“Oath is redefining the future of video programming and advertising”
Yahoo and AOL are now combined under Verizon to form Oath and Gurmit Singh, VP & MD, Yahoo India is overseeing and providing the new direction to Oath’s business in India. Oath also happens to be an umbrella brand for some well known digital brands such as HuffPost, Netscape, TechCrunch, Yahoo!, Flickr, Tumblr, Flurry and many more. Nonetheless, it’s a challenging environment in which Oath has to make a mark. In an interaction with Gurmit Singh, we found out about the digital major’s challenges, opportunities and its strategy!
How do you see the digital advertising trend in India and where would you place Oath and its various brands within this canvas?
Digital has gained huge ground with marketers in India, and is expected to grow by 12.5 per cent in 2018, according to Industry reports. With the increasing demand for cross-screen experiences from Internet users and availability of high-speed networks at a lower cost, mobile marketing is a huge opportunity in India.
At Oath, we’re building the best mobile experiences for consumers and clients across the globe with mobile content, trusted mobile data that performs and ad tech built specifically for mobile.
The biggest change with Yahoo becoming a part of Oath is that the portfolio has now become a larger footprint. With AOL integrated within Oath, the combined brands reach one billion people around the world.
Our portfolio now comprises of dynamic media and technology brands including HuffPost, RYOT Studio, Yahoo Cricket, Tumblr, Yahoo Finance, Brightroll, Flurry, and Gemini to name a few. Together our focus is to build deep consumer experiences with our existing brands, launch new products and services on mobile and video and continue to grow our partnerships.
With killer mobile content across categories like news, finance, sports, and lifestyle. And with one of largest mobile companies in the world, Verizon, as our parent company, we’re aiming to put our brands on every mobile screen.
What are the service/product offerings you have which could be especially useful for Indian companies/brands or general consumers?
Oath is a house of 50+ media and technology brands. We have brands that tell real stories (HuffPost, Yahoo News, and Yahoo Cricket) and brands that deliver them (BrightRoll, RYOT Studio). We believe that the platform shift to mobile in India is a very strong opportunity for us, and we are invested in making the Oath brand more deeply engaged with the younger audience.
We understand our users and build products which they would love. Our focus is to get mobile-first products and deliver not just apps, but inspiring mobile experiences for our users. In India, we refreshed the Yahoo Cricket app in Q4 last year to deliver the best consumer experience. With a refreshed design, lightning fast scores, rich content and unique ‘Moments you missed’ and ‘Ball in Play’ features, the app is the one-stop destination for cricket lovers to not just follow but enjoy the game. In less than four months of the refresh, the app has touched 1 million downloads on android, with an average rating of 4.9 on play store. As of last week, the cricket app is now available in six other markets namely South Africa, UAE, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
We have also introduced Native Ads on both android & iOS.
Our powerful news brand, HuffPost has a local edition in India. From gender to politics and lifestyle to entertainment, HuffPost India focuses on the range of issues that audiences in India care about most. Globally, HuffPost engages with an average of 170 million monthly readers – nearly 60%of HuffPost’s audience is outside the United States. Huffpost was ranked as the #1 publisher on Facebook in 2017.
With regular updates we offer personalization across our core properties, offering a better way to consume, engage and discover the quality of content that people come to expect. Our recent revamp of Yahoo India homepage along with updates to Yahoo Finance and Yahoo Lifestyle for India market was our way of offering a refreshed and unified experience to our users.
And as we launch new experiences and products on mobile, we’re also reinventing the ad experiences with a mobile-first ethos. If 2016 was the year of VR and 360-video, and 2017 was the year of AR, then 2018 will truly be the year we see immersive format consumption rise to the next level — whether it’s VR, AR, MR, AI, vertical video or any other premium content. Keeping that in mind, we recently launched RYOT Studio, a next-generation creative studio offering a premium end-to-end content marketing solution that brings brands’ stories to life. It is fuelled by rich customer data, scaled distribution, premium publishing and award-winning creative expertise.
Our mobile brands are trusted brands, from breaking news on HuffPost to the latest scores on Yahoo Cricket. We’re committed to creating trusted content for our users, along with brand-safe environments for our partners.
What is OATH’s strategy to compete with competitors like Facebook and Google?
Oath is a digital and mobile company driving the global consumer brand space. We combine powerful technology, trusted content and differentiated data like no other – this is our differentiator from key competitors. We now have the scale we need to compete.
Our strategy is to put our amazing brands on every screen in the world. And to get there, we’ll build deep consumer experiences, keep launching new products and services, and continue to grow our partnerships in ways that consumers see and feel.
What is your growth strategy for Oath? What does the road ahead look like for 2018?
Oath’s strategy is to build brands one billion users around the world love, and India is one of our key markets. One of our goals is to reach 2 billion users by 2020 and with over 450 million Internet users and counting, we foresee many of our new users coming from India.
There is an infinite amount of potential for our products, members and partners. We’re engineering a unified ad tech stack that’s built for mobile to maximize results for our partners across screens and formats including native, display, search, video and more.
In 2018, we will roll out our new platform globally as well as for the Indian advertisers, differentiated through mobile-first investments and first-party data activation.
What are the opportunities that you seek in the video space?
Worldwide, mobile video has witnessed the biggest growth in digital advertising this year and this shows no sign of abating. The explosive growth of digital video is of no surprise to us in India, as the medium spreads seamlessly across screens and devices but what no one fathomed was how quickly mobile has challenged desktop as the primary choice for video viewing.
A global research study which states consumers making digital video a habit – 92% watch videos online every day and 88% watch more video now than they did a year ago.
Oath is redefining the future of video programming and advertising. With video at the forefront of internet consumption we are ensuring that consumers are able to access video – through superior tech stacks, innovative and emerging new ways to experience video and engaging, profitable content. With our brands such as RYOT, we are building deep consumer experiences in this space – for instance, RYOT offers editorial partnerships that tap into the world of immersive video to keep people informed, and have even landed major award nominations while doing so.
We believe in creating compelling content that attracts premium advertisers and providing access to programmatic video advertising. Our focus is therefore on building our existing foundation of video delivery such as Gemini Video which allows advertisers to exploit video advertising on native while improving reliability and performance and launching new products to deliver high quality, personalized video experiences online. Our focus will continue to remain in this space.