Advanced TV in Asia Pacific: Iflix, The Trade Desk and RTL Adconnect on what advertisers need to know

Across South East Asia, CTV requests has increased 657% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019.

Advanced TV has taken off in the Asia Pacific, especially in Australia and New Zealand, because of investments in addressable TV, connected TV (CTV), programmatic TV, TV Everywhere and broadcast video on demand (BVOD) by the region’s largest broadcasters.

CTV has become the primary platform where audiences watch BVOD content, Kevin Smyth, general manager of South East Asia at Telaria, tells The Drum as the platform is currently working with all of the major broadcasters in the region.

For example, in 2018, it partnered with Seven Network in Australia to make live premium sports video supply directly available to programmatic buyers.

“Live sports programs are considered one of the last barriers to cutting the cord, but with live TV now available on OTT, cordless viewing is at an all-time high. We enabled programmatic advertisers to access OTT ad spots for the Australian Open, the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Winter Games and the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games,” he explains.

“The Australian Open partnership resulted in 256% year-over-year revenue growth around the event. Essential to our success is the emphasis we put on quality and transparency across our platform.”

He adds: “In addition to being the only video monetization platform certified by a big four consulting firm to be 100% fee transparent, we provide brands and agencies with bidding insights to inform them that auctions are operating in a fair, clean and transparent manner.”

Telaria does this by working with Media Rating Council accredited and third-party verification partners like White Ops and Pixalate to ensure buyers are protected from fraudulent inventory. Smyth says all of these steps are necessary to build buyer trust and to propel the programmatic TV ecosystem forward.

Across South East Asia, the platform has seen CTV requests increased 657% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019, in line with an IAB study that indicated a 466% increase in CTV content streams between October 2018 and January 2016.

Broadcasters like Singapore-based Mediacorp have recently announced a partnership with Xaxis that will see the GroupM programmatic arm provide CTV inventory on the broadcaster’s OTT platform Toggle’s Smart TV App, allowing clients to run brand-safe video ads that are 100% viewable.

BVOD is also popular with broadcasters in Thailand, while advanced and programmatic TV is growing fast as there is plenty of OTT video streaming platforms similar to Netflix. These platforms differentiate themselves on content like Thai dramas, movies, Asian content and western content.

“Demand for CTV and OTT in South East Asia is growing rapidly and in the last year we’ve become the preferred video management platform for Malaysia’s Astro, Vietnam’s FPT Television and Thailand’s True Digital, and we expect that we will continue to work with high-quality broadcasters,” explains Smyth.

Bihao Pan, the director of inventory partnerships for South East Asia at The Trade Desk (TTD) tells The Drum in Vietnam, the platform has started work with FPT’s pay-tv product.

He adds that in the Philippines, there are more than 20 TV stations but ABS-CBN and GMA Network are the main players as ABS-CBN leads the TV space by a huge margin and sells their OTT supply programmatically.

Pan also points out that in Japan, partnership is key for main players. TVer is a joint venture across Japan’s top five TV stations Fuji TV, TV Asahi, TBS, Nippon TV Network and TV Tokyo, while Abema TV is partnered with TV Asahi and Cyberagent joint company.

Meanwhile, in South Korea, SK Broadband owns Oksusu and Pooq is a joint venture across major local broadcasters MBC, SBS and KBS.

“In Singapore, Singtel is the main CTV player, while in Indonesia, Emtek and MNC Group have the largest TV portfolio between the two of them. OTT Video players there have a head start over the traditional pay-tv vendor. For India, Hotstar, VOOT, Zee5 and Sony Liv dominate the scene,” Pan explains.

“For China, Viu TV and TVB’s myTV Super are the main players in Hong Kong. The latter’s set-top-box has already achieved over 50% market penetration in Hong Kong. In nearby Taiwan, iQiyi Taiwan and LiTV and LineTV are active, with iQiyi Taiwan taking the lion share of premium VOD market.”

Pan notes that Mainland China has the most hotly contested advanced TV markets in the region due to its large number of video viewers, with Baidu’s iQiyi, Tencent Video and Alibaba’s Youku fighting for a slice of the pie.

He says nearly 229m people in the country will use a subscription OTT video service in 2019, and the three aforementioned players will each hold approximately 60% share of subscription OTT video service users.

TTD is currently working with iQiyi and Youku, as part of a partnership to create access to inventory across display, mobile, video, and native advertising. In Hong Kong, it is working with myTVSuper.

New TV

Malaysia-based OTT platform Iflix was set up to focus on emerging markets in APAC and is available in a wide variety of languages including Khmer, Burmese, Arabic, Urdu, Nepali, Bengali and Sinhalese.

Charles Less, the head of regional ad sales at Iflix says the era of traditional TV is over in emerging markets in APAC as more people have smartphones and data connections, and they have come to expect premium personalised entertainment on their mobile devices, on their time. This means their attention has been commodified.

“Our challenge now is to help transition traditional TV advertisers to ‘the new TV’, like Iflix, that brings together the best of the old like linear channels and live programming, with the best of the new (like on-demand programming and data-driven personalisation), to truly deliver in the digital world,” he tells The Drum.

Iflix does this by using streaming intelligence to test innovative new ad products that deliver more effective brand messages to the right audiences. It offers direct and programmatic buying through recognised and trusted platforms, offering contextual targeting and viewability, without compromising the content viewing experience for its audience.

However, Less admits that programmatic technology on streaming services like Iflix is relatively new in emerging markets APAC and education remains a constant focus for its sales teams in all markets.

“While progressive brands that have already integrated Iflix into their campaigns have been able to drive reach, improve efficiency and engage with the highly-coveted millennial demographic, we still have an opportunity to further educate advertisers and promote transactions across various trading desks and showcase the beauty of the hybrid model between television and digital,” he adds.

Gavin Buxton, the managing director for APAC at SpotX, notes that Iflix adopted freemium models supported by the launch of ad placements, with free to air being the historic main access point.

“Consumers in the region are more price sensitive to pure subscription models but also understand the value exchange with ad-supported content,” he tells The Drum.

“SEA is seeing huge growth in video screen time, which is being led by mobile screens as the primary access point. Smart TVs and connected boxes are additionally on the rise but taking time for legacy connected boxes and TVs to be replaced by digitally enabled versions that allow for digital ad enablement.”

He adds: “For Asia, with consumer trends being mobile-led, our preference on this is returning back to OTT definition - being premium broadcast (delivery, linear, live, VOD) across all screens (mobile, desktop, CTV) outside the legacy/traditional broadcast delivery. Programmatic TV is then the ability to target consumers within OTT environments.”

What can advertisers learn from TV about speaking to global audiences on an intimate and local level?

As there are lots of discrepancies in terms of media consumption across the world, Stephane Coruble, the managing director at RTL AdConnect, the international ad sales house of RTL Group, advertisers and TV producers must be aware of behaviours on a very local level to adjust their strategies accordingly.

He points out the average Total Video Day (TVD), which is the daily viewing time for live TV, tablet, mobile and online video, varies hugely – even within different countries in the same continent.

For example, while the average TVD in Europe is 4h and eight minutes, in Hungary, the daily TV viewing time goes up to 4h 40m, when it is 2h 36m in the Netherlands and 3h 37m in Denmark, 3h 48m in Spain and 3h 36m in France.

Meanwhile, the average TVD in APAC is 2h 25m, but Japan watches nearly five hours.

This means that most people do not watch TV or listen to the radio or watch online video at the same time in all these regions. Mobile screens penetration is also very different from one country to the other.

“Bear in mind that perception is not the reality when it comes to media usage and consumption behaviours,” he explains. “TV is not only about viewing minutes, but it’s also about the content. People are very attached to daily news, entertainment shows or series. And again, these preferences depend on the cultural specifics of each country.”

“Apart from having 24 different languages in 27 countries, all Europeans have different tastes and this is also true in the programme genres consumed in the different market and content diversity is a key element of success in Europe.”

He adds: “Where Belgian are uniting themselves around the sacred rendezvous of the news around 7pm just like the Dutch, the French are fond of entertainment, in Spain the genre is driven by series lovers.”

Coruble explains social video is no exception because what works in long-form content is also works in short-form as top genres in online video content vary from one country to another.

For example in France it is animal and pets content, in Japan, it’s family and parenting, and business in the US.

“So what we mean by all that is: broadcasters are adapting to the new media usage, and they’re taking into account the demand for local content and the on-demand behaviours through the creation of BVOD platforms,” he explains.

“What advertisers can learn from all this is to adapt to your audience, don’t do global campaigns, do local campaigns with partners that will take into account the subtleties and differences within their audiences whether we talk about age and target groups or about more macro trends like country viewing behaviours.”

The Drum will hold the first-ever Programmatic Punch APAC on October 3 in The Pavilion at Far East Square in Singapore. This one-day event is essential for anyone working in digital advertising, sharing practical insights into the latest developments in programmatic trading, including advanced TV.

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.

Come on in, it’s free.

This isn’t a paywall. It’s a freewall. We don’t want to get in the way of what you came here for, so this will only take a few seconds.