Connected TV or CTV may be seen as the future of advertising but it is still a relatively new phenomenon in Asia. A hyper-local approach that takes into account the differences of the individual markets in the region can tap the growth potential of CTV.

CTV, best defined as video content consumed on a TV screen but delivered via the internet, has been hailed the world over as the future of advertising.

Bringing together the best of both worlds, it combines the scale and attention achieved through traditional TV with the precision of digital.  

Although consumers have a new and increased need for premium video content, largely accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, CTV is still fairly nascent in Asia. According to Xandr’s CTV Guide, the newness of the format, concerns around brand safety, and lingering piracy contribute to slower adoption.

However, with developments in these areas underway, the Asian market is well placed to tap into the growth potential of CTV advertising. Given Asia’s composition of many countries in different stages of automation, device penetration and content, a hyper-local approach that plays to the nuances of the individual markets will be essential.

That approach includes broadening the global buzz around CTV to include broadcast quality content consumed on any device. In other words, talking about over-the-top (OTT) advertising opportunities defining video content delivered via the internet to any device, including connected televisions.

The promise of OTT

In Indonesia, for example, the potential is huge, driven by the third highest number of broadband subscriptions in the region, according to The Asia Video Industry Report 2021. Disney’s launch of Hotstar in the market last September shows that huge regional and global players are taking notice.

However, when placed alongside the likes of Viu, iflix and Netflix, content providers need to be wary of subscription fatigue. As a result, video-on-demand services that are powered by advertising and are, therefore, more cost-efficient for consumers, are expected to increase.

In Taiwan, an increasing amount of programming is delivered by broadband providers who carry OTT aggregators in a bid to provide value-added services alongside traditional broadcast content. This shows a recognition from traditional programmers that OTT channels are now part of consumers’ viewing choices.

Although nascent, there are big regional players like iQIYI and local OTT leader LiTV, recognising that the market is seeing increased cord cutting as consumers move to OTT to seek out new, relevant programming. Early participants that embrace advertising to these consumers, as they diversify their content consumption, will gain advantageous outcomes.

Vietnam also presents an exciting opportunity as it is one of the fastest-growing markets in Asia for viewing online television. The country also has the highest amount of SMART TV ownership as a percentage of internet users in Asia.1 This is a market ready and waiting for enhanced advertising experiences. We should brace for a future fuelled by the synergy between content owners and OTT providers.

Possible pitfalls for advertisers

As the CTV advertising opportunity increasingly becomes a reality across Asia, advertisers will need to carefully assess the content they appear on and make sure they are working with well-known, reliable content providers.

To do so, they should take the following steps.

  1. Identify the best sources of in-market scale for campaigns and lean on the partners which can best plug into it.
  2. Become familiar with the technologies, formats and key considerations, to best arm themselves to make impact. Choose a demand-side platform (DSP) that can offer the shortest path to market and allow the creation of audience segments using a variety of first-party data while supporting the widest range of measurement options.
  3. Plan and buy campaigns with technology vendors that have direct relationships with customers. Publishers that boast their own distribution platforms, coupled with audience authentication requirements, are able to gather a large array of identity signals from viewers.

As well as learning from mistakes of digital display’s past (one filled with backlash of privacy concerns), we have an opportunity as an industry to make OTT advertising incredible in Asia.

This mindset has been reflected from the start as the industry continues to prioritise brand safety, privacy and transparency in order to provide CTV ad buyers and sellers with the direct, trustful relationships they need to avoid facing similar challenges.

Furthermore, solutions that address consumer attention across all channels, verticals and devices are already in development. This ensures inventory supply, measurement and marketing strategies evolve together to create better advertising experiences for users and better communication opportunities for brands.


1. GlobalWebIndex, Q1 2015-2020, % of internet users ages 16-64