Experts decode the impact of MaxView in live sports properties, unravelling its significance for advertisers and viewers.
Just ahead of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023, Disney+ Hotstar has announced that it is offering ‘MaxView vertical video streaming’. Developed in collaboration with the International Cricket Council (ICC), users can watch the matches in vertical mode. This feature is accompanied by a live feed tab, scorecard, and vertical ads. We decode what this feature brings to the table for brands and user experience.
What do advertisers feel about it?
According to Robert Godinho, managing director at Media.Monks, the broadcasting segment has finally noticed the rise of vertical video. He says that for most people, holding the phone vertically is the most comfortable. This is only going to make content consumption more user-friendly and consumable.
“No one's going to give up an opportunity to not put something on Disney+Hotstar, which is right now the hottest selling property during the festive season. So it's a double whammy. I'm sure a lot of advertising will pick up,” he says.
Speaking about what they feel about vertical ads, the MRF marketing team who is also one of the official ICC sponsors states that as a brand they have been keen on vertical video for a few years. The team states that over the next few years, most live sports will be watched vertically.
Similarly, Shashank Srivastava, executive director of Maruti Suzuki India says that the MaxView offering is Hotstar's answer to vertical video consumption on social media platforms like Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. MaxView aligns with this trend by allowing cricket fans to watch matches in vertical orientation without compromising on the viewing experience.
According to Srivastava, all their ads are adopted according to vertical/horizontal format requirements of each platform during the shoot and post-production of ads. “We are present on CTV on OTT for WC'23 as per our TG definition and leverage all the possible formats for Hotstar available,” he says.
When it comes to cricket, most people are conditioned to watch cricket on their phones while holding it horizontally. Asked if this is a concern for the brand, the MRF marketing team says that cricket is a non-continuous sport. There are always breaks between overs and that’s when most people would switch their screens.
Moreover, Disney+Hotstar offers a lot more in the MaxView experience. It displays live feeds and scorecards for audiences to consume.
As per the team, one of the major concerns is that most ads are still created for horizontal screens, especially for big-ticket properties. “This means that brands would have had to adapt to double production costs. However, as a brand, we are excited about it,” they add.
“Specifically we are not working on horizontal ads for Disney+Hotstar but also our social media. We have an upcoming campaign and we are debating whether we do it in horizontal or vertical format,” says the brand.
While watching a few matches in the Maxview mode, we noticed that while a few ads were being displayed in the vertical format, a few ads were still displayed in a horizontal format. This led to the screen space being much smaller for the ads.
The only drawback of the format according to Srivastava is that during MaxView the advertisers cannot take the CTA (call-to-action) Takeover on the screen. “Earlier for the standard view they could take CTA Takeover which meant their ads (display/video) would always be present below the feed along with CTA text/link. This is not possible for the MaxView format. Otherwise, this seems to be a good addition to the overall capability of Hotstar as a platform.”
Chetan Asher, founder and CEO of Tonic Worldwide suggests that a lot of mainstream content will be tuned into the vertical format soon. However, vertical content has its challenges, he says from a creative as well as budget standpoint.
The massive success of IPs like Reels and Shorts has led to a massive shift in vertical content consumption. According to a 2021 report by InMobi, the CTR (Click-through rate)for vertical video ads was 4x higher and that for landscape video ads was 47 percent higher. However, vertical video ads saw a 25 percent YoY growth in CTR in the review period as compared to 18 percent YoY growth in the case of landscape video ads.
As per Keith Braganza, Senior Manager - Client Servicing, TheSmallBigIdea, ICC and Disney+Hotstar hit a masterstroke catering to the audience's most natural viewing orientation on a smartphone and improving the user experience. He says that owing to the duration of ads, vertical ads could have a larger impact on viewers now who are accustomed to watching short-form content vertically on Snapchat, Reels, and Shorts.
Darshil Shah, Director at ChtrSocial, remarks that the adaptation of OTT platforms to what has become the norm in user behaviour was long-awaited. From a creative standpoint, he views the transition as a much more seamless experience. Although rewiring the traditional thinking of video assets poses a challenge, Shah notes that the vertical format provides numerous creative opportunities for storytelling.