Nisha Qureshi

Disney Star’s contextual ad offering puts a twist on in-film brand integrations

It offers advertisers opportunities to deliver highly targeted ads by strategically placing ads that are contextually relevant to the content being watched.

Disney Star Network has launched an advanced contextual advertising solution across its Hindi movie channels — Star Gold and Star Utsav Movies. This product, developed entirely in-house, offers advertisers an opportunity to deliver highly targeted and engaging ads by strategically placing ads that are contextually relevant to the content being watched.

Speaking about the offering, Dev Shenoy, head - entertainment ad sales and strategy at Disney Star says, the company explored ways to enhance contextual relevance and deliver scalable solutions to advertisers using technology. The media company  worked on feedback from clients who prefer enduring long-term brand presence over one-off solutions in developing this new format.

How do the ads work? 

As per Shenoy, the company has leveraged its in-house tool to analyse the entire Hindi movie library across the network’s  four channels to identify 600 objects using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), allowing for contextual targeting. This technology leverages the products in the scenes to help schedule ads, thus providing a stronger impact.

“For instance, a car company can target the Hindi movie audience by displaying ads specifically during scenes featuring cars, thereby improving the mind metrics of the placed ad. Leveraging AI/ML technology, we identify objects across our movie library and place ads in the appropriate contexts,” he explains.

According to Shenoy, this contextual advertising offers multiple benefits to brands. He says because this solution is integrated into content (movies) rather than traditional ad breaks, advertisers benefit from higher viewership.

“Secondly, the contextual nature of these ads enhances qualitative parameters of ad effectiveness, thus creating stronger connection with the brand compared to regular ads. Thirdly, the scalable nature of this solution enables brands to target viewers repeatedly, increasing ad effectiveness through higher frequency and enhanced exposure,” he adds. 

Dabur advertising its Red Paste and alerting people about smoking in a scene that shows an actor smoking on the screen.
Dabur advertising its Red Paste and alerting people about smoking in a scene that shows an actor smoking on the screen.

According to Shenoy, multiple studies have shown that contextual advertising can lead to higher ad effectiveness by connecting with consumers at the right moment. He further adds that the technology allows for higher relevancy and efficiency compared to regular ads. He says it is highly recommended for achieving brand objectives such as consideration and saliency.

Shenoy adds that Disney Star’s technology is also scalable to accommodate 1,000 insertions per month, which is at least 2-3 times that of regular ad campaigns.

Are brands adopting it?

Shenoy states that interest is coming from several brand partners who are keen to explore this solution and leverage the differentiation that contextual ads provide in this cluttered environment. He says it is even more important for advertisers as it  includes the ability to measure the exposure of each contextual ad using BARC ratings, providing valuable insights; something that brands can’t always seamlessly measure when it comes to integrations.

“While this is at an initial stage of rollout, we successfully collaborated with Dabur for a World No Tobacco Day campaign for the company’s toothpaste brand, which has been widely appreciated. Various categories, including FMCG, Construction, BFSI, Food, and Beverages, have shown interest.”

The network is now gearing up to launch phase two of the tool which will take contextual advertising to the next level by detecting emotions in addition to identifying objects and generating tags for each scene in the movie. “This will help cater to a wider range of brands, such as those in the insurance and pharmaceutical sectors, which may not have object classification needs.”

According to Shenoy, while  these initiatives bring incremental revenue from advertisers, the bigger advantage is improving customer-centricity through innovation. “Solutions like these should benefit clients by improving ad performance in today’s cluttered ad environment.” 

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