Ad volumes on Indian TV grew 98% between January and May 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, a new report finds, and it was overwhelmingly driven by OTT platforms.

The country’s two-month lockdown as a result of the coronavirus pandemic hit most advertising media hard, in particular out of home, cinemas and print. But it appears OTT platforms switched a large chunk of their spend to TV, according to a report from TAM AdEx.

Volumes were up, but so too were the number of OTT platforms advertising, up from 24 to 41 compared to the previous year, Exchange4Media reported.

Other reasons for the boost, besides the lack of choice of other media, experts say, was the increased time spent on digital during the lockdown and the lack of original content on TV.

“Given the lockdown, the time spent on digital has increased,” Rachana Monteiro, General Manager, MediaCom, told Exchange4Media. “Smartphone usage is up by 10% over pre-COVID time. Time spent on movies via smartphone grew by 48% and originals by 69%.

“Hence, the increased advertising of OTT. Given that this is the time they can bring in new users, they have begun advertising,” Monteiro added.

Kishan Kumar Shyamalan, Vice President, Wavemaker India, said: “OTTs did both platform advertising and title advertising, and the combination led to this incremental spend.

“There was a need to stay on top of mind and hence platform advertising,” he said.

And he added that he saw the pattern of ad spend continuing for a while as OTTs are still not habitual viewing for the vast majority of potential viewers. Titles were still driving demand, he explained, as loyalty to platforms hasn’t kicked in yet.

“OTT libraries still have to be exposed to large numbers of viewers,” he said. “Moreover, the battle has now moved to regional, where national and regional players will lock horns.”

Many broadcast and film houses have OTT interests and so will continue advertising, he believes.

According to the report, the top five OTT platforms advertising during the period were Disney+Hotstar, which launched in March. Others were Amazon Prime Video, followed by Zee5, Voot App and Hotstar.

Sourced from Exchange4Media