Krishnan, Whisper Media CEO and Director in India, outlines that the biggest challenge right now is to get more marketers to realise the value of ICA in advertising
No one really likes to be interrupted, especially when one is engrossed in a piece of content. At times, suddenly unwanted ads start popping up, leading to distraction. This is the reason why brands are extensively investing in creating no-interrupting advertising for the modern viewers – whose attention span is lower and the need for instant gratification is higher. In-content advertising (ICA) is one of the most useful and creative ways to serve ads to potential customers when they are most receptive and attentive as they are intently watching a show. While digital platforms are quickly adopting this form of advertising, the brands are yet to warm up with the idea of using this form of communication on traditional television.
However, Whisper Media, a global enterprise that specialises in in-content advertising on linear television is bringing the revolution to India. The company’s CEO and Director in India, LS Krishnan, recently got on a video call with exchange4media.com to talk about the firm, its operations in India, and how brands are reacting to in-content advertising on traditional media.
Why in-content advertising on linear television
While in-content advertising makes a lot of sense in alternate media like digital and cinema, where both the production and post-production timelines are mostly longer and it is easier for advertisers to collaborate with the producers, linear television seems like a challenging space to cater to.
Krishnan agrees, “Yes, television is a very different medium. Not only are the timelines compact, the storylines, especially in GEC shows, keep changing. But advertisers need to realise that this is a maximiser medium. It gives an incremental reach with better effectiveness. And with in-content advertising, you can reach the audience when they are most alert.”
That is why Whisper Media has developed a stringent process of putting in-content ads on linear television.
Krishnan elaborates, “We have a tight process and a big team of people in place that ensures we are able to timely deliver the ads. We work directly with the broadcasters and no additional setup is required from the production end; meaning we don’t ask them to shoot anything extra. We fit in our ads, which are mostly in the format of OOH banners as you would see around you, during post-production. We also do store branding and introduce offers via these banners seamlessly in between the shows without breaking the flow of the content.”
Whisper Media doesn’t offer contextual advertising right now to simplify the process nor do these ads run on digital platforms. “The audience on TV and OTT are very different. We don’t want the advertiser to be wasting precious marketing money on a medium that can’t deliver as good results. So, we are focusing only on television right now,” Krishnan said.
However, the company is planning to launch it’s bespoke OTT solutions arm in the coming quarter, he added.
The math and science of it
Brands need to spend anywhere between Rs 15 to Rs 30 lakh to have their in-content ads running on regional channels by Whisper Media. The rates increase for HSM channels, wherein it is 60-80 lakhs per campaign. “We suggest that a brand should invest in at least 2-3 weeks of activity initially to get good return on investment,” Krishnan highlighted. What brands get out of in-content advertising on linear television is better attrition, uncluttered view, frequency for media plan, and a good set of channels with popular content.
Krishnan elaborated, “We put just one brand ad in one episode to ensure that the viewer doesn’t feel bombarded. We are working with Star and Zee, the biggest networks right now and they have all the top shows when it comes to TRP. We have BARC measured monitors that can give a good idea to the advertiser what reach they are getting. We also do free brand-fit studies, which is one of the key foundations of our business.”
Way ahead for Whisper Media and ICA on linear-TV
Krishnan is quite positive about the future of in-content advertising on linear television as he sees a lot of headroom for growth. However, he feels that the biggest challenge right now is to get more marketers to realise the value of this form of advertising.
He said, “While there are a lot of advertisers who are showing keen interest in this form of advertising, there are many categories that are not investing as much as they must. The biggest challenge right now is to get more of them to see the power and potential of in-content advertising. Once they do the initial trial, they don’t turn back. But to get the interest initially is something that we are extensively working on.”
Krishnan, therefore, is aiming to expand the categories and brands that they are working within 2022. “This year, we want to expand in multiple regional markets and get more brands and categories onboard.”
He concluded the discussion by saying that the company is expecting a 3X growth in revenues this year. “We are very positive about the year and are expecting to outperform ourselves,” he quipped positively.