Akshit Pushkarna

Decoding India TV’s foray into connected TV

Ritu Dhawan, MD & CEO, India TV, discusses the company's exclusive CTV channels: India TV Speed News, India TV Aap Ki Adalat, and India TV Live.

The Connected TV or CTV phenomenon is rapidly gaining traction in Indian households. Now, a TV’s ability to stream various over-the-top (OTT) platforms or just social media can often be seen playing a critical role in a person’s decision on purchasing a TV.

Around 25 million Indian households owned a connected TV in 2022, according to a Finecast report. This number increased to 32 million in 2023 and is further expected to go up to 45 million by 2025.

In the CTV sphere, a Xiaomi PatchWall report from 2022 found that 45% of live stream viewers prioritise news content, followed by movies, general entertainment, and music. Capitalising on this, Hindi news channel India TV recently unveiled two new exclusive CTV channels on August 8. 

Ritu Dhawan, managing director and CEO, India TV, opines that due to the expansion of the CTV sector, it is now crucial for broadcasters to deliver tailored content to viewers that aligns with their anticipations on CTV apparatuses.

“To fulfil viewers' expectations on the device, we have made the strategic decision of making our content available on connected TV (CTV) with a meaningful content approach. Through careful observation of viewing patterns and content preferences of CTV viewers, besides launching our existing TV content, we have introduced two CTV dedicated channels: India TV Speed News, which stands as India's first 24x7 fast News Channel, and India TV Aap Ki Adalat, offering viewers the opportunity to watch episodes of this iconic show 24x7.”

Dhawan also adds that the app will soon feature Video on Demand (VOD) content too.

Both channels are accessible on all android-based connected TV sets. The 'India TV Speed News' channel provides rapid updates on current events, while India TV Aap Ki Adalat airs episodes of India TV's flagship show, Aap Ki Adalat with Rajat Sharma, on a continuous loop. India TV Live is a news feed that runs around the clock, already existing on its YouTube channel.

Dhawan adds that the daily average consumption for these channels has gone up to 8 lakh minutes. The company is planning to introduce more channels on connected TV soon.

"Through the introduction of three new channels, our aspiration is to establish a dominant position in the CTV realm. We intend to achieve this by furnishing our viewers with purposeful, refined, and pertinent information across various formats, themes, and devices on this platform, thus delivering substantial value."

While CTV's popularity is gaining steed, broadcast channel viewership is concurrently witnessing a decline. Television viewership in India has experienced a downtrend since 2020, with the average minute audience (AMA) - a metric employed by BARC - reaching approximately 1.47 trillion last year.

The share of the news genre in the television viewership pie expanded to 21% in 2020, based on BARC data, but dwindled to 6.6% by the close of 2022.

Despite recognising the transformative impact of CTV on content consumption, Dhawan notes that the viewing patterns of news broadcasters have remained fairly consistent. She also shares that television viewership continues to exceed CTV viewership for India TV.

The surge in vernacular languages and the emergence of global video content, coupled with the unique experience of the CTV home screen, have collectively reshaped content consumption patterns across the nation.
Ritu Dhawan, managing director and CEO, India TV

She notes that viewers still lean towards fast channels, apps, and, YouTube for TV content consumption, primarily due to the genre's limited offerings.

“As CTV platforms offer dedicated news content, we can expect to witness shifts in viewership patterns over time. The CTV ecosystem is considerably more evolved and advanced in comparison to linear TV. The surge in vernacular languages and the emergence of global video content, coupled with the unique experience of the CTV home screen, have collectively reshaped content consumption patterns across the nation. This approach has been instrumental in maintaining our position,” she shares.

Interest from Advertisers in the Channel's New CTV Offerings

According to research by mediasmart and VTION Digital, 9 out of 10 CTV viewers recall encountering ads. Of those exposed, 81% assert that advertisements impact them, with 37% indicating that these ads linger in their memory for over 8 hours.

Thus, Dhawan holds a positive outlook for the channel's CTV venture, anticipating a positive response from brand advertisers. “There is a significant impact of ads on this emerging platform, and advertisers now consider CTV inventory as their preferred medium for media plans. In addition, various media agencies have developed CTV-focused divisions, such as Finecast by GroupM and mediasmart by Affle," she adds.

Talking about ad rates, Dhawan shares that pricing will be determined by the strength of media engagement. “ER rates are different for time bands and CPM rates differ between platforms. However, it is true that video ads have higher CPM compared to display ads and especially when video inventory is available on large screens, ads are non-skippable and ad recall is high, CPM rates differ from mobile video platforms. This has been a rule of advertising that advertisers must pay a premium for engaging inventory,” she states.

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