FeaturedOpinionPartner content

High demand, by DMS’s Ramy El Kassis

DMS’s Ramy El Kassis explains how to plan for Ramadan 2022 within a fragmented VOD landscape.

Media consumption has undergone rapid transformation over the last few years, driven by the developing digital landscape and lockdowns. The rise of on-demand and streaming platforms has revealed that more and more users are moving away from being passive consumers and taking control of what, when and how they consume media. While this trend does challenge the future of linear TV, viewers are ready to shift to VOD. However, the infrastructure, content limitations and technology might be holding it back. This holds particularly true during Ramadan when family, togetherness and community form the cornerstone of brand communications. With millennials and Gen Z expected to consume even more media during the Holy Month by complementing their TV consumption with VOD platforms, brands must be agile, present, up-to-date with trends, and responsive in their marketing strategies in order to create awareness and connect with their audiences.

With multiple VOD platforms currently available, the content remains key to increasing media consumption throughout the Holy Month. According to Ipsos, 50 per cent of users are willing to try out new platforms during Ramadan as long as the content resonates with their viewing habits. However, with an increasing number
of VODs hiding their content behind paywalls, limiting brands’ ability to reach their audiences, many will have the option to opt-in for AVOD offering free to air content. Moreover, to extend prime time TV consumption, brands will need to shift their focus to when, where and what the consumer is consuming, rather than time slots.

As the streaming war rages on a global scale, the MENA region is preparing for a battle of its own, with global and local players alike contending to develop an on-demand proposition. Deloitte predicts that globally 150 million people will unsubscribe from various SVOD services this year. In light of the fragmented media environment, this will only empower AVOD players to hit their stride. As for brands, they will need to ride the wave to reach the right audience, at the right time, in the right context.

The right users

Despite having market-leading products, brands that are not delivering to the right users will face negative implications. Based on the data DMS has collected, VOD users tend to be parents, Gen Z, and young professionals who are interested in luxury, parenting, style, fashion, technology and sports. As early adopters of VOD, they have an ‘entertainment’-focused mindset and are highly engaged. Their attention span exceeds anything we have previously seen in the world of digital video, and the proof lies in their engagement, attentiveness and receptivity to ads during late-night binge-watching sessions.

The right time

To plan efficiently and effectively, it is imperative to understand users’ daily consumption patterns. The consumption of VOD and video by users tends to start increasing in the afternoon and continues until late at night. This reflects the nature of regular VOD users, particularly parents, who after a long, busy day want to disconnect and enjoy their ‘me time’. For advertisers, this is a great opportunity to tap into the most valued inventory in the ad market and lift their brand metrics, maximise their views, measure effectiveness for better ROI, and as a result tick all the right boxes in the digital playbook.

The right context

A better understanding of when, where and how your audience consumes media and the ability to activate these insights is what will allow you as a brand to identify ideal media channels for reaching your consumers.

In today’s fragmented VOD landscape, developing a personalised strategy that affects specific audiences wherever they are most likely consuming video is essential, especially during the month of Ramadan. At DMS, we have signed exclusive representation deals with VIU, the number one streaming platform in Asia. VIU has amassed about 8 million unduplicated users (UUs) in the MENA region in just four years, along with 177million minutes of Ramadan content being consumed during the Holy Month. VIU is producing five Ramadan originals and 15 titles overall this year in response to an increased appetite from audiences for high-end content creation. In addition, Awaan (Dubai TV’s exclusive VOD platform) will extend its TV line-up by offering on-demand viewing across connected devices. Combined, along with Zee 5, we hope to extend our reach by 8million UUs in the GCC, with an average of 65 minutes being spent per session, mainly on mobile devices.

In conclusion, to remain top of mind this Ramadan and be relevant to consumers, marketers must refine
their targeting, be agile in their theory and keep a continuous rhythm on consumer media consumption habits.