and Ghoul featuring A-listers such as Saif Ali Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte.
Netflix has leveraged outdoor with its hard-to-miss metro train wraps, digital screens at malls, airports and corporate parks, as well as bus shelters and multiple hoardings across high visibility traffic stretches in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.
Viacom18 Media Pvt. Ltd owned OTT platform VOOT, which plans to launch 18 original Hindi and regional shows within the next six months, relies heavily on its own television channels and print to build awareness about digital content.
“It helps us reach millions of viewers who are watching our shows on television and create awareness about personalised viewing which VOOT offers. We also leverage print to further build awareness about new shows or exclusive digital. Display advertising and social media platforms help to connect with viewers and drive conversations further,” said Akash Banerji, head of marketing, partnerships and licensing, VOOT, the streaming service operated by Viacom18 Media Pvt Ltd.