Benita Chacko

80% Indian streamers prefer ad-supported streaming: Magnite report

Gavin Buxton, managing director, Asia of the independent sell-side advertising platform, shares insights from its recent study.

A recent study has spelt good news for the advertising-based video on demand (AVoD) platforms. Indian streamers have a strong disposition towards ad-supported streaming, with free or some ad-supported content preferred by 4 in 5 streamers rather than paying for an ad-free experience (1 in 5), reveals a recent study conducted by Magnite, a global independent sell-side advertising platform.

On an average streamers in India use five streaming services. Of them, three are free ad- supported, two are ad-supported paid subscription services, and one is an ad-free paid subscription. When it's an ad-lite model, people are open to having ads for around 9 mins in an hour. In a free content experience, that goes up to 11 minutes. 

"It is good news for publishers to see that the ads are accepted. This research clears any misconceptions advertiser's may have had about viewers receptivity towards ads," says Gavin Buxton, managing director, Asia, Magnite.

While the preference for ad-supported streaming is becoming prevalent globally, it is a pattern observed more in Asia.

"The free television delivery has been dominating in India and people’s expectations of getting good content without necessarily paying has been embedded. The value exchange is being taken on board by the masses. It's been leading in India and the rest of the world is catching up to that," he adds.

The study also reveals that streamers are much more likely to pay attention to ads shown on streaming platforms (64%) than they are to ads shown on social media (18%) or websites (18%).

"The full screen makes the ads highly viewable and brings in less distraction. The premium content also adds to the experience as people are completely tuned in to the content," he says.

Personalisation is a key factor in driving engagement, with 76% of streamers paying more attention to ads that are personalised to their lifestyle and interests. 

"It is also necessary to create a great experience for the user. So, the viewers are open to ads that are relevant and contextual to them. There's a high correlation of acceptance to ads that are relevant to them, their interests and also to the content they are watching," he explains. 

93% of streamers have responded to ads shown to them while streaming, with 33% going on to make a purchase. Advertising across streaming platforms delivers more audience engagement and attention, with 61% of streamers using their mobile device to search for products from ads and shows. Streaming platforms are a powerful driver of audience behaviours, with streamers more likely to shop online (85%) than non-streamers (64%).

However, advertisers in India are still hesitant to prioritise the medium. Buxton explains that it could be due to a lack of awareness and scale.

"Some brands have a wait-and-watch approach to see when the platform gains scale. Our study shows that the scale is increasing. I hope it would change the advertiser's views and it will no longer be a waiting approach but a dive-in approach," he says. 

India is expected to lead in having free ad-models and ad-lite models. "The other parts of the world are now learning that they need to have ads for a sustainable business model. That’s why we see the likes of Netflix starting ads in a staggered approach," he says.

However, some aspects set the Indian market apart. While in the US and Europe, CTV numbers are higher, when it comes to streaming, India is a mobile-first country, followed by CTV. Also the data cost is much lower in India than globally. 

Live streaming is especially prevalent across news (59%), sports (55%), and reality shows (53%) with mobile emerging as the preferred device to stream live content.

"India is going to help the rest of the world learn how to best activate that area. People consume more content when they are on the move. Also live streaming is growing exponentially in India- especially on the mobile. Being a sports loving nation, people watch sports on the move and that is contributing to the growth of live streaming," he adds. 

India has also been ahead in working out different business models to appeal the viewers. 

"The country has been leading with the ad lite and freemium models and Netflix has been catching up to that now. People are facing a fatigue by spending on all of these platforms and they're looking for different models," Buxton explains. 

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