Craig: Yes, I think the advantage for advertisers is that the OTT services are a lot more personalised and they can do a lot more targeting. Now, there is still a market for mass advertising. A lot of products that people buy don’t need to be targeted to an individual but when people do want to do premium advertising, something in particular to a certain customer, the OTT services are making that available. However, I think as we see the move to more Live OTT service, it’s got to be opened to advertisers because they are not going to be able to sustain especially when sports programmes are purchased for undeliverable price. I think OTT players will eventually have to bring in more revenue to sustain and they are going to start looking at ad commercial models.
Do you think Telcos are driving the OTT market?
Craig: Yes, I think we are talking to more and more Telcos because they are the pipe lines for these services but what we are observing is that Telcos are becoming the aggregators themselves. Telcos have the ability to bring these OTT services together and maybe offer them one platform. As they are sitting nearer to the neutral service, they can bring three or four different services on top of that and even offer search engines to actually find content.
Do you see OTT viewers looking for more local content compared to international?
Craig: Across all platforms throughout the region, local content is the biggest driver. I think a good example of this is the Australian market. The U.S. content used to be the biggest driver. They were all prime time programmes once upon a time. We are talking about six years ago where there were American dramas and sitcoms. Now, you do not find American sitcoms and dramas during the prime time. There’s a big drive for local content. There is also a move towards reality programming which has to be local reality formats, be it a talent programme or a cooking show, viewers want to see their own countrymen in such programmes. MasterChef, Voice, Got Talent and Idols are good examples. We also found that audience desire for reality programmes has propelled them to crave for local dramas. And several OTT providers are producing their own drama series. It works to attract viewers and free publicity from Facebook, blogs and social media.
Do advertisers prefer to be positioned close to local content?
Craig: Advertisers are very vocal but at the end of the day, as long as the new measures are going to add value to the return on investment, they are fine. They are not concern about the environment that they are into as long as they get the return on their investment through the commercials. They look at ratings of the programmes and even more so now with new platforms. It’s all about return on investment. They just want to know if that commercial drives people to buy their product. This is where a lot more is being done.
Who is driving the television market today from your perspective? Is it the OTT or pay-TV?
Craig: Sorry, it is the advertiser or the brand owners. The brand owners are sort of seated in the driver’s seat.