Amagi Media Labs, the Ad tech company is all set to launch the Thunderstorm OTT Ad Insertion service in India by October. This technology has already been deployed in the UK and US markets, it will help subvert the ad-blockers by stitching ads on the server side. It works in real time and inserts ads seamlessly within the content stream and renders the ad blockers ineffective. With more than 30 OTT players in India, all of which lose about 60% of their ad revenue to ad blockers, this technology will bring a significant change. Globally, the publishers are estimated to lose nearly $35 million to the ad-blockers by 2020. The Amagi Media Labs is creating solutions for the Indian market while the indigenous OTT players are currently trying to beat the ad-blockers themselves.
The problem about ad blockers is that the advertising is not relevant or interesting and this cat and mouse game between the ad tech companies and the ad blockers will continue until the advertisers start generating relevant experiences that deliver some value to the end consumer. In Dec 2016, Amagi raised $35 million funding from Emerald Media. The company plans to invest into research and development in addition to the expansion and adoption of the CloudPort technology across the international markets. The founder mentioned that they are also focusing on Amagi Mix which is a media buying platform and the targeted advertising service for both online video and television space. This needs a lot of content sign ups which the company is working on in India and globally. The company is expecting a 2 to 2.5 times growth over the next one year.
One of the roadblocks for Amagi’s targeted advertising technology is the content sign ups. Targeted advertising will bring a platform that allows clients to start product planning at a regional level. When that happens, the media planning behaviour needs to change and when that changes, the fundamental unknown for TV channels is about how the national advertisers will react to this change. Amagi is in talks with channels to on board them and most of this advertising is growth advertising or incremental revenue that is coming on the platform. It is not just using the existing national spend with the regional spend but growing on top of the needs as well.
Among the large Indian TV networks, Amagi has Colors, Zee and Star in its Geo targeting portfolio. With a total of 23 channels that have signed up so far, Amagi hopes to add five more to the bouquet. It reaches out to about 17% of the Indian audience and their long term goal is to reach out to at least 35 to 45 percent of the audience. Amagi has covered the GEC and news segments, and now is hoping to leverage the Geo targeting space to Sports segment since it has tremendous potential.