He came, he saw, he conquered…. The landslide victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Narendra Modi in the 2014 Lok Sabha election which culminated in him being appointed the Prime Minister, can perhaps be summed up thus. If there is one event that stood out among every other event that happened in 2014, this was it. The Modi wave not only brought in a new government at the Centre, it also ensured the acceptance of the power of digital media, especially social media, this year.

And soon everyone was headed the digital way. Whether it was the rise of online video platforms  or mobile messaging applications, or the launch of longer formats of commercials online, it was the digital media which held sway over the minds and hearts of consumers. And it does not end here— this year saw advertising networks aggressively acquiring digital and social media agencies.

Continuing the trend from the last two years, 2014 also saw some of the well-known figures of the advertising industry such as Rediffusion Y&R president D Rajappa, Leo Burnett chairman and CEO, Indian subcontinent, Arvind Sharma, and perhaps the most surprising, Ogilvy & Mather’s national creative director Abhijit Avasthi saying goodbye to the advertising network only to begin their journey as an entrepreneur.

E-commerce was another category which attracted much attention this year. From three online shopping giants, namely, Flipkart, Amazon and Snapdeal, fighting to maximize their share of the e-commerce sector, to the category getting its own firepower from a slew of investors, 2014 was the best year so far.

Television too had its share of glory this year. Riding on the back of digitisation, broadcasters launched a variety of niche channels in the space of general entertainment.  And if you think this is the end of the list, then you are in for a surprise.

2014 was also a year when sports in India looked beyond cricket. A slew of new sports leagues gained traction as public and advertiser interest increased. As Brandwagon highlights some of these game-changing moments of 2014, Kiran Khalap, co-founder and managing director, Chlorophyll, a brand consultancy, sums up the year saying 2014 had many inflection points to its credit.

“This was a year when after 1984, for the first time a party won with absolute majority. This was also the year when India crossed the 100 million-mark in terms of number of smartphone users. Social media too reached its pinnacle. In short, 2014 will be a year which would be remembered for the number of tipping points,” says Khalap.

In this special year end issue eponymously titled “The Year That Was”, we look at these momentous changes that is giving a new shape to the media, marketing and advertising industry. Enjoy our special edition.

BJP’s election campaign

Winner takes all

If there is one event that stood out among every other event that happened in 2014, it was the triumphant victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. The year 2014 will perhaps be best remembered for the election campaign of the BJP led by Narendra Modi. The depth and width of the BJP campaign was truly staggering. From the campaign perspective, the party did everything that brands speak about but often don’t implement it with the clarity of thought and purity of intent as the BJP did.

The BJP alone won 282 seats; and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 336, marking the end of three decades of coalition politics at the Centre. While Modi played a crucial role in swinging the votes in the BJP’s favour, the recipe behind the BJP’s triumph is a campaign created by three advertising veterans, namely, Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, South Asia- Ogilvy & Mather; Prasoon Joshi, chief executive and chief creative officer of McCann Worldgroup India, and Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director, Madison World. As part of his mandate, Joshi created an anthem called Saugandh, which featured Modi, who had also lent his voice to the video. For the tactical part of the campaign, Pandey and his team delivered many popular catch-lines such as ‘Janta maaf nahi karegi’, ‘Ab ki baar, Modi sarkar’, and ‘Ache din aane wale hai’. Madison World’s creation of a media plan on the basis of constituencies too played a major role. It also relied on outdoor and below-the-line activations such as 3D- rallies and ‘chai pe charcha’. “The substantial use of television, print, radio, outdoor and digital worked in tandem to create the Modi wave,” says Balsara.

Additionally, it was the digital campaign rolled out by the party which gave it to the winning edge. Right from the ‘Mission272+ Internet’ campaign which included an interactive website, to a dedicated volunteer’s dashboard, smart usage of mobile apps, extracting the most out of Google Hangouts, a Facebook page, a Twitter handle, and a YouTube Page, the party did not miss a single trick in the marketer’s book in connecting with citizens.

Moreover, the party crowd-sourced creative ideas for its digital campaign. From former American Express employee Santosh Gupta to 46-year-old IT consultant Suryanarayan Ganesh, to Mumbai homemaker Priti Gandhi, BJP’s IT cell was being run by young and mid-career professionals who had put their life on hold to make the party win at the hustings.

Even as the Congress party tried its best to win the support of people by launching a series of campaigns created by its agencies Dentsu and Taproot and the Aam Aadmi Party used social media to battle it out, analysts say the reason behind the success of BJP’s campaign is that it followed the bottom-up strategy and its campaign highlighted key issues faced by people at the ground level.

If the BJP’s election campaign held many lessons for brand marketers on how to create a wave, there were other benefits too. According to industry estimates, about R10,000 crore has been spent on advertising during the elections this year by all the political parties. While the actual impact on the fortunes of the advertising industry hasn’t been assessed yet, industry reports predict at least 16% increase in the industry’s revenues in 2014 to reach R37,000 crore.

Mobile messaging apps

Keep chatting

Telecom companies may not be too happy about them, governments may eye them suspiciously, but consumers just love them. We are talking about mobile messaging apps which have seen high growth rates in India. Whether it is WhatsApp, WeChat, Line, Hike, Viber or Snapchat, each mobile messaging app has been able to carve out its own niche in the hearts of Indian consumers in the last one year. According to a study by digital analytics company GlobalWebIndex, conducted across 32 markets including India involving 170,000 internet users, instant messaging has grown 113% in terms of users of mobile messaging since 2013. The study shows that 52% of Indians using instant messaging are on WhatsApp, while 42% use Facebook Messenger. While Skype is used by 37%, WeChat has a 26% share in the market, followed by Viber at 18%, Line (12%), Snapchat (9%), Kik Messenger (5%), Tango (4%) and Kakao Talk (3%). According to a recent report by InMobi, over 95% of mobile users in India access messaging apps multiple times a day and 45% prefer messaging apps over social networks and calls.

What started as simple product meant for communication is now evolving into a social entertainment product. The reasons behind the explosion of mobile chat apps are many—increasing penetration of smartphones, free services, easy operability and the promise of privacy.

The Indian market has been buzzing with action this year as messaging apps tried to outbid each other by introducing various features. Japan-based messaging app Line early this year offered free talktime worth R50 to its users in India, for downloading and sharing stickers.

WhatsApp is expected to introduce free voice calling by the first quarter of 2015. Again, Viber recently introduced public chats service in India. It is also looking at bringing games and more local content on its platform for the Indian consumers. Speaking in Delhi in November this year, Mark Hardy, chief marketing officer, Viber had said, “India is our largest user base, we have 33 million users here.”

According to Kavin Bharti Mittal, founder and CEO, Hike, while there is a lot of scope for growth, the market poses its own challenges such as limited availability of space in phones and consumers’ understanding about data consumption. He says that from now on the game will be about localisation. “India is a diverse country and there is a huge difference in consumer behaviour between the top of the pyramid and bottom. The idea is to make the product relevant for all,” he added.

However, 2014 could also see the end of the rise of mobile-focused independent messaging startups that started just five years ago. In 2015, we may see mobile messaging evolving from an SMS 2.0 approach to a multi-functional, multi-utility platform where users will not just interact with their friends and family but also with brands, celebrities and entities, similar to the trends witnessed in case of Facebook and Twitter. Also, get ready to see a shift from standard text messaging to photo and video messaging over the next 12 months.

New Sports Leagues
Join the game
Move over cricket, here comes kabbadi, hockey, tennis and soccer. This was the message that a slew of sports leagues sent out as they made their debut on the sports field this year. For years, it has been the game of cricket that has monopolised the attention of sports enthusiasts, advertisers and broadcasters alike. Not any longer. From Hockey India League to Indian Badminton League, Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League, Hero Indian Super League and Champions Tennis League, all these new sports tournaments are today fighting enthusiastically to get their share of the limelight and advertiser monies. Ironically, all of them took inspiration from the resounding success of the Twenty20 limited overs cricket tourney, Indian Premier League (IPL), the brainchild of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. “While the success of IPL has paved the way for such kinds of leagues, the other factor is that India finally has sports stars such as Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna in tennis and Saina Nehwal in badminton doing well in the international arena. Hence the demand for other sports has increased,” said Indranil Das Blah, COO of talent and sports management company CAA-Kwan, adding, “As for hockey, soccer and kabbadi, there was always a demand for such kinds of sports.”

Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League, as the name suggests, is perhaps the first non-cricket tournament to be backed by a broadcaster. The league got 66 million television viewers (TAM data, CS4+) tuning in on the opening night of the tournament. The first season saw 435 million viewers (TAM data CS4+). On social media, 2.3 billion impressions were generated on the back of more than 200,000 conversations by more than 100,000 users with 92% conversations reflecting positive sentiment.

Hero ISL also sizzled on its debut with the Star Sports channels recording a viewership of 75 million. With a cumulative audience reach of 399 million viewers (TAM data CS4+) in the first eight weeks, ISL has surely got the ball rolling. “For us, this is not just about being the country’s leading sports broadcaster. We want to build a platform that will help nurture heroes out of the millions of passionate, young sports fans across India. We want sports to be the trigger for creating and nurturing outstanding new opportunities for India’s youth,” said Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India. For the record, at the time of the launch of its sports channels in 2013 under the banner Star Sports, the network had announced its plans to invest more than R20,000 crore to expand its sports coverage in India.

Even as the IPL still remains the poster boy of advertisers, the new leagues too have found their own supporters. Several companies including utility vehicle maker Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) and Future Group rode the Pro Kabbadi League wave. Similarly, ISL found sponsors in Hero MotoCorp, Maruti Suzuki, PepsiCo India, Amul, Muthoot Group, along with Puma and Dr Reddy’s Nise Gel. Likewise, Qatar Airways and Coca-Cola are the two key sponsors of the International Premier Tennis League (IPTL). Prasanna Krishnan, business head, Sony Six says that advertisers will pump in money based on delivery. “But each game has its own scale. It would be wrong to expect tennis to generate the kind viewership the IPL generates and even advertisers are aware of this. That is why despite golf being a niche game, the PGA Tour has managed to get luxury brands such as BMW and Rolex as its key sponsors,” said Krishnan. For the record, Sony Six is the official broadcaster of the Champions Tennis League.

Ad professionals turning entrepreneurs

The exodus continues

Call it an adrenaline rush or the need to break free, advertising professionals continued to jump the big ship to turn entrepreneur even this year. The beginning of the year saw some of the big names of the industry—Rediffusion Y&R president D Rajappa; Leo Burnett chairman and CEO, Indian subcontinent, Arvind Sharma; Creativeland Asia former partner and ECD Vikram Gaikwad; VivaKi Partnerships Unit chief operating officer Tarun Nigam and JWT vice-president and senior creative director Vistasp Hodiwala— bid adieu to their jobs. The biggest exit was, however, that of Abhijit Avasthi who decided to call it quits as national creative director at Ogilvy & Mather in November after spending more than a decade-and-a-half in the country’s foremost ad agency. “After getting into advertising accidentally, I now want to look at other areas for which I may have had a penchant for,” said Avasthi.

Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and creative director, Ogilvy & Mather, South Asia, however, is philosophical about such high-profile exits. “Ad professionals going solo has been a phenomenon since the days of Mohammed Khan when he set up ad agency Enterprise in 1983 after leaving Contract Advertising. While Abhijit’s departure is a big loss for Ogilvy, I believe if one wants to start a new adventure then one should do when he or she at the peak of his or her career,” added Pandey.

The trend of advertising professionals going independent has gained steam in the last two years. The year 2013 also saw many heavy weights such as Ravi Deshpande, former chairman and chief creative officer announcing his entrepreneurial venture Whyness Worldwide, an integrated communication agency. Again, Meera Sharath Chandra, former executive creative director of Momentum Worldwide, UK and former MD of WPP company Syzygy UK, started Tigress Tigress, a digital-centric integrated communication agency. Ashish Khazanchi, former vice-chairman and NCD, Publicis Ambience joined hands with Ajay Verma, the erstwhile chief growth officer, Draftfcb Ulka, to launch a new full-service advertising agency called Enormous.

However, this year was a bit different as in addition to starting their own creative shops, a few dared to enter new fields such as e-commerce, mobile and digital. While Gaikwad and Hodiwala launched an agency named Underdog and Nigam started PM Media Solutions, a full service advertising agency with digital and content integration as the core focus areas; Sharma, one of the longest-serving CEOs in the Indian ad industry, entered the e-commerce sector with the launch of indiasarihouse.com. Likewise, Rajappa launched Aamrass a marketing and consulting firm. “Gone are the days when one had to do something within the advertising industry. With so much happening in India, especially in the digital space, there is enough and more opportunity even for former ad professionals to enter new arenas,” said Rajappa.

E-commerce gains traction
The online bazaar

This was the year that saw e-commerce in India finally come into its own. Even as private equity firms pumped in billions of dollars into a slew of e-commerce companies, big and small, online shopping caught the fancy of customers across the country. And e-commerce posterboy Flipkart played a crucial role in bringing about this change in the consumer psyche.

It was in July this year that Flipkart raised $1 billion in fresh funding from investors. Its valuation immediately skyrocketed to $7 billion. “Our investors recognise that e-commerce is a long-term game and are aligned to our plans and have complete faith in our abilities,” said Sachin Bansal, co-founder and CEO, Flipkart.com.

That triggered off a chain reaction. The very next day, Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, the world’s largest e-commerce company, announced plans to invest $2 billion to expand its India operations. Even as all eyes focused on the clash of the titans, rose a third player—Snapdeal—as it sealed a $627 million funding deal with Japanese telecom and internet firm SoftBank Corp. Kunal Bahl, co-founder and CEO of Snapdeal earlier this year had told Brandwagon that the company “is not short-term greedy but long-term hungry”.

Total investment in e-commerce firms has crossed the $3-billion mark in the first 10 months of 2014, a five-fold jump from 2013. The Indian e-tailing market, currently pegged at $2.3 billion, is expected to reach $32 billion by 2020. No wonder that Google Trends report says websites such as IRCTC, Flipkart, SBI Online, Snapdeal and Olx were among the most searched words on Google in 2014. And by 2016, the country is expected to have 100 million online shoppers, according to the Google annual online shopping growth trends report. That figure was

8 million in 2012 and is 35 million this year, showing how the e-commerce industry has grown. “2014 perhaps was the best year for the e-commerce industry so far. With no limitation of foreign direct investments (FDI) due to the marketplace model followed by e-commerce companies, there has been a heavy downpour of funds which has ensured further growth,” said Rajat Wahi, partner and consumer division, KPMG India, a market research firm.

To be sure, the onward march of the e-commerce sector is not confined to only the big three. This year will also be remembered for the rise of niche e-commerce companies that too have been able to carve out a place in the hearts of Indian consumers. From FabFurnish to Lenskart, FirstCry, UrbanLadder, Fashionandyou, Zivame, everyone was busy chasing the Indian consumer. From consumer electronics to fashion and lifestyle to groceries, everything is today being sold online. Even homes and cars are For instance, Tata Value Homes sold 85 flats through Snapdeal within a week of putting some of its projects online. The Great Online Shopping Festival, organised by Google towards the end of the year, saw bookings for over 50 cars and 100 bikes. As more consumers flock online, brick-and-mortar retailers too are joining the bandwagon. Madura Fashion & Lifestyle, a division of Aditya Birla Nuvo Ltd recently launched Trendin.com, its online store showcasing merchandise from Louis Phillipe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly, Peter England and People. Expect more action in the coming year.

Long format commercials on digital media

The long tale

In this year’s list of best ads in Brandwagon, three ad films stood out. A two-minute ad film by condom brand Durex which featured Ranveer Singh jiving to ‘Do the Rex’, a two-minute Fortune Oil’s ‘Ghar ka khaana’ ad where a grandmother tries to convince an unwilling nurse to allow her to feed home-cooked food to her injured grandson and Nescafe’s two-minute ‘It all starts’ film which showcased the plight of a stammering comedian and how he wins the hearts of his audiences. While all these ad films made ample noise, all of them were first released on the web.

The year 2014 was a landmark year for the creative minds in the advertising industry. If 2013 saw them first experimenting with long format ad films on the web, this year it was all about going digital first. “Consumers have more time to interact with an ad film when uploaded online first as they can watch the ad anywhere and anytime. Secondly, this process is also beneficial for brands as they get to gauge consumer response. If the ad is working on digital, then it is taken to the next level and is also aired on television,” said Santosh Padhi, founder and chief creative officer of ad agency Taproot India.

It is perhaps the high cost of airing an ad on television that pushed the ad industry to look at digital media as a viable alternative. For years, television commercials had to tell a story in 30 seconds. “It all started three to four years back when creative agencies created ‘director’s cut’ under which stories were told in 90 seconds. Then last year, Lowe Lintas’s ad film ‘Gondappa – help a child reach 5’ created for Hindustan Unilever’s Lifebuoy and Google’s ‘Reunion’ story by Ogilvy and Mather, were first released online. That made the advertising fraternity take a serious look at digital,” says KV Sridhar, chief creative officer, SapientNitro.

This year, too, several ad campaigns have tasted success online. For instance, Nestle India’s corporate campaign, ‘Share Your Goodness’ generated over 7 million views on YouTube. Likewise, Ogilvy’s ad film ‘Ghar ka khaana’ created for Fortune Oil has generated more than 1,367,187 views on YouTube. Again, PepsiCo India’s ad film GharWaliDiwali reached out to over 40 million users across the web within a week of its launch with over 4.3 million views across platforms. Shorter versions of these ads were soon launched on TV. More brands are expected to take this route next year. According to the Pitch Madison Advertising Outlook 2014 report, the digital medium is expected  to pull in a total of R3950 crore as revenue in 2014, which is R900 crore more than 2013’s R3050 crore.

However, Sridhar has a word of caution. He says that while longer format films tend to do well online, creative agencies should be careful about not making the ad film too long. “Ad films which are two-minute long tend to do well, compared to those which are five to six minutes in length. If the narrative is too long the viewer tends to lose interest,” he says.

Acquisitions of specialist agencies

Ready for the war

What started as an occasional affair about two to three years back is today developing into a enduring relationship. The year 2014 saw advertising networks continue to acquire specialist digital and social media agencies to strengthen their digital arsenal. The year began with Omnicom Group run DDB Mudra buying Bangalore-based digital agency 22Feet. In March, WPP Group owned JWT’s acquisition of social media agency Social Wavelength hogged the headlines. Next, Publicis Groupe made headlines with its acquisition of digital agency SapientNitro. And more recently, Smile Vun Group Media (SVG), a joint venture between Manish Vij’s Vun Network and Harish Bahl’s Smile Group, bought mobile ad network SeventyNine and digital agency NetworkPlay from Gruner + Jahr (the publishing division of European media conglomerate Bertelsmann AG). “Everything, including mergers and acquisitions, is related to where consumers are present. With more and more consumers boarding the digital bus it is important even for advertising networks to build a robust team to create a better delivery mechanism,” says Colvyn J Harris, CEO, JWT, South Asia.

India is not the only country where ad networks have been busy picking up specialist firms. According to Results International, a UK based merger and acquisition advisory firm, in 2013, WPP Group was the most active buyer in the marketing communications world clinching 54 deals, followed by Publicis Groupe with 19 deals and Dentsu Aegis closing 16 deals. While Interpublic Group was the top buyer in the mobile space, acquiring three of the eight firms in this segment, five out of the seven deals in the social media agency space were inked by WPP. In fact, WPP maintained its acquisition momentum in the first quarter of 2014, striking deals for six technology firms and 10 marketing and communications companies. “Digital is the medium of future. So, every advertising network, whether a large multinational or a homegrown network, is preparing for a tough battle in the digital space and these acquisitions will help the networks to build the ammunition—talent and tools— required to win that battle,” said Manish Vij, co-founder and CEO of SVG. For instance, Social Wavelength which was snapped up by JWT has its own measurement tool Radiun6, which is used by almost all advertising agencies as well as advertisers to mine social media.

Agrees Rohit Ohri, executive chairman, Dentsu India and CEO, Dentsu Asia Pacific (South), who says digital is one word but there are several parts to it. “Through acquisitions, networks are putting various services offered in the space of programmatic, video, search, social under one roof in their effort to turn the digital arm into a full service solutions agency.”

While the industry has witnessed the acquisition of specialist agencies offering solutions in the space of social media till now, the next one or two years will be about buying companies specialising in programmatic and video solutions. “Video is the next biggest area in the virtual space,” says Vij.

Niche entertainment channels

Entertaining everyone

A 24-hour channel that airs hit serials from a neighbouring country whom we love to blame for every misfortune, another channel that has made chick flicks of the episodic type its staple fare, a third that celebrates our armchair detective status and a fourth that pays obeisance to Bollywood blockbusters round the clock – these were among television’s new offerings in 2014, all in the name of entertainment. So if you thought the general entertainment genre was already a crowded space with 417 channels, including movies, music, youth, channels, think again. The year 2014 saw the general entertainment genre get even more thinly sliced, with new niche channels catering to almost every imaginable audience group. From Zee Entertainment Enterprises introducing Zindagi, an entertainment channel that showcases syndicated content from Pakistan, to Discovery Network launching its first Hindi entertainment channel ID (Investigation Discovery), to Multi Screen Media launching new movie channel Sony Max 2 broadcasting new and old iconic movies as well as a Hindi general entertainment channel Sony Pal specifically targeting women, apart from the launch of Epic, focussing on Indian history, mythology and folklore, this was a year that saw the biggies of broadcast ready with a new bag of tricks to woo the audience. “The launch of so many channels with niche content proves broadcasters are ready to experiment with content, riding on the back of digitisation, as it has become easier now to take your channel to audiences in India,” says Sanjay Gupta, COO, Star India.

While as many as 35-40 news channels came up this year thanks to the Lok Sabha elections, it is the entertainment genre that continues to be the bedrock of the television industry. According to the Ficci-KPMG Indian media and entertainment industry report 2014, Hindi and regional GECs continue to be the key drivers of television viewership, accounting for 48% of total viewership in 2013.

Viewers should expect further segmenta-tion in the entertainment space. “We have seen how broadcasters have segmented enter-tainment channels by launching various kinds of Hindi general entertainment channels. The next couple of years will be about individual content,” says Sudhanshu Vats, Group CEO, Viacom18 Media.

Agrees Priyanka Dutta, business head, Zindagi. “With the audience now looking for new kind content, it is imperative to deliver the content which they want to see.”

Perhaps the main reason behind broadcasters’ faith in the entertainment genre is that it still remains the cash cow of the industry. A 10-second spot on a non-fiction show on a GEC gets R2-4 lakh against R15,000-20,000 for a similar spot on a  English news channel. At the same time, with the viewership share shrinking with the entry of more players, getting ads will become equally challenging. Only time will tell which channel will succeed and which one will not.

India’s big wins in the international arena
On a winning track

Winners learn from the past, live in the present, and lead into the future,” said bestselling US author Orrin Woodward. Woodward could not have been more right. After struggling to win awards at various international creative festivals, Indian creative and media agencies seem to have got their act together in 2014. From bringing home 27 metals from the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity to winning 25 awards at the much revered D&AD awards to Indian agencies bagging 46 medals at this year’s Spikes Asia and eight awards at The One Show, this year was all about celebrating the rise of creativity.

“With the West beginning to understand Indian culture, our ideas are now well-received, compared to older times when the jury would think that Indian creative ideas tend to be more emotional in execution. Also, our creative people are getting better at their craft, coming out with unique ideas and that is why we see India performing better and better every year at various international award festivals,” said Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman and CEO McCann World Group India and president – South Asia.

For McCann Erickson India, particularly, it has been an exceptional year. In addition to winning four gold and two silver Pencils at The One Show, the agency was declared the number one creative agency in India in The Gunn Report 2013. Taproot India bagged the number two position. McCann Erickson India was also the most awarded agency from India at this year’s D&AD awards, earning 10 In Book awards and a nomination in the White Pencil category.

To be sure, there are other factors that have paved the way for more accolades. “More and more clients today are encouraging agencies for awards,” said Satbir Singh, managing partner and chief creative officer, Havas Worldwide India. The internet has played an important role. “The creative quality is more in sync with international trends thanks to sites such as Adsoftheworld.com and Adofdamonth apart from the various award shows’ own web presence,” added Singh.

Online video

Everyone’s invited

Of the 250 million internet users in India, 59 million users watch videos online every month. The average time spent in watching online videos per user has grown by as much as 27% between 2013 and 2014; an average viewer watches close to 68.7 videos for a total of 431.5 minutes per month. Over 75% of these viewers are millennials.

These numbers say it all. Online video has emerged as the single most important source of entertainment in urban India, especially among the millennials, with platforms such as YouTube, Dailymotion, Twitch.Tv, Vimeo, Box TV and FameBox Network waiting to take over from the television set at home. “While viewership of video on personal computers has increased in the last three years, the other trend that has emerged is that the device no longer matters to people,” says Kedar Gavane, vice president, India, comScore.

While 50% of viewers watch entertainment based videos, only 10% of viewers watch news and sports based videos online. “Entertainment is a big thing online when it comes to videos. In fact, demand for entertain-ment based content has seen broad-casters starting their own platforms,” says Preetesh Chouhan, senior vice-president, APAC, Vdopia Inc. While Zee Enterprises Entertainment has Ditto TV and Multi Screen Media has Sony LIV, Star Network has Starplayer. As Uday Sodhi, executive VP and head, digital business, Multi Screen Media, says, it is no longer about appointment viewing.

Google’s online video platform YouTube is still the most preferred destination to watch videos online. As per comScore, YouTube in India currently has 60 million users. Currently, mobile accounts for 33-35% of the overall viewership.

Advertisers too are finding the online video space convincing enough to head for a ‘digital first’ strategy. This is something that we saw repeatedly happening this year with Nescafe’s ‘It All Starts’ ad film getting 5,150,676 views on YouTube and Ranveer Singh ‘Do The Rex’ video getting 1,87,649 views on YouTube.

The need for original content has created a stir amongst home grown online VoD players as well. From platforms such as Times Internet’s Box TV entering into a distribution agreement with Sony Liv, to FameBox Network investing $10 million in digital channels network by 2017, the online video game has just begun in India.

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