Digital video is exploding in APAC: in recent years OTT avails in countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Vietnam have been accelerating rapidly.  According to a recent HBR study, Asian users are spending twice as much time on their phones compared to their American counterparts, which opens up lots of opportunity for brands to engage with users in new environments. A lot of this time is spent engaging with on-demand video.

While on-demand video is supported by subscription models in other territories (Subscription Video On-Demand leader Netflix makes 80% of its revenue from the US), APAC is leading the charge in advertising-supported video. Case in point: ad-supported Youtube’s international users make up 80% of its viewerbase. This demonstrates that convergence between TV and digital is getting closer in APAC, but are we there yet?

PROGRESS

There’s no question Australia leads the region in terms of OTT maturity, with self-serve platforms like Nine’s 9Voyager opening up video advertising to SMEs in 2019.

But Asian markets have made huge leaps forward in market maturity in  recent years too.

Vietnam, for example, now has the highest amount of connected TVs in Asia showing a market ready and waiting for connected advertising experiences.

Triggered by Reliance Jio’s launch in 2016, India is now the second largest consumer of data in the world, according to Mary Meeker’s 2019 report. This IPL season it’s possible for an Indian user to watch a cricket match on the Hotstar platform while they order food via an integrated app: another step towards true convergence.

MARKET MAKERS

As consumers ramp up usage and publishers scale, marketers need commercial structures that work across both TV and digital. In Japan TVer enables broadcasters to start to sell combined packages of TV and digital, a trend we expect to see in the rest of Asia soon. 

Japan also made a change to its legislation in early 2019 to allow national broadcaster NHK to start livestreaming most of their content, in parallel to linear display. If broadcasters in the rest of Asia follow suit, this will increase not just connected TV supply, but all connected devices.

As users spend more time on OTT, the availability of opportunities to reach them grows. The growth in supply eases the competition from a demand perspective, and rationalizes the price of impressions. This addresses some of the concerns around the pricing of digital TV impressions. There has been an industry perception that digital TV pricing was at times prohibitive in the early days of digital adoption. 

Now, with digitalisation enabling specific audience, inventory and  hyper-local geo targeting, the dynamics of price and value have evolved. To accelerate this development of the TV landscape, we need measurement and metrics that make sense for a converged landscape.  

MEASUREMENT 

Buying on TV has always been GRP-focussed, which is by nature an approximate, panel-driven metric. Digital viewability and completion rates are by contrast specific accurate technologies of measurement. 

In Australia VOZ, a deduped ID launched by OzTam in conjunction with Nielsen in 2019, aims to provide deduped targeting data across linear and online TV viewing for 7m connected devices. An equivalent means to approach frequency and reach in Asia would accelerate development.

Broadcasters are already advancing measurement in this direction in Asia: Indian broadcaster Star Media invested in Zapr Media Labs in 2017 to drive measurement by region, by language and many other parameters beyond. Additional data points like unique devices in the market could also be a starting point for a new approach to measurement. We need further development in this area to support true connectivity across all channels.

THE FUTURE

Ultimately terrestrial TV inventory is finite and declining: consumers are as engaged with content as ever, but are increasingly accessing it at a time and on a device that suits them. Asian broadcasters need to enable planning on newer CTV and OTT platforms to thrive in this new converged landscape.

Telcos also have a huge opportunity to grow this space: Astro in Malaysia and Starhub in Singapore are ones to watch for their converged approach to entertainment in the region.

Ultimately, marketers will need solutions that address consumer attention across all channels, all verticals and all devices. We as an industry need to work together to ensure inventory supply, measurement and marketing strategies evolve together to create better advertising experiences for  users and better communication opportunities for brands.

This piece was written by IAB Southeast Asia and India (IAB SEA+India) Programmatic Committee members Eimear O’Rourke, Account Director, Global Accounts at AppNexus, a Xandr company, and Gary Foo, Performance Director at dentsu X.