CTV Advertising for SMEs in 2023: A Complete Guide

Ctv Advertising

The Growth of the  Indian OTT Market

The Indian OTT market has been phenomenal and the pandemic has boosted internet consumption even more. The time is still ripe for the video advertising scenario to boom as households are quickly adopting CTV technology.

As per a report by the Confederation of Indian Industry and Boston Consulting Group, the media & entertainment industry in India has successfully revived to pre-pandemic level and is estimated to grow to $55-70 Bn by 2023 at approx 10-12% CAGR.

This growth will be heavily driven by the OTT market, which recently has a market share of 7-95 in India’s $27 Bn media and entertainment industry. However, the OTT market is expected to grow to 22-25% by 2030. 

Rise Of Ott

Currently, India is witnessing an increase of 51% in the total number of households that have SVOD or subscription-based video-on-demand services. 

This steady growth in subscription-based OTT services has been offered by the popularity of Amazon prime, Netflix and Hotstar.

The improved internet usage and smartphone penetration in Tier 2 and tier 3 cities have also contributed to the increase in OTT consumption. 

According to the ‘India: Online Video Trends’ report by Omdia, in 2021 OTT platforms in India invested almost $500 Mn in original content.

Amongst the India OTT services, Eros Now tops the list. Hotstar, Zee Sony and Viacom18 are stepping up to compete with the US giants. 

Ott Video Stats

Connected TV Advertising in India

India is going through a steady digital transformation and customers are gradually moving away from the linear traditional TVs.

This change shows an advertising opportunity that is untapped for brands and advertisers.

According to the Indian CTV report 2021, CTV viewing has significantly increased by 31%.

However, on a global scale CTV viewership has increased by 81%, India is still growing and is rather a young market for potential CTV consumers. In April 20, 21% of CTV viewers were cord cutters, whereas 22% were cord nevers. 

Connected TV advertising has become a prime tenet of marketing for big brands, but for relatively small businesses and brands, the domain of CTV ads still remains untapped.

Now, with increasing technological developments, it’s time for small businesses to get ahead in the game of CTV advertising.

So if you are a SME and unsure of what this new advertising can do for your brand, we are here to tell you the benefits that CTV ads have in store. 

On a global scale, CTV viewership has increased by 81% and although India is still a young market for these ads, it is steadily growing and has become a booming space for potential CTV consumers.

On April 20, 21% of CTV viewers were cord-cutters, whereas 22% were cord nevers.

According to the Indian CTV report 2021, CTV viewing has significantly increased by 31%. According to the Indian CTV survey, 78% of people own CTV and 93% of them have internet access.

Why opt for Video advertising with CTV?

1. Booming market

The CTV inventory available is less now, and most of it gets snapped quickly, but this is not a disadvantage for advertisers. The growth of CTV is massive and is creating a great opportunity for video ads.

As per Counterpoint Research, there was a 65% increase in India’s smart TV market in the second quarter of 2021, due to an increase in demand. 

Internet Penetration Rate

According to an IAMAI-Kantar Cube report, the total number of active internet users in India is expected to grow by 45% to 900 Mn by the year 2025 in comparison to 622 Mn as of 2021.

As per this report, rural India is projected to have a higher number of internet users in comparison to urban areas by 2025. 


By the year 2025, there will be a higher number of internet users in rural India in comparison to urban India.

Talking about this, the digital ecosystem in our country is required to evolve and address the requirements of the emerging demography. 

“Vernacular, Voice and Video will emerge as the game changers for the digital ecosystem over the next few years,” Biswapriya Bhattacharjee, Executive Vice President, Insights Division, Kantar said in a statement on the report. (Source: Business India)

Smart Tv Shipment Share In India

India registered a 24% year-on-year growth in TV shipments, and 55% year-on-year increase in smart TV space in 2021, as per Counterpoint Research.

The smart TV market is growing steadily, which is a great attribution to the increase in demand for household entertainment during the lockdown.

The growth is also due to newer launches of smart TV at affordable prices, new entrants, offers and premium features. 

Monthly Consumption On Ott

The expected growth in paid subscriber base of OTT platforms in India from 2019 to 2021 is 65-70%, or a CAGR of about 30%.

While such high growth rates are not sustainable over time, the OTT sector has enough headroom for growth, with only about 110 million Indians having access to paid content.

2. Millennial audience

CTV is clearly the future of video ads because of the millennial audience.

The video advertising audience that was once coveted, which made it harder and harder to target, is now getting clustered in one place Gen Z and millennials love the content that is available on Amazon, Netflix, Disney+Hotstar, etc, and now even YouTube is allowing the purchase of episodes. 

3. CTV Ads do not bother the audience

We have already mentioned that connected TV and normal TV viewing are very similar experiences.

However, the ability to target the audience based on the data these apps provide is much higher in CTV.

This can provide the advertiser with a much higher ROI than traditional TV advertising.

Most of the applications for viewing video content on CTV are cheaper than traditional television, this adds to the fact that the users don’t mind experiencing video ads on CTV.

The customers are aware that watching ads is a cost that they pay for a convenient and excellent viewing experience. 

4. In-depth targeting

The primary objective of advertising is targeting the right viewers, in the right place at the right time.

CTV is just more detailed when it comes to targeting as you would know the number of people streaming, their interests and age group.

Advertising on CTV will hence allow SMEs to narrow down where they spend their money, both in terms of geography and demographics.

A classic example of going smart work rather than hard.

The targeting capabilities of CTV advertising is why more small brands should consider it in their marketing plan,especially right now when it’s young and heavy in potential.

You would know that the ads are reaching your consumers and that assurance is something every advertiser and business owner strives for. 

One of the things that SMEs may find attractive is the ability of CTV ads to deliver content that is specific to one particular geographic region.

There are streaming channels that are beneficial to one size of the audience, hence every penny spent on CTV ads is worth it as you know that your ads are reaching your target audience. 

While linear TV does have a wide reach and is extremely effective for advertising, however, CTV gives you a level of control. You can control the expense and who you want your ad to be catered to. (see image below)L 3Mq4Pmogridurdkkmsomwzmgmekrd0 Seziklygv6G9Qoq4Nia Jj Qmviym01Xxafv

Traditional TV ads do offer a considerable amount of reach, but CTV is gaining huge popularity in India as more and more urban and young audiences are engaging in OTT content.

As per Counterpoint Research, there was a 65% increase in India’s smart TV market in the second quarter of 2021, due to an increase in demand. 

What are Connected TV advertisements?

CTV or Connected TV is also known as over-the-top or OTT TV. Connected TV ads are advertisements that can be placed on Television or any device that you can connect to the internet.

CTV ads enables access to video streaming content beyond the already available content normally offered by the cable provider.

Connected TV includes advertisements bought programmatically and are shown on smart TVs.

Connected TVs are used to stream OTT content, but one must not confuse between the two, as they aren’t interchangeable. 

Over-the-top or OTT can be called the delivery mechanism for the video/TV content online, which is usually streamed through smart TVs.

On the other hand, CTV or connected TV is an internet-connected device, which a customer can use to watch video content online. 

Linear TV or the traditional TV is referred to as the classic system, here the viewer watches the scheduled TV programs during the time it is aired on the original channels.

The viewer can watch the content via an antenna or by paying for a satellite or cable subscription

Benefits of Connected TV Advertising

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Plenty of options: Long gone are the days when there was one CTV service dominating the market, with the rise of demand the market is steadily expanding.

There is an emergence of CTV platforms that are ad-supported and has short-form, niche content that attracts a wide range of audience.

This increase in variety is giving advertisers a more targeted audience approach.

Digital advertisers can now tap into the correct content in order to find their audiences on the basis of their interests. 

Premium audience: The viewers of connected television generally belong to high economic backgrounds, they are the premium audience.

This mass of customers is someone who is likely to make more purchases.

According to the FICCI-EY report by 2025 Connected TV is expected to reach 40 million viewers, and most of the viewers belong to the urban areas. 

Reach: Be it cord shavers, cord-cutters, or cord nevers, the number of households that are turning to connected TVs is steadily growing.

This number is expected to quickly surpass the number of homes with traditional television.

According to the Indian CTV survey, 78% of people own CTV and 93% of them have internet access.

Unique opportunities: In addition to flexible pricing, CTV reporting is more robust than you typically get across linear TV buys.

Advertisers can see what audience segments of different networks so they know who is viewing their ads.

Another unique opportunity advertisers have is to run high-impact creative across CTV.

SMEs and CTV

What’s stopping SMEs from using CTV advertising?

1. Misconception regarding Budget 

CTV is a potentially new market, which is why many brands and smaller businesses with less marketing budget might be reluctant to try CTV ads.

There is a common misconception that advertising in CTV could exceed their allotted ad budget, and so SMEs don’t consider it worth the risk. 

According to the FICCI-EY report, by 2025, Connected TV is expected to reach 40 million viewers, so it is time that SMEs look into this option and broaden their reach.

As per Gee Ranasinha, the CEO of KEXINO, for a small market agency, the real cost lies in the creativity for entering into the streaming market.

He adds the real cost is in the ideation, if your SME invests in execution values and in-house talent one will find their way into the CTV ad platform too. 

From a general perspective, SME owners feel that CTV advertising will go beyond their budget, but on actually scratching the surface of the expenses involved, you will feel it is right up your alley in terms of budget.

2. Can’t decide between CTV versus linear TV advertising

According to several advertising experts, a brand can advertise on both linear TV and CTV as both of these target different segments of the audience. 

The business or advertiser can segregate as to what to advertise where and when. There are brands that prefer to run their traditional TV ads during a certain time, genre, or program depending on their target audience.

The same brand can advertise on CTV to reach a different set of audience for their premium products or services. 

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Traditional TV can help brands to reach a big audience and can target a nationwide audience. However, CTV advertising can help you to make better targeting through multiple channels.

This means that you can reach the right consumer when they are willing to explore the product or service.

Through CTV consumers can see your ad in their chosen platform, this gives them a feeling of intimacy and makes your message speak louder. 

Now with city-level targeting options, brands and advertisers have the benefit of targeting consumers on a city level.

So, you can now get the reach and popularity of TV and at the same time reach your target audience in the city of your choice.

Why CTV advertising  and SMEs are a match made in heaven?

Once you go CTV, you can never go back

We cannot emphasize more on the fact that CTV is everywhere. Internet giants like Amazon, Netflix, and Sony LIV are producing their own content and the convenience and fear of missing out on any new show are attracting more and more customers to join the platforms.

With internet consumption in India being boosted by the pandemic, the time is ripe for video advertising as households are quickly adopting CTV technology.

Caters to a young audience: CTV is clearly the future of video ads because of the young, tech savvy audience.

Gen Z and millennials love the content that is available on Amazon, Netflix, Disney+Hotstar, etc, and now even YouTube is allowing the purchase of episodes.

Most millennials now do not feel the necessity to get a conventional television package.

In fact, the young audience is inclined towards CTV only, as 67% are more likely to be in a connected Tv house only and 25% say that they won’t need a pay-TV (Source: 10th Degree). 

More Video ads with CTV: The CTV inventory available is less now, and most of it gets snapped quickly, but this is not a disadvantage for advertisers.

The growth of CTV is massive and is creating a great opportunity for video ads.

Drive More Sales With CTV Ads: As per Business Wire 2021 Report, it is found that CTV ads help to drive sales. Here are some facts that you may want to know:

  • CTV provides easy access to ads and purchasing options. More than 60% of consumers use their mobile devices to shop while CTV streaming. (Source: Business Wire Report)
  • The customers are aware that watching ads is a cost that they pay for a convenient and excellent viewing experience. Hence, ads do not bother them. 
  • The ability to target the audience based on the data these apps provide is much higher in CTV. This can provide the advertiser with a much higher ROI than traditional TV advertising. 

The one feature that sets Connected TV ads apart is the ability to incorporate advertisements directly into streaming apps.

Businesses who want to drive maximum profit can benefit from targeting the right audience that matches their ideal customer base and converting ad viewing into immediate sales.

Particularly, sales-driven brands and retail brands can benefit from CTV ads

To summarize, CTV advertising is a lot more than expanding your ad reach; it has the potential to allow SMEs to expand their reach and target the exact consumers they want.

All that SMEs need is a strategic plan for optimizing their ideas and marketing techniques to choose the right type of CTV ads. 

Why Brands are bidding high on CTV Advertising?

CTV or Connected TVs are currently one of the most steadily growing market segments in India. The prime factors that have led to a spike in popularity of the internet-enabled devices are-

  1. Increasing data penetration, 
  2. Affordability of smart TVs, and
  3. Availability of global content. 

The increasing numbers of CTV in the Indian households are slowly replacing the good old traditional TVs, especially across tier 1 cities.

According to the Mordon Intelligence report, The Indian OTT and Smart TV market in India is estimated to register a CAGR of 5% between 2021 and 2026. 

The transformation of the ‘old school’ small screen has now started to attract more and more advertisers by the day.

This is because brands and marketers now want to achieve the wide reach of TV with the intricate targeting advantages of digital advertising.

Hence, brands are betting high on CTV advertising in India– a medium which has already become quite popular in BFSI, E-commerce, automobiles, and OTT categories.

As Vishal Chinchankar, CEO of Madison Digital, highlights- “The smart TV shipments in India has grown by 65% Year-on-Year in 2021, with smart TVs constituting 80% of the total TV market during the 2nd quarter of 2021.

Hence, we can confidently say that Connected TV is going to be, in fact is already, a big disruption that we will encounter in the advertising industry.

Majorly this growth is driven because of the price, like you can get Smart TV in India starting at 15K, so many people are actively replacing their TV sets and buying connected TV instead.

In the last three years, there has been a three-fold increase in CTV ownership in households, and the number is expected to grow further.”

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Source: CTV India Report 2021 Mediasmart

Digital Precision & TV’s Reach

Connected TV has successfully blurred the lines between digital and TV (traditional media).

Advertisers too are exploring new avenues of CTV advertising, due to the audience reach and popularity of CTV amongst millennials and Gen Z.

This young, modern audience of Connected TV has a varied range of interests- making them open to new experiences in terms of products and services.

At the same time, they are savvy with exploring, experimenting and discovering with buying products online. 

As per industry experts, out of the almost 30 Mn CTV viewers in India, 80 Mn are cord-cutters.

The audience of CTV are predominantly urban, young adults who have high disposable income, and are more likely to make purchases.

Almost 89% of CTV users use social media actively, 82% use e-commerce platforms and 44% are gamers. (Source: E4M)

India Smart Tv Market
Source: Grand View Research

Why Connected TV?

1.High View-Through-Rate & Better Targeting

Industry experts are of the opinion that Connected TV is a combination of the power of linear TV with the precision of programmatic ads, which makes it an even more viable ad option for advertisers. CTV is said to have a VTR of greater than 95% and 100%. 

Shradha Agarwal, Strategy Head and COO of Grapes said, “One can measure CTV ads as well as optimize them in real-time.

Ad targeting is getting simpler these days because advertisers have data and preferences of shows that the viewers are watching.”

2.Multiple advertising options available

Unlike linear TV, Connected TVs offer the scope of experimentation with the type of ad the advertiser wants to put out. Two basic formats of advertising are-

  1. Display/ Native inventory and
  2. Instream videos. 

Advertisers also have an option to backlink the products to the ads, which in future may even support content-commerce. 

Instream video ads on apps and OTT are quite popular, with their scope to grow with banner ads on the home screens too.

This is an ad option space that TV brands like Xiaomi & Samsung as well as portable streaming devices such as Amazon Fire Stick are trying to fill. 

India is still young when it comes to CTV viewership but it is evolving fast and is on a rise, as we have discussed earlier.

We believe that there is potential for more growth. Industry sectors like real estate are going for banners and home page ads.

Slowly and undeviatingly content tech is becoming the next big thing, this means there’s room for innovation in terms of customization and user interaction. 

Advertisers still exploring the pristine opportunity

Connected TVs have a lot of benefits to offer to brands and advertisers, however advertisers are still warming up to the relatively new advertising option, in order to push their communications.

Some of the major challenges that are being faced by advertisers are the lack of knowledge and understanding of the medium & its metrics. 

Know how city-level targeting on TV works

Television has been one of the most popular mediums of advertising since its inception. 

While CTV advertising is a great opportunity for brands and advertisers, there’s still a mystery that lingers around how city-wise targeting on TV works.

TV is widely known for its mass and nation-wide reach, and has become a staple medium for advertisers who look for mass targeting, making it a major reason why small and medium brands avoid this advertising. 

What if we tell you that you can now do city-wise targeting on TV?

Through Connected TV you now have the option to target households and TV audiences on a city level.

Since it’s CTV, advertisers can target households and a particular region or city of their choice.

This means that one can use the popularity of TV, and do regional targeting, as per their preference. 

The performance of your ad campaigns can be determined by View-Through-Rate or VTR, which is the number of completed views on an ad over the number of initial impressions.

VTR is very similar to click-through-rate but it counts the number of views on the video ad. 

By advertising with The Media Ant, the best digital advertising agency you can get the daily reports of the impressions on your ad and the VTR.

Advertising on CTV not only gives you the option to target your audience on a region or city level, but also manage the frequency of your ads.

An advertiser can keep their frequency capacity as low as three, that is your ad will be displayed thrice to a single audience.

Hence, the chances of reaching out to a more unique audience becomes higher.

Advertisers can very easily choose the city they want to target and get daily reports in order to monitor their ad campaigns. 

City-level advertising on TV: A new path for marketers

This relatively untapped territory will give you the following benefits

1. Cost-effectiveness:  While normal TV advertising can be quite expensive, city-level advertising on CTV is cost-effective.

You can advertise with The Media Ant on Connected TV with a minimum billing of 4lacs, and get high visibility and 1 Mn free impressions.

So if you have not been advertising on TV due to a tight budget, CTV advertising is just the right thing for you.

2. Get exponential reach of TV: When you advertise on CTV, you get the opportunity to target on a city-level and even select the frequency of your ads, and all of this with the power of television.

TV channels in regional languages are gaining popularity, especially sports channels in regional languages are getting massive viewership.

So if your audience is region specific, this advertising option will not prove to be a disappointment.

3. Better targeting options: Television advertising is one of the most appealing ad options which attracts a wide array of brands, but targeting a niche audience or a specific region on TV is not possible.

However, CTV gives you the opportunity of better targeting options, you can easily select the city or region of your choice, and even determine the frequency of your ads. 

Ctv Opportunity For Brands
Source: CTV India Report 2021 Mediasmart

Who will benefit from TV ads on city-level?

1. Local brands: For years now regional brands have stayed away from TV advertising- mainly due to the high cost of advertising.

Moreover, the target audience for local brands are customers from a particular region or city. Hence, advertising on a national level might not be beneficial for them.

Although deep down, it’s every brand’s dream to advertise on a platform like television.

This is when Connected TV advertising comes into the picture- allowing these brands to target their audience from the very city that they are located in, or where they want to target.

2. Premium products: Majority of the Connected TV owners belong to Tier 1 cities and are premium customers, who are more likely to make purchases.

As per the CTV India Report 2021 by Mediasmart and the survey conducted by Vtion, 89% of CTV viewers are social media users, 82% are e-commerce users, 70% are music lovers, 44% are gamers and 42% are new app users.

Hence, we can say that brands looking for premium customers can go for CTV advertising to tap into the right audience.  

3.Test markets: City-level advertising can be a great option for test marketing, which is exploring the consumer response to a product or ad campaign by making it accessible to a limited market before releasing it on a wider scale.

Since you have the ability to target a small set of audience you can easily determine whether your product or service is getting the expected results or not and then take action accordingly.

The cost-effective nature of city-level ads on TV makes it even more adaptable to brands who are looking to target their test group. 

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Source: CTV India Report 2021 Mediasmart

Advertising options available for city-level TV ads

The Media Ant offers the following ad options/packages in CTV advertising for city level targeting-

To get more details on the packages, visit our Connected TV Advertising page.

Accessing Ctv
Source: CTV India Report 2021 Mediasmart

The Future of CTV Advertising in India

Needless to say, the advertising market is quite bullish regarding the future of Connected TV advertising in India, as the category of audience along with their preferences and behaviour is evolving over time. 

Though advertisers are tapping into the CTV advertising by advertising on apps and OTT platforms, the home screen still requires to get the attention of large-scale advertisers. 

City-wide geo-targeting that too on television is a big opportunity that is untapped by advertisers, and harbors a headroom for growth. 

Marketing experts are positive about Connected TV ads due to two reasons-

First, due to the high and fast penetration of smart TVs in India, even in the non-metro cities because of digital awareness and diverse OTT content. 

Second, the millennial and Gen Z audience are only used to VOD content consumption and do not prefer appointment viewing.

Talking about the overall video advertising market- the big giants have already entered the space, and it won’t be a surprise if CTV will replace the traditional way of buying ads in the future. 

Siddharth Dabhade, MD of MIQ says, ““By 2025, India would have about 80 million households with Connected TV. We would see a major shift of TV advertising budgets to CTV.

As the CTV tech stack improves, we would be able to measure cross-device conversions and apply very granular targeting criteria on CTV.

With time, we also see publishers adopting IFA as an identifier which would improve the supply chain dramatically. Right now, connected TV is a no-click environment, but with time, the functionality to click within an ad would also come up.” (Source: E4M)

We hope this article is useful for advertisers and brands. We would love to know your feedback. In case of any comments and queries, you can write to us at Help@TheMediaAnt.com

To get a better understanding of Connected TV advertising, you may also go through our Media Trivia: Indian Connected TV Report 2021.

This fun but informative quiz will help you get a deep insight into the Connected TV market in India and its growth in the future.

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