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Consumption of video-on-demand video content has surged globally, with consumers turning to streaming platforms during a year that’s forced people to connect with media and others digitally, faster than ever before.

With South East Asia’s internet usage dominated by mobile phones, the impact that has on future trends is undeniable. The Drum brought together experts including Rishi Bedi, vice president, SEA, Japan, and Korea from InMobi alongside Laura Quigley, senior vice president, APAC at IAS and David Sky, director of advertising operations at True Group, to discuss why over-the-top (OTT) is the next frontier for programmatic.

To view the whole session, register to watch on demand here.

Mobile is where the growth is

InMobi’s Bedi offered a look into why mobile is such an influential force in OTT’s future trajectory, “If you look at the broader proposition of OTT, it says video on demand, and it doesn't mean you're on-demand anytime, it also means anywhere. That's where mobile comes in.

“Where people are travelling, commuting across cabs or through metros, or are just waiting for something, just like they used to play casual games earlier, we see a lot of content consumption during these small snippets of times that people get between their daily routines when they're busy,” he added.

Bedi says that of the partners that InMobi has on the OTT side, many are reporting over 80% usage on a mobile phone  this year. Coupled with that, the time spent on mobile is also growing by over 60% this year.

“From the user base on mobile, it's the lion's share, and also the scale or increase in time spent it is significantly higher on mobile platforms,” he said.

5G and the importance of infrastructure

On the panel was True Group’s Sky who gave the perspective from an OTT platform. He said growth was also coming from aspects such as set-top boxes and computers, but slower because it is so reliant on the broadband infrastructure.

“Having a connected TV product is part of the future-proofing and protecting that user base and the consumer base, but also the share of advertising revenue as well. The viewership still much smaller and the market share still much smaller than linear TV, but it's growing. True has developed both an Android TV device and also a hybrid box, which is a set-top box that has both IPTV and traditional cables, as well as internet-driven options for consumers. The growth of connected TV will be driven by access to broadband and also the speed of broadband. True’s 5G has recently launched here and that uptake is starting to happen, while the National Broadcasting body of Thailand reported this year that 50% of Thai households have fixed broadband. Once the infrastructure is in place in most households then connected TV will naturally increase,” he said.

The importance of brand safety

The context of OTT being around channels and the fact that the usage of devices is very fragmented means brand safety is a big focus for advertisers, according to IAS’s Laura Quigly. She said the same rules apply to traditional digital buying, but the context can be even more important.

“It's another way of buying so the same principles of what you apply to your traditional digital by should be applied to the OTT space. The one thing I will say is, obviously, it is different to just buying display. This is because you're not necessarily thinking about audiences, you should also be thinking about channels, what channel am I running on? Is it appropriate for the consumer that's about to watch this, you know, is the ad relevant for the contents that that's going to follow? With mobile being the number one device and then desktop following, brands need to really think about the device that you're running on as well. We're hearing a lot of this shift from safety to suitability, and it is about making sure it's contextually relevant or suitable,” she explains.

To hear even more insights about why OTT will be the new frontier for programmatic and digital media, watch the full session on catch-up now.