Author – Shaun Nanjappa, Head of Advertising Sales - South Asia, Discovery Inc.
Internet penetration in India has changed the country’s landscape for the better. As per Statista reports, in 2021, the internet penetration went up by 45 percent, which resulted in an overall increase of 75 percent viewership in OTT app subscriptions during the lockdown. With the onset of Covid-19, over the top (OTT) platforms emerged as one of the most preferred mediums of advertising for brands due to the audience engagement and the reach. It pushed each one of us to think differently and innovate our existing formats to give us better results. Addressing the unalterable global situation, we at Discovery India saw tailormade business solutions as an effective tool to engage consumers. Despite the covid restrictions and a slump in the industry operations, 2020 witnessed a phenomenal double-digit growth. Discovery’s digital ad revenues took a lion’s share and grew by 200% in 2021.
Discovery India, a pioneer and leader in infotainment segment, implemented over 40 projects in 2021, namely Edtech, Auto, Finance, Telecom, and FMCG, amongst others. For linear and digital platforms, comprehensive solutions were used across branded content IPs, content integrations, collaborations, and brand licencing. Discovery carved out a niche for itself by providing a diverse range of services and 360-degree business solutions to meet clients' marketing needs while reinforcing its brand promise of family, facts, and fun. Furthermore, within two years of its inception, our sports vertical, Eurosport India, saw a significant increase in viewership. On our IPs, Eurosport India has attracted advertisers from diverse industries, including LIC and AMFI from BFSI, Coca-Cola from FMCG, and clients from the handset industry.
We were observing the pulse of the country and spotted the revenge buying trend early on which also became a discussion point with a lot of our clients, this resulted in advertising spends on branded content. We sensed the need for high-impact formats and spotted an opportunity during the launch of our marquee property - Into the Wild with Bear Grylls, white later emerged as a mega IP for us. The franchise has always helped us scale back and drive advertising revenues considerably with its great line-up which includes some renowned personalities like our Honourable Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Akshay Kumar and Rajnikanth, and in 2021 we launched 2 specials consecutively with Ajay Devgn and Vicky Kaushal which has attracted multiple advertisers.
Coming to our streaming platform, discovery +, Star vs Food S2 was one such series that made its way into the record of successes through its association with Korea Tourism. As a part of the association, exclusive integrations in the form of Korean meals, K-pop stars etc. were done in the premier episode starring Janhvi Kapoor. Our marketing campaigns are designed to pique people's interest in our content while making it relatable.
Deep diving into the categories, Discovery School Super League i.e., India’s biggest quiz contest in 2021 marked the 4th renewal of our partnership with Byjus. It has been India’s largest televised quiz show with over 54000+ schools and 12.85 million children participating till April 2022. We created our first ever integrated Discovery Kids campaign in association with Hershey’s Jolly Rancher Lollipops where we produced a full-scale blockbuster movie. Owing to our long-standing relationship with the Government, over 8 Government projects were taken up in 2021 where we produced a docuseries, ‘One District One Product’ in association with the UP government. Docuseries showcased the beauty of the state as well as the government’s efforts to promote and rescale its local crafts and products that give the state its identity. Yet another project was ‘Kashi films’ where restoration of Kashi Vishwanath Dham by our current PM was depicted whilst highlighting its heritage value.
In terms of partnerships, we primarily look for brands whose core values and personality are in sync with ours. Our mission is to keep raising the bar on the customer experience for both advertisers and viewers. The brand’s constant research and commitment to innovation, presents a very compelling offering for marketers who want to engage with our viewing audiences. We assure to continue to experiment as the trends change and come up with differentiated offerings through our partnerships that emerge as successful milestones.