OTT players spend a lot on marketing, but does that translate into a return on investment?


The race to the top in India’s video streaming market is intensifying like never before amid the pandemic and gamers are spending huge amounts of money promoting themselves and their shows. But what impact do these promotional activities really have on audience base? The answer may be open-ended, experts say.

According to a Ficci-EY report, video streaming services are expected to spend around Rs 1,920 crore to create original content for India in 2021. This is a 17% increase from the 1,400 crore of Rs spent in 2019. With over 50 players, the OTT video market is booming with original content.

While international players such as Netflix have been at the forefront of attracting Indian viewers with Indian content, many local players from the television world are experimenting with content to attract viewers.

In March, Netflix announced nearly 41 titles for the Indian market. He announced that Mumbai will soon have the world’s first fully Netflix-owned full-service post-production facility. According to reports, the Indian OTT audience universe stands at 353.2 million with a penetration rate of 25%.

The growth in OTT consumption, supported by the Covid-19 pandemic, has led gamers to spend massive amounts of money advertising and marketing their properties. Recently Netflix has had a slew of promotional stunts ranging from branded content, advertising, field activations for Season 5 of Money Heist. Likewise, Amazon Prime Video heavily promoted the movie Shershaah across all platforms.

AK vs AK, an original Netflix title, has been watched in 40 countries and dubbed in 40 languages. Promotions for the film conceptualized by The Rabbit Hole explored multi-channel platforms ranging from social media jokes, three movie trailers, at least two branded content, and a strong presence on OOH in malls, highways, airports, etc. According to the agency, they managed to create an 80% positive sentiment around the campaign.

While such promotions can be successful in attracting attention, what do they focus on and succeed in adding new viewers to the platforms?

One argument is that while the promotions are in full swing for these shows, people are watching content on streaming platforms for several other reasons such as word of mouth, content, etc.

For example, last year Scam 1992 became one of the most watched shows in India. If you compare it to Netflix or Amazon, SonyLiv hasn’t promoted it to the same scale. In such a scenario, does spending so much money make sense?

Darshan bhatt

Darshan Bhatt, managing partner of Small Batch Media, said the noise Netflix created for two shows, Lucifer and Money Heist, has significantly contributed to the number of households with access to Netflix. He said a lot of the success for Aashram, which aired on MX Player, came from the publicity they did. “A large number of shows that are announced today have an audience of 20 to 30%. “

Devendra Deshpande

According to Devendra Deshpande, Head-Business and Growth at Friday Filmworks, OTT shows have two aspects: ???? push content and extract content. Push content is high quality, low budget content; it is to engage you but it will be necessary to push you. On the flip side, pulling content is something you see and intrigue you.

“Money Heist has been promoted so much, but people like me who still haven’t watched the show are intrigued; and he jumped on my watch list. As soon as you start to create a buzz, people will see what it is; the ratio could be 40:60. Second, it is subjective for the platforms. All of them come with different ticket sizes, which makes the scope of a particular show very different. It may depend on factors such as other smaller markets. When you look at the subscriber base it varies from Netflix to Prime Video to Disney. It depends on the properties as well as the size of the tickets. he said.

Deshpande said that while there are some unique projects like Scam 1992 and Kota Factory, which have performed well despite poor promotions, there are about a hundred others that have failed because they were not promoted to. a large scale. New-age streaming platforms see marketing in a very different light. Yes, promotions work, but they need to be sustained and the power of the content needs to be right.

Speaking to, a leading OTT player said their strategy has been quite successful in translating into ROI. “Our marketing aimed to create a lot of intrigues around our content. Our job is to fuel the fandom and give them something they can talk about. Every business has its budgets and marketing strategies, the titles it wants to look for. Ultimately, the content has to work, ????? they said.

“If a certain campaign didn’t reach you, maybe it wasn’t for you. Marketing campaigns are also getting very unique and creative in their design, but I think the goal is always to make sure you spark conversations. they added.

Pratik Gupta

Zoo Media and FoxyMoron co-founder Pratik Gupta said you can’t look at OTT marketing like traditional movie marketing, where they say it’s a movie, come watch it. ???? For me, marketing has two ROIs. One is acquiring new customers and it can happen because so many people are talking about it that everyone would want to jump on the bandwagon. The second is that it also allows someone like Netflix to come back to me, who is a Netflix subscriber, and say it’s new, why don’t you watch it.

He said that while platforms spend a lot to acquire particular content, they need to justify it by getting their existing or newer customers to watch the show. You pay almost Rs 700 on average per month and 10,000 per year in exchange. They have to market from both sides. Much of the promotion of the franchise is done to create intrigue.

Shrenik Gandhi

According to Shrenik Gandhi, co-founder and CEO of White Rivers Media, “? There is no doubt that good campaigns, when amplified by big budgets, certainly help to catch the eye. It is not a cost per view. It is about collective perception. Collective perception becomes a collective reality. And hence, spending good budgets on your key campaigns makes sense. Creativity is at the heart of any marketing campaign and budgets help us deliver it to the right audience, at the right time and in the right place, ensuring relevance and consideration.

Gandhi gave the example of Ghoul, where Netflix superimposed the bloody and mysterious Ghoul â ???? symbolâ ???? on Sacred Gamesâ ???? OOH sites, social media posts and managed to tease the show as the disruptive creative stunt was discussed by many for bringing up just enough suspense to get excited about the show.

However, he said there were a lot of the industry’s first clutter-breaking and marketing campaigns conceptualized and executed for Scam 1992. “When it comes to content and big budgets; big budgets are always secondary. They act like the icing on the cake, but they cannot replace the cake, that is, the content, and the product will always be the most important prerequisite for success. â ???? Scam 1992â ???? is a perfect example of this shift in Indian entertainment consumption behavior, â € “ he stated.

Bhatt explained that for different OTT the goals are different. “To get app downloads you have to convince people that there is this show on our platform that you might like, the idea is that the platform needs your engagement. For specific OTT platforms, it is possible to access specific data such as subscribers who want to watch a similar show that they have already watched; which allows them not to spend a lot of money because they already know who will prefer to watch their show and their target audience.

He said a platform like SonyLiv offers 15-20 original shows. Since this is a broadcaster that has ventured into OTT, they can still rely on the content being broadcast. Bhatt said that many platforms that have had one or two successful shows don’t have enough content to support audiences. “Many times the top management of platforms that are traditional broadcasters decide that it is not necessary for them to create a buzz because it does not justify the return on investment. “

“There is a reason why American companies have completely conquered the Indian market; many seniors in our industry do not understand the art of consumer retention. The campaign isn’t meant to get people to watch the show and leave, the idea is to build consumer loyalty, â € “ he added.

On the other hand, Gandhi said, localized players, with their growing original library and catch-up TV offering, are attracting more subscribers. Advertising is essential not only to build loyalty, but rather to reach new audiences. This is not directly proportional to the size of the content library, but rather to the relevance of the content.

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