CTV is by far the most premium device for OTT viewing: Prabhvir Sahmey

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Launched in India in March 2021, Samsung Ads India, the advertising division of Samsung Electronics, has strengthened its base in the Indian market. In over a year, Samsung Ads has become a leading provider of advanced TV ad inventory powered by the world’s largest source of TV data. It delivers an Internet-based TV experience to consumers with instant access to a wide range of exciting, premium content across news, sports, music, movies, entertainment and more. Users in India can now access 45 free live TV channels including 38 global channels and 7 Indian channels such as 9XM, FashionTV, Tennis Channel, 9X Jalwa, The Pet Collective with the list of channels increasing every month. Advertisers in India now have programmatic access to Samsung’s exclusive Connected TV (CTV) inventory on Samsung’s premium ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) service.

In February 2022, Samsung Ads selected Magnite to power OTT and CTV programmatic inventory for Samsung TV Plus in India.

In April this year, Samsung Ads introduced its proprietary Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology in India. ACR technology captures everything that happens on the glass and gives consumers a more personalized content discovery experience on millions of Samsung Smart TVs.

In September 2022, Samsung Ads expanded the team with three hires. Abhinav Dhimam joined as Head of Analytics and Information; Sahil Nanda joined as Head of Client Solutions; while Bushra Ansari joined as head of finance and business operations.

In conversation with Adgully, Prabhvir Sahmey, Senior Director India and Southeast Asia, Samsung Adstalks about the growing adoption of Connected TV in India and how advertisers can tap into this growing opportunity, how the advent of 5G can change the Connected TV advertising space, and more.

What type of advertising solutions does Samsung Ads offer advertisers in India?

Since its launch in 2021, we have increased the number of addressable Samsung Smart TVs in the region by several million and expanded our offering in the market to Automatic Content Recognition (ACR), which is our own proprietary technology. ACR data – which is completely anonymized – helps us understand the type of content consumed on our devices, which helps us provide “smart” recommendations to users to find more content that is most relevant to them. It is also useful for advertisers to understand CTV audience information to plan and enable better targeting and measurement.

What are the advantages of advertising on connected TV?

Audiences are looking for the best content on offer, and Samsung Ads offers advertisers the opportunity to reach highly engaged viewers and have a big impact on their ad spend. Advertisers and D2C brands across all industries including automotive, BFSI, beauty and media entertainment can open up the opportunity to provide the perfect environment for brands to combine the big screen, high-end experience quality of TV ads with the targeting precision and measurability already seen in digital advertising.

How important is connected TV in advertisers’ media mix?

CTV offers advertisers the opportunity to reach highly engaged viewers and have a significant impact on their ad spend. Just like in the rest of our lives, there is a balance to be found. Marketers are drawn to TV because of the size, scale, and reach of its device, as well as because it’s a “brand-safe” trusted environment. And now, for the first time, it is possible to measure the impact of a campaign on connected devices. And with audience insights, we can see which audiences have potentially been missed by targeting only linear or other platforms, and design a strategy to achieve additional reach for brands. In India, we partnered with Kantar to provide brand insights for campaigns running on the Samsung TV Network; make TV more measurable like digital for upper funnel metrics. We also offer “incremental reach” over linear ads. Make the TV investment more efficient to reach the right focus.

Telecom operators have started announcing the launch of 5G in the country. How do you see this changing the advertising space of connected TV?

5G will enable a more premium internet service – and, therefore, streaming experience – for mobile phone users in India. But CTV is by far the most premium device for OTT viewing, as audiences prefer a bigger screen and quality content. Mobile might be good for a quick snack, but for the whole “meal” TV is the preferred option.

How big is the CTV market in India and how do you see it growing in the coming year?

The CTV market in India is growing exponentially as more and more people have stronger internet access and are upgrading TVs to Smart and Connected TVs. While India’s connected TV market is still relatively young compared to other markets, the current growth rate means it’s hard for advertisers and brands to ignore. Access to audience insights will be key to accelerating CTV growth and will require partnering with manufacturers like Samsung who can provide first-party data to advertisers.

There are millions of Samsung CTVs installed in Indian homes and they will become a fantastic source of audience data. This means we can work with advertisers to position content and brands within the organic TV viewing experience, based on data-driven insights. Planning against actual behaviors will allow advertisers to achieve better profitability and manage fragmentation across CTV.

What are the challenges Samsung Ads is currently facing in the Indian market?

With change comes opportunity, and a common question we get is where to start and how to validate results. One of the easiest use cases for CTV is the potential for increased reach – due to CTV’s fragmented audience landscape, there will always be hard-to-reach audiences. So having these ideas is crucial. There is also still some confusion between OTT and OEM, but I think this can easily be resolved through education and as the market matures. The bottom line is that audiences are ready for CTV – and the opportunity is there, ready for those who want to seize it.

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