Insights from CTV Ad Days MENA 2023
A comprehensive coverage of 8 sessions about CTV Advertising
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TV and OTT advertising: How can brands target their consumers?
IAB MENA CTV Whitepaper
Live sports advertising in the era of streaming
Are streaming video ads more effective than linear TV’s?
Smart TV OEM markets opportunities in MENA
Connected TV: Agency and media partners integration
Audience behaviour and measurement in MENA region
Harnessing the power of FAST TV channel in MENA
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The CTV Ad Days MENA 2023 event focused on exploring the current trends, challenges, and opportunities in CTV and OTT advertising in the Middle East and North Africa region. It brought together industry experts, technology leaders, and advertising professionals to discuss audience behavior, ads effectiveness, the impact of streaming, and the rise of FAST in MENA.
I summarized for you the 8 sessions:
1. TV and OTT advertising: How can brands target their consumers?
The panelists collectively emphasized the shift from traditional to digital advertising, highlighting the importance of local content and understanding regional audiences. The central role of data in advertising was a recurring theme, underlining the need for transparency, detailed consumer data, and the incorporation of data for targeted advertising. They also discussed the challenges in monetizing OTT platforms and the evolving nature of TV advertising, including potential growth in CTV. The discussion underscored the dynamic landscape of CTV and OTT advertising, emphasizing the need for innovation and adaptation to current market trends.
Hamad Malik discussed the transition of advertising from traditional to digital platforms, emphasizing the significant role of local and regional companies in understanding their audience more effectively than global platforms. He highlighted STARZPLAY's strategic positioning in this landscape, focusing on content that aligns with family values and regional preferences. Hamad also pointed out the challenges of achieving scale beyond the major platforms and underscored the importance of data in enhancing targeting capabilities for OTT advertising.
Hamid Davari tackled the misconception about the obsolescence of TV, presenting data to show that linear TV consumption remains robust in the region. He argued for the enduring effectiveness of CTV as an advertising medium and discussed the challenges related to data transparency. Hamid emphasized the accurate and comprehensive data that are already available at OSN to inform advertising strategies.
Mazen Mansour emphasized the critical role of data in the advertising landscape, providing insights and statistics to demonstrate the shift towards a video-first market. He discussed the challenges faced in OTT advertising, including the predominance of mobile usage and the absence of effective monetization strategies on many platforms. Mazen highlighted the importance of understanding regional video consumption patterns and the potential for a more data-driven approach in CTV advertising.
Jeremy Bradley provided insights into the evolving TV market, stressing that the medium is changing rather than disappearing. He highlighted the significance of brand-safe, premium spaces in CTV broadcasting and the vital role of local content. Bradley also discussed the potential growth in CTV advertising and the integration of data into advertising strategies, foreseeing the emergence of a single measurement currency and a convergence in CTV advertising.
2. IAB MENA CTV Whitepaper
The IAB MENA CTV Whitepaper presented by Richard Fitzgerald offers a comprehensive overview of the Connected TV landscape in the MENA region. It includes a section on qualitative research on CTV approaches among IAB members, an in-depth analysis of CPMs comparing the US, Europe, and MENA, and various case studies highlighting best practices.
The paper discusses key market players, streaming devices, and measurement companies. It notes a wide CPM range and addresses the absence of major players like Netflix and Disney+ in MENA.
The whitepaper encourages participation in the IAB Task Force to further understand and develop the CTV market.
3. Live sports advertising in the era of streaming
The panelists emphasized the significant role of live sports in driving subscriber growth and advertising revenue in the streaming era. Hamad discussed STARZPLAY's strategic approach to acquiring and leveraging sports rights, while Freddy shared VUZ's innovative use of immersive 360-degree content to enhance the sports viewing experience. Both highlighted the importance of understanding audience preferences and the need for platforms to offer more than just live broadcasts to maintain viewer engagement.
Hamad Malik detailed STARZPLAY's substantial investment in sports rights, particularly in cricket and football. He highlighted the platform's extensive cricket rights portfolio, including major leagues and tournaments. Hamad also mentioned other sports rights, such as rugby and golf, acquired in partnership with Etisalat and Abu Dhabi Media. He emphasized the importance of being selective in rights acquisition, aligning them with the platform's objectives to drive subscription and advertising revenue. Hamad shared an anecdote about the significant subscriber acquisition driven by key football matches, underscoring the power of sports in attracting viewers.
Freddy Farhat focused on VUZ's unique approach to sports content through immersive 360-degree videos. He described how VUZ provides behind-the-scenes experiences in sports, targeting younger audiences, particularly Gen Z. Freddy mentioned a partnership with the European football leagues and their work with local influencers to create content around matches, offering fans new perspectives and experiences. He stressed that this immersive content complements traditional sports broadcasting by providing a more engaging and personalized experience.
4. Are streaming video ads more effective than linear TV’s?
The panelists underscored the critical importance of understanding specific audience behaviours and preferences in the choice between streaming video ads and linear TV ads. They agreed on the need for a holistic advertising strategy that encompasses both linear TV and streaming platforms for optimal reach and effectiveness. The discussion focused on the transition to more data-driven advertising approaches, the rise of streaming ads, and the challenges in assessing their effectiveness relative to traditional linear TV advertising.
Andrew Ene, representing the agency's perspective, discussed the strategies for targeting audiences based on a brand’s objectives. He noted that linear TV is often the primary tool for driving broad reach, particularly for brands aiming to engage a wide audience base. However, for targeting younger demographics or for specific audience segments, CTV is increasingly relevant. Andrew stressed the importance of a diversified investment in media to effectively capture audiences beyond the scope of linear TV.
Elio Khoury shared insights from the broadcaster’s viewpoint, presenting data that showed linear TV's robustness in the MENA region, especially with significant viewership on MBC channels and the growth of their streaming platform, Shahid. He suggested that OTT platforms complement traditional TV, advocating for a presence across both mediums to effectively target the entire audience.
Raja Yazigi, speaking from the perspective of a global brand, discussed how L'Oréal tailors its media strategy to target various audience segments across different brands. He described a shift towards a digital-first media mix, while still maintaining a significant presence in traditional linear media, depending on the specific brand and category needs. This approach aligns media buying with consumer behaviour to ensure effective reach and engagement.
5. Smart TV OEM markets opportunities in MENA
The panelists highlighted the significant growth and diversification in the smart TV market in MENA. They discussed the shift in consumer preferences towards larger and more sophisticated TVs, the importance of creating an integrated ecosystem for smart TV content, and the evolution of advertising strategies towards more targeted and data-driven approaches. The conversation underscored the need for innovation in both technology and content to meet changing consumer demands and enhance the overall viewing experience.
Mohamad Sharif Oubaid discussed the evolving consumer behavior in buying TVs, emphasizing the trend towards larger screens and smart features. He noted that consumers are looking for ease of use, multi-device experiences, and affordable options, with preferences varying across different MENA regions. For example, in the Gulf area, consumers lean towards more sophisticated technologies like 8K, whereas in Egypt, there's a notable shift towards larger TVs at affordable prices. Mohamad also highlighted the role of storytelling in advertising on CTVs, focusing on providing quality and relevant content to enhance the customer experience.
Eren Zeybek explained Vestel's approach to creating an ecosystem that supports both hardware and software for smart TVs. This includes understanding what audiences are looking for and tracking this information to improve future products. He also discussed the importance of content creators and advertisers in this ecosystem, emphasizing the need to support diverse content from various global sources.
Roxana Nicolescu shared insights into the shift of advertising towards CTV, highlighting its ability to solve major marketing problems like reaching audiences that have moved away from traditional TV to more on-demand content. She mentioned that CTV allows for better targeting measures and omnichannel strategies. Roxana also discussed the change in content strategy towards storytelling, tailored to each stage of the consumer journey, making advertising more relevant and effective.
6. Connected TV: Agency and media partners integration
The panelists highlighted the growing importance of CTV in the media landscape, discussing the need for better integration between agencies and media partners. They emphasized the importance of understanding the CTV market, navigating the challenges of inventory creation and client education, and exploring innovative ways to enhance client engagement. The discussion underlined the need for a balanced approach to prevent the cannibalization of linear TV revenues while capitalizing on the opportunities presented by CTV.
Richard Fitzgerald, as a publisher, described Augustus Media's approach to ad tech and streaming services, particularly for Smashi TV. He discussed the balance between creating inventory and meeting customer needs, emphasizing the importance of understanding the market size and infrastructure. He highlighted the challenges in building inventory and positioning, noting the need to educate consumers about CTV and find the right price points.
Joe Lahham shared insights from the creative agency perspective, discussing the limitations and potential of CTV for client engagement. He talked about the seasonal nature of client investment in CTV and the challenges in visibility and engagement on the platform. Joe emphasized the need for more interactivity and engagement options to enhance the creative potential of CTV.
Jad Saab outlined Shahid's strategy in integrating standard and digital media. He discussed the approach of balancing profitability on linear TV while driving expenditure towards digital formats, particularly CTV. Saab highlighted the importance of not cannibalizing linear TV revenues while encouraging clients to explore digital opportunities.
David Do Rosario spoke about the media planning challenges in CTV, emphasizing the need for educating media planners and strategists. He noted that CTV offers a unique opportunity for small and medium clients to access the big screen, which is typically out of reach due to high entry costs on linear TV.
7. Audience behaviour and measurement in MENA region
The speakers discussed the importance of adapting to changing consumer behaviors and the challenges in measuring the effectiveness of various media channels. They highlighted the need for a unified approach to measurement, considering both traditional and digital platforms. The conversation underscored the importance of understanding audience behavior, integrating data across channels, and employing innovative measurement techniques to accurately gauge advertising effectiveness.
Vipul Jain discussed the intersection of branding and performance in advertising, emphasizing that consumer perception doesn’t differentiate between the two. He highlighted TikTok's success in blending branding and performance, enhancing both demand creation and fulfillment.
Bassem Hoss spoke about the changing media landscape, particularly how consumer behavior dictates media selection and the importance of an adaptable media mix. He discussed the challenges of measurement in the current ecosystem, particularly in the context of cookieless browsers and the need for more sophisticated data analytics.
Samer Akhter highlighted the lack of expertise across different media channels and the importance of integrating data to create a unified consumer journey. He pointed out the gaps in current measurement practices and the need for a more holistic approach that encompasses all aspects of consumer behavior.
Ziad Issa emphasized the importance of measuring effectiveness, attribution, and relevance in advertising. He advocated for a standardized metrics across all platforms to accurately measure consumer behavior and the impact of different media channels.
8. Harnessing the power of FAST channel in MENA
The guests highlighted the evolving dynamics of the FAST market in the MENA region, discussing various strategies for content distribution and advertising. They emphasized the importance of understanding audience preferences, leveraging technology for dynamic ad insertions, and exploring innovative formats and partnerships. The conversation underscored the need for a clear definition and approach to FAST, considering its growing scope and potential in the region's media landscape.
Dr. Naser Refaat discussed Rotana Media Group's journey in implementing FAST, including the challenges and learnings encountered. He emphasized that FAST, whether traditional linear channels with digital ad breaks or purely digital channels, is characterized by streaming content with dynamic, targeted advertising. Dr. Naser explained how the scope of FAST is expanding to include various formats and technologies.
Mais Halaseh described Weyyak’s approach to FAST, including the launch of specific genre-based channels such as Weyyak Drama and Weyyak Action. She highlighted the process of testing different channel formats and content types to cater to diverse audience preferences. Mais also mentioned the recent launch of single IP channels based on popular content from their platform.
Shujah Farooq discussed OTTera’s experience in the FAST space, including powering household channels and monetizing them globally. He shared insights on the distribution and monetization strategies employed for FAST channels, highlighting the recent launch of their FAST platform in MENA: “Tarfeeh TV”.
Arnaud Verlhac provided insights from the perspective of a service provider offering end-to-end solutions including satellite service, IP delivery, cloud services, and FAST. He emphasized the strategic importance of FAST in MENAFLIX's offerings and his role in business development across the MENA region.
That’s all for today, the key discussions from 8 sessions at CTV Ad Days MENA 2023 event. If you enjoyed this breakdown, please consider sharing it with your friends and colleagues.
I hope everyone has a great week and see you online next Monday. Until then, enjoy Blood Coast on Netflix. A vicious drug dealer tries to overtake Marseille, a rogue police captain and his daredevil team welcome a new recruit with an agenda of her own.
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