Ad-tech company Amagi Media Labs is all set to launch its Thunderstorm OTT Ad Insertion service in India by October. The technology which has already been deployed in the US and UK markets will help subvert ad-blockers by stitching ads on the server side. The technology works in real-time and inserts ads seamlessly within the content stream and renders ad-blockers ineffective.
There are more than 30 OTT players in India, all of which lose nearly 60 per cent of their ad revenue to ad blockers. Globally, publishers are estimated to lose nearly $35 million to ad-blockers by 2020.
While Amagi Media Labs is creating solutions for the Indian market, indigenous OTT players are trying to beat ad-blockers themselves. “The heart of the problem about ad-blockers is that advertising is not relevant or interesting and becomes a nuisance for the consumer,” said Baskar Subramaniam, Co-founder, Amagi. He added that this cat and mouse game between ad-blockers and ad-tech companies will continue until advertisers start creating relevant and seamless experiences that deliver some value to the consumer.
Amagi raised $35 million funding from KKR backed Emerald Media in December 2016. Subramaniam said that the company plans to invest in research and development in addition to expanding the adoption of the CloudPort technology in international markets. “We are also focussing on Amagi Mix which is a media-buying platform and the geo-targeting and the targeted advertising service for both online video and the television space. This involves a lot of content sign-ups that we are doing globally and in India,” said Subramaniam. He added that the company is expecting a 2 to 2.5X growth over the next one year.
Subramaniam said that one of the roadblocks for Amagi’s targeted advertising technology is content sign-ups. Targeted advertising brings in a platform that allows clients to start product planning at the regional level. “When that happens, the media planning behaviour needs to change and when that changes, the fundamental unknown for TV channels is about how national advertisers will react to this change.”
Speaking about the conversation that Amagi is having with channels to on-board them, Subramaniam explained that most of this advertising is growth advertising or incremental revenue that is coming into the platform. “It is not just cannibalising the existing national spend with the regional spend but growing on top of new needs too,” he said.
Among the large Indian TV networks, Amagi has Zee, Colors and Star in its Storm geo-targeting portfolio. It has a total of 23 channels signed up so far and hopes to add five more to the geo-targeted bouquet. Subramaniam said that with the current bouquet, Amagi reaches out to nearly 17 per cent of the Indian audience. Their long-term goal is to reach out to at least 35 to 45 per cent of the audience. He added that while Amagi has covered the GEC and news segments, the next segment that can leverage geo-targeting space is Sports. He did not reveal if any major sports network will be signed on soon but said that the sports space has tremendous potential.