Akash Banerji

Head- Marketing & Partnerships Viacom18 Digital Ventures

As competition in the OTT markets increases, brands demand more and more from video & content marketing, from brand building metrics to performance marketing. How is Voot gearing up to face this challenge?

The OTT market has become a crowded space with many players launching video on demand services. In this competitive environment, it is imperative to constantly innovate and build a strong proposition to stand out and become a platform of choice.

  • MAVARiC: Being an ad supported platform, it is important for us to ensure that we enable brands to connect with their relevant audiences. For understanding audiences, uncovering insights and helping brands connect with their target group, we have built a  dedicated internal audience management platform called MAVARiC. We have built this platform using a mix of internal declared data, machine learning based inferred data and external data on internet viewership patterns outside Voot. This has helped us provide brands with unique propositions such as interest based targeting, retargeting and campaign optimization to drive click through rates. For eg: Using our MAVARiC platform, a car advertiser can target audience on Voot who are in the market to buy cars or target audience that has interacted with their car brand in the past.
  • Voot Studio: We have also established a dedicated Voot Studio for managing branded content initiatives. Voot Studio brings together creative storytellers, business strategists and salespersons to help craft a personalised, data driven and tailored experience for every brand that approaches us. Different advertisers require different solutions depending on their advertising objective and type of audience they are targeting. Therefore, the type of content partnerships that Voot offers can range from pure inventory to creating customized commercials, from  brand integrations to pure play branded content.
  • Programmatic Enabled: More and more brands are moving towards programmatic buying especially FMCG clients. Since we have to double down on interventions that are relevant, targeted and measurable to the advertisers via technology, VOOT is a fully programmatic enabled platform
  • Product Innovations: Being a digital platform, it is essential to transform not only the advertiser experience but also the product and tech experience. Our Progressive Web App launch was an industry first and won us the prestigious IBC Award for Content Distribution. We have recently  launched Google Watch Action, an industry first in APAC for premium OTT players. With this innovation, the Voot platform and  content discoverability has now become easier.

With all these interventions and innovations, we have brought together the best of content creation expertise, better targeting and measurement tools and easier discoverability of the platform.

OTT platforms are no longer just publishers but also content creators. As the market for Original digital only Content heats up, how is your digital content different from that on TV?

While content from the network across channels such as Colors, MTV, Colors Kannada, Nick etc is one of the main content pillars on Voot, we also have exclusive content on Voot that is not available on TV.

  • Exclusives: One of our unique content offerings  is Voot exclusives which is never seen on TV, behind the scenes content and extended cuts. This type of content is best suited to reality shows since there is  a lot of footage that is not able to make it to the limited TV slot. Voot is the house of top reality shows across MTV and Colors and Voot exclusives help amplify this reality content and fan the fandom surrounding these shows. Eg: on Bigg Boss, 46% of our viewership comes from Voot Exclusives. In addition to increasing engagement of our existing viewers, this additional content helps us attract TV only audience to digital who want to watch more of their favourite shows.
  • Voot Originals: Voot Originals are our digital only shows that are built for digital first audience and only available on Voot. This type of content allows us to experiment across different genres and formats. The Voot Originals slate has been developed using deep data-backed analysis of the interests and consumption patterns of our audience. We have recently announced a slate of 18 Originals with diverse genres ranging from comedy to thrillers. It’s Not That Simple, our latest Voot Original featuring the popular Swara Bhaskar is the one to go off the blocks.

What do you think is the formulae to become a consumer’s favourite brand? How should brands go about winning loyalty and consumer love?

In today’s digital age, brand building sees an onslaught from two big tectonic changes at the consumer front.

Firstly, my most favorite brand has got replaced with my most relevant product-  These days, consumers are less likely to have favourite brands, since “their favourite brand is going to be whatever Google tells them at that moment is going to match their exact needs. Hence the product’s ability to solve the most relevant consumer’s need has become critical. Personalization is not just a good thing to talk about. It is real, it is pertinent and it’s here waking up traditional brands from their deep slumber.

Secondly, if the quality of the product is good, half the battle is already won. A product’s reliance on advertising is diminishing. Case in point being Tesla that does no advertising and is built on the superior quality of its battery. Advertising has got replaced with Advocacy. How brands deliver on advocacy, positive word of mouth has a huge bearing on consumer’s decision making.

Thirdly, shifting priorities from advertising to experience- Loyalty is being defined and created by what the consumer experiences on the platform and off the platform and businesses are being called to respond to this by realizing that consumer has multiple touch points through which the interaction of the brand happens. Even if one fails, the propensity of the consumer to come back or go ahead with the purchase decision will get weakened. Even at Voot, we realize that the business of content consumption cannot be devoid from the experience of it. Technology in this case is the saviour.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean that pure play advertising is dead. The reality is that we are emotional beings and our decisions- what we buy, what we don’t, who we vote, who we don’t, would never be rational. Advertising that connects with us emotionally, makes us laugh, cry and delivers via a powerful story will be memorable that nudges the consumer to go the extra mil eon the purchase funnel. But advertising alone won’t be enough to help build or save your brand !

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