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Understanding OTT Prime Time During Ramadan

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As Muslims worldwide prepare for the holy month of Ramadan, the biggest event on the Islamic calendar, brands look to tap into one of the busiest ad seasons of the year. In the wider APAC region, over one billion people will be observing the festival. In line with Ramadan’s spirit of giving, ad campaigns champion messages of empathy and togetherness to build rapport with consumers during a time of hope, compassion and solidarity.

While emotive, relevant ad creatives are crucial, ad distribution to the right audience is just as important. Ramadan is prime time for OTT (“over-the-top” media delivered via the internet) viewing. Advertisers will miss out on engaging audiences in a premium environment if they don’t consider OTT as part of their media strategy.

Understanding the importance of Ramadan

Ramadan typically sees increased purchase activity in preparation for fasting and the family and community iftars at the end of each day. Consumers gain greater spending power with bonus payouts in countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia during the month.

Research by TTD/YouGov has highlighted Ramadan as an ideal time for brands to win new consumers, with 56% of Indonesians interested to learn about new brands as part of their Ramadan shopping. Significantly, one in three Indonesians learns about new products and promotions for Ramadan from ads on TV streaming platforms.

While Nielsen research showed a rise in Ramadan TV viewing and ad spend throughout Asia in 2020, the after-effects of pandemic lockdowns are likely to see an even higher increase in online services from streaming entertainment to online shopping.

Ramadan rise in OTT viewing

The month of Ramadan also sees an uptick in people watching streaming media. In Indonesia, 47% of people watch TV series and movies online, with 69% also shopping online. OTT services also report a big uptick with WeTV reporting a two-times increase in OTT viewership during Ramadan 2021, and Vidio a 115% growth in daily active users and 154% increase in watch duration during festive seasons, including an increase in youth consumption and male audiences.

In response, many OTT streaming platforms roll out exclusive Ramadan entertainment content, such as religious series or variety shows that look to engage with people during the festive season. This drives higher content engagement with opportunities for brands to advertise across contextually relevant content.

Local and original content is particularly popular. For WeTV, local original content retains the top spot throughout the Ramadan season. Vidio’s original series are also highly ranked, with the top four series generating more than 42 million views. To drive further interest in the video streaming platform, Vidio offers certain Korean shows for free during Ramadan.

Changing consumption during Ramadan

The sawm (fasting) routines during Ramadan change consumer shopping and viewing behaviour. There’s an uptick in categories such as online services, communications, food and (non-alcoholic) beverages, but a decline in categories such as beauty, fashion and travelling, perhaps as more people stay at home spending time with their family.

The times that people are gathering and consuming television and streaming media also shift, offering brands multiple windows of advertising opportunities. Nielsen describes “a golden engagement opportunity” for advertisers between 5 am and 6 am, when overall TV viewing soars 451%, with reach growing to more than 1 million Malaysians. 

Magnite’s client, Vidio also observed interesting trends in predawn hours with an increase in 2-4 am viewing before the pre-dawn suhur meal, with video viewing peaking from 7-8 pm following the iftar sunset fasting break. While Indonesian based Emtek Digital advises brands to use these peak hours of engagement on Vidio to stay connected with consumers.

Data drawn from Magnite’s platform also shows a clear increase in viewing later in the day from 3-6 pm, with Indonesian consumption 47% higher during Ramadan, and while mobile remains the main viewing device, CTV screen consumption doubled during Ramadan 2021 due to more sociable family viewing on the big screen.

A perfect opportunity for brands

The opportunities to capture captive audiences can result in highly successful OTT executions during Ramadan for brands.

Last Ramadan, mobile telecom operator XL launched an OTT campaign that increased audience ad recall while driving purchase consideration with post-ad purchase intent to buy the “Paket Akrab” Ramadan internet packages increased by 18%, according to Magnite’s brand lift study.

Brands who tap on the OTT opportunity this Ramadan, in a respectful and relevant way, will maximise media budget returns. Internet-delivered content should be top of mind for every marketer.

By Gavin Buxton, Managing Director Asia, Magnite

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