Singapore key market for Ooyala; Chennai will fuel APAC growth: Ramesh Srinivasan, Ooyala

In India, video content accounts for roughly 40% of all mobile-data traffic and the industry analysts expect the demand for over-the-top (OTT) videos to have a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 83% in the next five years. TV is changing dramatically, with several mega-trends at play. Viewers are increasingly getting their news and entertainment from a greater variety of devices. Advertising is evolving to follow suit, and video production is being pushed towards the cloud. Ooyala, a global video publishing, analytics and monetization company, recently expanded its India operations. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, the company has launched an office in Chennai owing to the region’s heavy pool of technical talent in the country and numerous universities and institutions in the tech community. Ramesh Srinivasan, CEO, Ooyala, in an exclusive interview with Techseen, talks about the increase in traction of OTT in India and emerging trends in video advertising and analytics. Excerpts:
Techseen: According to your report, in India, video content accounts for roughly 40% of all mobile-data traffic. Is there an increase in traction of OTT (over-the-top content) in India? How is it beneficial for marketers?
Srinivasan: Yes, there is increased traction of OTT in India. The online TV opportunity in India is set to expand significantly.
This is a significant opportunity for marketers as they should be looking towards mobile to reach more audiences. It also represents an enormous opportunity for broadcasters and publishers to capitalize on the revenue potential that mobile video represents. Especially, considering India is set to become the second largest smartphone market in the world in 2017.
Data will be key. Content providers need to understand how their audience is engaging with content on mobile and leverage the insight for more lucrative monetization strategies for every asset, ensuring they are getting the right return on investment.
Techseen: India recently moved past the United States as the second largest smartphone market globally after China. How is this smartphone outburst a trend changer in video advertising on tablets, smartphones and other mobile devices?
Srinivasan: The long time equation has been “advertising dollars go where the eyeballs are.” Increasingly, mobile devices — smartphones and tablets included — are the go-to devices for online viewing. Numbers from our Q1 Global Video Index showed that mobile video made up 48% of all video views in the quarter, up 14% from a year ago and up 129% from 2014. In India, a survey conducted by Vuclip, earlier this year, showed that 65% of video content is consumed on the mobile. This is significantly higher than developed markets across the globe. More audience on the mobile means, advertising dollars will follow. Further, programmatic is transforming the way video campaigns are delivered to the target audience. Setting aside the efficiency of automating the ad buy, programmatic introduces a slew of data-driven insights to personalize ads, making the experience more relevant to the viewer. It also opens up more inventories to more buyers, driving up demand into the marketplace, which leads to higher CPMs for publishers.
Techseen: Can you comment on the growing need for an ‘omnichannel’ strategy to effectively achieve marketing goals?
Srinivasan: Video publishers and broadcasters need to make their content available across as many devices as possible to reach the largest audiences they can. Ooyala recently launched its Ooyala AppStudio product that allows publishers and broadcasters to quickly and cost-effectively build and deploy premium OTT experiences. Using the tool, they can build apps for Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Chromecast as well as on iOS, Android and the web. No coding skills are required, drastically reducing time-to-market as well as development and personnel-associated costs. In doing so, publishers and broadcasters are able to offer more robust omnichannel solutions for marketers, and capitalize on the project $65 billion global OTT opportunity.
Techseen: How can we measure ROI in the current video advertising space? What tools does Ooyala use for the same?
Srinivasan: There are plenty of ways to measure ROI in the current video advertising space, such as ad completion or ad engagement. One specifically being viewability, measuring if whether or not an ad was, in fact, viewable to the viewer when it was served. But the standard of measurement is still a debated topic within the industry. Global industry organizations such as the MRC have outlined viewability guidelines in hope to set a standard in the industry, However, major ad buyers are bullishly setting guidelines of their own.
With the continued growth of digital advertising and adoption of programmatic, expect to see viewability continue to play a significant role in advertising measurement.
However, publishers and broadcasters are focused on maximizing their revenue with their advertising business. As such, Cost per Mille (CPMs) are a primary means to measure success as CPM rates directly translate into revenue — the higher the CPM, the more revenue you receive. Ooyala is focused on helping customers boost CPMs by inciting more demand for their content, providing a holistic ad platform where inventories, whether sold directly or programmatically, are managed simultaneously for more visibility and better ad decisioning between ad sales teams. Further, we deploy data-driven insight and strategic consulting to help inform the best advertising strategy for our customers so they recognize the highest yield across their entire video inventory.
Techseen: Also what fetches a higher ROI- ads or subscriptions?
Srinivasan: In terms of ROI, there’s no clear leader — only indicators that help inform content providers which business model is best for them, depending upon their content, target audience and business goals. From our Global Video Index, we found that SVOD (Streaming or Subscription Video on Demand) will likely work better if your audience is consuming content mainly through smartphones and mobile devices. When it comes to AVOD (Advertising Video on Demand), the opposite is true where the bulk of the audience consumption is on PCs. However, to capitalize on the benefits of varying business models, companies are beginning to deploy hybrid solutions that mix SVOD, AVOD and/or TVOD to reach as many potential customers in as many ways as possible.
Techseen: Are your ad solutions customizable and scalable for independent clients? Do you provide any definite templates for them to work on?
Srinivasan: Yes and yes. As for templates, it’s not a one-size fits all solution. We’re built to help manage, deliver and monetize some of the world’s largest video inventories and we work closely with customers to ensure our technology properly fits their needs and business goals. Further, unique to Ooyala, we are dedicated to delivering insights from our analytics, letting data inform monetization strategies and campaign planning. This is an important component to our platform and what our customers require to properly package, sell, monitor and built custom reports for large-scale campaigns.
Techseen: How is it important for content providers to keep personalization in mind and maintain a clear monetization strategy?
Srinivasan: Personalization is key to the future of online TV. Online experiences allow for one-to-one distribution, whereas traditional TV was beholden to one-to-many. As such, personalization will fuel greater monetization.
With advanced analytics, video experiences can be tailored to viewers based on their trending, preferential or contextual viewing environment – on what device, time of day, location, what they watched last, what others watched next, etc.
Ooyala Discovery is our content recommendation technology, which uses sophisticated, patented, discovery algorithms to provide personalized video recommendations that grow ad inventories and associated revenues, reduce subscriber churn and increase the reach of brand messaging to build long-term viewer engagement.
Techseen: Can you geo target down to the city and zip level, or target by device model? Do you allow your customers to customize the reports so they can extract the data they really want or are they limited only to the real-time reports?
Srinivasan: Absolutely! With Ooyala IQ, customers can pull multi-query requests all in real time. It allows them to drill down by device type — even by operating system — as well as country, state and city to see how their owned and operated sites are performing, as well as how their syndication partners are driving revenue for their video business. The granular analytics comes out of the box for all of our Ooyala IQ customers with a range of filters that are built into the solution. As for advertising reports, yes, Ooyala Pulse allows our customers to produce real-time, custom reports so they – and their buyers – are able to track and measure against specific goals, providing the metrics that sales teams and their clients care about most.
Techseen: How accurate is Ooyala IQ for deriving deep insights into each asset for an ad campaign? Can you cite an example to support your response?
Srinivasan: Customers can get insights that are telling to help build their brand and business. One example is Cronulla Sharks, a professional rugby team in Australia. It ran a campaign with the aim of building its fanbase outside of the Australia, but it needed insights to understand how its audience was engaging with its content, on what devices — and more importantly — where. It used our live streaming solution to broadcast a match live to more than 30,000 viewers. Our data showed them what devices viewers were using to watch the match, where are they based, and how long they watched the match. As a result, Cronulla Sharks was able to gain valuable insights about its fan base and build on that success with future campaigns.
Techseen: Can you give us any insight on your expansion plans in SEA and other regions? Apart from Singapore, do you have plans to set up more centers in SEA?
Srinivasan: Singapore is a key location for Ooyala in Asia-Pacific and it will continue to drive business development across the region. We also, just this year, opened a new office in Chennai, India. While serving as a major product development, services and support center for Ooyala, this new office in Chennai will help us further accelerate the rapid growth that we are experiencing in the Asia-Pacific region and be instrumental in expanding Ooyala’s global presence.

Abhinav Mohapatra

An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’ <!--more-->An author who has a keen interest for the ‘off-beat’, he has covered and explored multiple facets of the marketing, advertising

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