OTT Platforms Are The Future of Programmatic Ad Buying in Asia

OTT Platforms Are The Future of Programmatic Ad Buying in Asia

June 24, 2020
By Yogesh Sehgal, Regional Manager, Asia, Rubicon Project

As programmatic continues to mature and more worldwide digital ad budgets move through programmatic pipes, the Asia region will be no exception. In our recent report with Campaign Asia on programmatic ad buying in the region, we surveyed 185 programmatic leaders across nine markets to find that buyers in Asia will be allocating more of their digital spend to automated methods in the near future. Of this spend, budgets allocated to Over-the-Top (OTT) formats are set to experience the most growth. 

This projected investment in OTT comes at no surprise. OTT refers to any app or website that provides streaming content via the internet that is viewable across any screen, including mobile, tablet, or TV. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, audiences are consuming more content at home via OTT devices, which is likely to accelerate the growth of this format earlier than expected. The OTT opportunity is further illuminated when looking at the region’s mobile-first economy combined with rising OTT subscription rate: an increasing number of consumers have a digital TV in their pocket, which presents an exciting opportunity for media buyers looking to take advantage of changing consumption trends.

 OTT is the leading pick for programmatic growth in 2020

With changing viewing habits driving demand for streaming content across Asia, media buyers are championing OTT as the major growth format for 2020. Our research found that 47% of media buyers surveyed ranked this format in the top three formats that will experience the most programmatic budget growth over the next 12 months, and 17% placed it in the number one spot.

In several ways, the Asia region is primed for OTT growth. Asia benefits from the fastest growing OTT subscription rate globally along with high rates of online video consumption. Competition between OTT providers is also strong with both international and local players operating in the region, increasing supply options for buyers. This growing interest in OTT in Asia correlates with worldwide market growth, which is predicted to grow by $77.73 billion in the period between 2019 and 2023.

Of the nine markets surveyed, Indonesia and India show the biggest preference for OTT platforms and services. 

Rounding out the top three areas that will experience the most programmatic growth over the next 12 months are: 

  • Video – OTT platforms
  • Video – In-stream
  • Display – Mobile

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic is helping to accelerate the growth of OTT budgets across the region. Consumers are spending more time at home watching video content, and buyers are shifting programmatic advertising budgets towards this channel to take advantage of the surge in demand. As seen in a recent report by Publicis Groupe, the entertainment and OTT segment in India have experienced a 34% increase in time spent watching content during March 2020. 

Asia’s mobile-first economy presents an opportunity for OTT.

High smartphone adoption rates in Asia make it one of the largest mobile markets worldwide. In line with Asia’s mobile-first economy, buyers named mobile display as the format that they intend to purchase most frequently via programmatic in 2020. This is an indicator of things to come: with an abundance of streaming content available, modern consumers worldwide are increasingly cutting the cord, trading linear TV for digital OTT video content that they can stream on their smartphones or across digital screens and devices. Media providers in Asia are capitalizing on this trend: for example, last year, Netflix launched a mobile-only subscription tier in India.

Overall, with an increasing number of viewers in Asia watching their favorite programs via smartphones through apps and subscription services, and kicking it to a CTV device such as an AppleTV or Roku, OTT is poised for even greater growth in the region. 

Our report reflects a readiness amongst buyers in Asia to allocate programmatic budgets to emerging platforms and inventory types, with a particular emphasis on OTT. Programmatic partners should be ready and willing to support buyers on this journey with strong technology, service, and education.

To learn more about buyer behaviors in Asia as well as the future of programmatic in that region, check out our full report here.