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Disney+ Hotstar’s ‘Pause Ads’ Enables Brands To Tap Into Most Engaged Audience Cohorts Non-Intrusively: Dhruv Dhawan

In conversation with Marketing Mind, Dhruv Dhawan, Head of Ads at Disney+ Hotstar discussed the innovative 'Pause Ads' feature recently introduced exclusively for its Connected TV (CTV) feed. He emphasised that this format is an industry first format in India, targeting subscribed CTV viewers, a premium audience segment. Dhawan further pointed out that CTV audiences exposed to pause ads have demonstrated a 26% higher engagement compared to an average CTV user.

| Published on June 20, 2024

Disney+ Hotstar’s ‘Pause Ads’ Enables Brands To Tap Into Most Engaged Audience Cohorts Non-Intrusively: Dhruv Dhawan

Disney+ Hotstar recently introduced an innovative advertising feature called ‘Pause Ads‘ exclusively for its Connected TV (CTV) feed, making it the first platform in the country to launch this advanced format.

According to Dhruv Dhawan, Head of Ads at Disney+ Hotstar, advertisers on CTV can greatly benefit from this advertising feature as it addresses various needs, from building brand awareness and recall to highlighting specific features, USPs, offers, and more.

A pause ad is an advertisement displayed when a user pauses the content. In conversation with Marketing Mind, while explaining the key highlights of the new Pause Ads feature, Dhawan highlighted that this is an industry first format in India and will reach subscribed CTV viewers which is the premium audience.

Moreover, the ad will show up almost immediately after a pause event and will stay on the screen till the video is unpaused by the viewer.

Movie MS Dhoni in frame with Pause Ad of Saffola

Usually, viewers have been seeing mid-roll ads in the middle of the video content on various OTT platforms and YouTube as well until now.

Dhawan pointed out, “Traditional video ads are often seen as an interruption to a user’s viewing experience, often resulting in user drop-offs. In the case of Pause Ads, the ads come up only upon user action, allowing us to display ads while preserving the viewing experience and ensuring they remain non-intrusive.”

“CTV audiences exposed to pause ads have demonstrated a 26% (Hotstar internal analytics) higher engagement compared to an average CTV user, which means that with Pause Ads, a brand can reach out to the most engaged audience cohorts. These ads do not disrupt the user’s viewing experience but rather the ad blends seamlessly with the same, ensuring no impact on user retention levels,” he added.

There are three variants of Pause Ads available including Immersive Pause Ads, which blend with the background providing a seamless experience, along with Rectangular and Square Pause ads which are compliant with standard ad guidelines.

Movie MS Dhoni in frame with Pause Ad of Tang

Dhawan emphasised, “Considering this is a premium placement in our SVOD content, the rates are marginally higher but still accessible to advertisers. The biggest advantage is that Pause Ads are non-intrusive as they appear during user-initiated breaks.”

He also highlighted that all their advertisers on CTV can benefit from Pause Ads, as it can solve for a wide range of use cases starting from building brand awareness and recall, to communicating very specific features, USPs, offers, and much more. Thus, this format is appealing for various industry verticals.

“We are always looking to introduce newer avenues for advertisers to engage with their target audiences. The share of CTV in India is increasing, and one of the typical user behaviours we see on CTV is pausing a video. Also, CTV is a household device that allows multiple users to consume the content. We identified this as an opportunity to help brands reach out to these households in a seamless fashion during the paused content scenario,” he added.

In conclusion, when discussing emerging trends in digital advertising that Disney+ Hotstar is monitoring closely, Dhawan said, “We are seeing our advertisers focus on regional content which is in line with the growth being witnessed in content consumption across regional languages. First party data targeting is also something that a lot of our advertisers are focusing on.”

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