Watch out, TVwallahs. P&G, Coke eyeing mobile video streaming for effective & cheaper advertising

12 Mar,2014

By Deepali Gupta


Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola are considering launching video channels over mobile phones to deliver branded content and advertisements directly to consumers in India, because it is cheaper than running ads on television and easier to measure the impact. The launch of third- and fourth generation mobile technology is making this possible and more affordable for advertisers, allowing them to sidestep, at least partially, the traditional mass media.


Airing ads over telecommunication networks will also allow the companies to know who is watching their ads, something that is difficult to measure in TV advertisements.


P&G and Coca-Cola, two of the biggest advertisers globally, are in preliminary discussions with India’s top telecom operators to start their own streaming video channels which consumers could access free of charge, three people familiar with the talks said. Another executive at one of the two consumer-goods companies said it was too early to say if his company would launch such a channel. “We have just had a meeting with the telecom operators, that’s it. There is no way to say whether this will happen or if it does when,” this person said.


Initially, the brands may make their programmes available to customers of the nation’s top two mobile operators, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone India, that roughly account for 60 per cent of the subscribers across India, said one of the three people cited above. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone did not respond to emails seeking comment. P&G and Coca-Cola declined to comment.


The talks come close on the heels of Hindustan Unilever launching a dedicated radio station on mobile phone in Bihar which has already acquired more than five million subscribers. P&G and Coca-Cola are also encouraged by the response to their existing online video content.


Beverages-maker Coca-Cola has branded content such as the Coke Studio musical performance which receives lot of hits on You Tube, one of the people said. “We can push that content to users on their mobile phones,” this person said, adding that the channels would also carry company or brand logo through all shows which will be interspersed with advertisements. “It is cheaper than running campaigns on national television.”


There is huge demand for mobile video content. Bharti Airtel’s Re 1 per video offer had 22 million hits within the first two months of its launch in May 2013, with nearly a quarter of them by first-time data users, according to data released by the company. Much of the content was Bollywood or fashion. As much as 80 per cent of that was accessed on feature phones – phones that can access Internet but are cheaper than smartphones – and nearly half in rural, content-starved markets. “Now imagine this is free to access,” said one of them, referring to the video channels these companies are considering. “I think there would be much more viewership.”


However, the concept is still in its inception, added another. It involves a content aggregator creating the channel, the brand buying bulk data and an operator pushing the site to data-enabled phones. Offering this service requires the operator to enable data connections also on phones that don’t subscribe to data service and allow free connectivity as long as the device accesses merely the streaming channel.


For telecom operators, offering free programmes will likely help attract voice consumers to data, and once they get hooked, the companies can sell services outside the free channel. According to analyst estimates, India has around 400 million phones that can use Internet or data services, such as viewing streaming video. However, only around 140 million actively connect to the Internet.


Smartphone maker BlackBerry too has spoken of monetising its dedicated channels that brands like Café Coffee Day, Mercedes-Benz and even some political parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party and Aam Aadmi Party use to connect with Blackberry Messenger customers. The channels started by the brands involve posting text and pictures that are shared by followers accumulated through invites.


Source:The Economic Times

Copyright © 2014, Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All Rights Reserved

Licensed to republish


Post a Comment 

Comments are closed.

Today's Top Stories