Mumbai: Anil Wanvari in conversation with Sonam Pradhan on Connected TV and its reach. Why marketers are gung-ho about connected TV?
On having a Connected TV at home
Not a conscious decision it was probably an evolution that happened during the corona days and I just never realized it but we switched over to the connected TVs and since then we've never turned back
Connected TV in small towns
When it comes to towns that have deep penetration of smart TVs of the internet, it will be something that will be visible now in Mahindra; we do a lot of visits to different dealerships in different towns. We get to meet a lot of customers over there and what we get to see is that people are aware, people have Smart TVs but I think the question there is not about having Smart TVs or having the apps that are there, they use those apps on their mobile phones. Over there the bigger question is the internet penetration and what is the rate of internet connectivity that they use for the data cost becomes a major factor.
Excited as a marketer about CTV
Today I can watch whatever content whenever I want to. I think that gives me a lot of empowerment in terms of being a viewer, in terms of knowing exactly what I want and the decision instead of how regularly we used to watching TV and had to wait for an appointment viewing for a certain channel for a certain program but with connected TVs and the way it has been growing I think the growth has just been phenomenal.
Infrastructure, if it is supported can penetrate the remotest places as well so very quickly we will see that all TVs are technically converted into Smart TVs anyways as mobile penetration is so high that it's only a matter of fact to move the viewer from the mobile handset onto a bigger screen
How do you see CTV from a marketer’s point of view?
When it comes to Connected TV I'm not reaching one individual I'm reaching a household and in that household, I'm assuming there are at least four people tuned in and co-viewing whatever content has been presented.
So for me, it is very critical to be present in that household and reach out to four people at the same time and when I talk about households I'm talking about households that have a certain propensity to buy products and those are exactly the kind of houses where I want to be seen and therefore connected TVs going forward is going to be a major medium for me.
On market studies and lessons learnt
We had recently partnered with the leading football tournament that
happened and when we saw to it that there were certain places where connected TV reach had helped us in terms of brand recall, all of this tells us that this is the medium that's going to be pivotal for the growth of the EV category and therefore definitely, connected TVs are going to be something that's going to be a part of our plans going forward
I will leave that question for the agencies to answer but we have received much
more than the buck that we are invested in, if I may put it whatever is
going to be our ratio and skew for going forward on our plans connected TVs is going to be a conscious decision where we would increase our spending.
On investing in the sports category
I'll take a step back when I mentioned being partners with the leading football property the reason we partnered with it is that we needed to create an impact with the kind of products that we were launching during that time. It’s not that we have only taken the sports property we have consciously taken other entertainment as well.
There have been other OTT players also with whom we have partnered where we've taken a combination of different packages whether it's an impact property such as a reality show or some fiction properties as well with sports being the leading investment that we make for us in terms of our product category.
Sports play a major role because they become our launch platform whether it is a new product whether it is a refresh of a product. Sports have the highest reach when it comes to this kind of platform but efficiencies also come into play and that's where we end up with a package when it is fictional shows and reality shows so therefore not restricting us in terms of context.
On IPL 2023
I think when I have to say about IPL any kid who's a three-year-old to an 80-year-old I think everybody gets excited about it, whether you're a male or a female whether you are interested in cricket or not interested in cricket you are still excited about IPL.
IPL for us Indians has become more of a festival of celebration of sorts. It brings people together, it creates some kind of a discussion point whether it's in school, whether it's an office, whether it's even the local market where you meet up with your neighbour probably everybody has an opinion and India as a country loves cricket and loves having a discussion. So I think for us when it comes to a consumer IPL is going to be the next big thing for the next two months and as a marketer IPL is one of the biggest platforms that I have in the year where I will be able to showcase some of the best products that I have so as a marketer.
I will say that IPL is one of the most exciting times that I am looking forward to currently with the given situation where we have a different digital partner and a different TV broadcast partner. Both of them seem to be making absolute waves when it comes to spreading the news about how IPL is going to reach maximum audiences. As a marketer I have to look at it with an unbiased opinion IPL is going to be the next big thing and consciously we'll look forward to investing money.
On automobile as a category
I think for us to stand out I don't have to make a conscious effort our products have been speaking for themselves and if I may say the kind of demand that we have been having post-Corona and the time the kind of bookings that we've got in our pipeline that speaks for itself it's been every month and month we've been breaking our records and we have surpassed whatever were the expectations of the previous year as well so I don't have to make a conscious effort to stand out in terms of media. The product itself is something that sells in terms of media I need to be present where my audience is and I think that is the kind of decision and that is the kind of platform that I need to be wary of when I make my media planning decisions.
On media innovations
My need is not innovation my need is more to be consistent and also to be
available, to be seen when it comes to new launches so for me those are the
more critical parts. I don't need to have anything that is screaming on top of the rooftop because that currently is not my stance I'm already a market leader when it comes to SUVs.
How are you going to maximise your spending this year?
Those are points that we are currently and it is all how I and when the marketing plan tells me that whenever the products are ready for certain kinds of big announcements and all are there and that is what will determine which media strategy I use. So currently as I said we are still evaluating it and we will get back to you with a few announcements very quickly.
On investing in high-decibel property
I will play both ways if I may see it's not critical for me as a brand to be seen
at places where maximum noise is made as I said I'm already a leader for me it's more to be seen in the right places. Maximum noise is more critical for the ones who are not leaders and for them it becomes critical.
For me, the more important point is to have my brand seen at places in the right zone of my customers last year when we were present on IPL we launched it with Scorpio and we had Amitabh Bachchan as the leading voice of the brand so when there are certain things which have a certain stature they have to be seen in places where it is probably equal to them in such and therefore IPL was the best choice of platform.
We had to launch the commercial so if there is a certain opportunity that matches the kind of communication and the product that I have then that is the choice that we make. Otherwise, I don't need to be screaming out of rooftops so therefore answering the question is not critical for me to be seen in places to please the audience it is critical for me to place my brand in such places where the audience is ready to accept the product.
On where do you Connect TV v/s Linear TV v/s Free TV
As a closing note, I would want to stress at this point that it does not matter which platform I see, for me content is more important and therefore when it comes to Connected TVs I think probably next year if we are having a conversation during the same time we would not even consider this question because by then connected TVs would have far bypassed linear TV.
Currently, we know for a fact that SD households on itself is at a declining growth rate and therefore connected TV is going to be one of the next biggest mediums and connected TV is going to scale up in terms of IPL.
I think every year we have seen a great number of new consumers coming in the reach going much higher and I think I must consciously make a call of mentioning the women's IPL that is happening this year. I think for the first time let's give due credit to the Women's IPL also we've got some great players over there as well and it's going to be a great fun filling March as well because we are going to have a Women's IPL followed by the Men's IPL. I think therefore we're going to see
some great Cricket happening on television and digitally.