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Week In Review: Project OAR Looks To Make Addressable More Real, Netflix Expands Lower-Priced, Mobile-Only Plans To India

1. Project OAR Looks To Make Addressable More Real

Project OAR was launched last week as a Vizio/Inscape-led initiative to make addressable linear TV advertising happen for networks. It’s particularly notable in that it has a whole lot of big guns on board—CBS, NBC and ABC, Discovery, AMC, Hearst and Turner, plus Freewheel and Xandr.

Why It Matters

Making linear addressable happen has long been a problem for the networks who have no direct connection to their customers—that connection is owned by the MVPD and the odds of those two playing nicely together is fairly nil.

The immediate promise of Project OAR is that networks will be able to insert addressable ads into live TV shows using Inscape’s ACR (automatic content recognition) technology. That’s a similar play to the one Nielsen should have via its newly acquired Sorenson technology.

The greater promise of Project OAR however, is that a majority of the key players in the industry are joining forces to actually make addressable happen. If Open AP was indeed “baby steps” then Project OAR is “giant steps.”

Regardless of how the technology stack eventually evolves, having the major players in the industry—including ad tech players like Freewheel and Xandr—on board from the start is a huge win. It means that meaningful standards are likely to be introduced and that they will immediately see something close to industrywide adoption.

This is key, because as we learned in our new special report on ad-supported OTT (download your copy here) one of the biggest issues marketers and ad buyers are facing in regards to both addressable and OTT is that there are no standards and that comparing all the different data sets and options the various networks and platforms and devices have created is next to impossible and so many just avoid buying it altogether.

So there’s that, and the hope that since almost every major network is already involved, the others will follow suit and some sort of standardization will happen in a way that makes it easier for agencies and brands to actually buy addressable linear advertising. That’s important because (as we further note in our report) the impending Flixcopalypse is going to take addressable from a ripple to a wave, and linear TV needs to be able to keep up with it.

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re Nielsen, you should probably think about joining forces with Project OAR. Having two competing systems makes no sense, OAR is much bigger than Sorenson, as Vizio has many more viewers than LG, and having the Nielsen name on the project would make it seem even more official.

If you’re Viacom and Fox, time to get on board too.

If you’re a consumer, be happy, because the end result should be fewer, better targeted ads for you.


2. Netflix Expands Lower-Priced, Mobile-Only Plans To India

Somehow Netflix decided that it would be a good idea to charge something close to US $10 for its service in every new market it entered, even those markets in the developing world where $10 is a sizable chunk of many people’s monthly incomes.

Predictably, they’ve been struggling to gain traction in those markets, especially since local ad-supported competitors have only been all too happy to come in at a much more affordable price point.

Why It Matters

To remedy that, Netflix rolled out a mobile-only plan in Malaysia last year, that cost around US $4 each month. The plan must have been working, as they recently announced that they would be rolling it out in India as well.

It will be interesting to see how that goes over, as local favorite Hotstar (owned by Sky India) currently has about 70% of the local SVOD market, compared to Amazon’s 5% and Netflix’s 1.4%

The other interesting piece here is that while Netflix is cutting its monthly price in half, to 250 rupees (US $3.61), Hotstar and Amazon are still considerably cheaper, priced at 199 rupees ($2.88) and 129 rupees ($1.86) respectively, which is a huge gap in a country like India.

If consumers don’t perceive Netflix to be a worth an extra 50 rupees per month, that will greatly handicap Netflix’s growth in one of the world’s largest markets, at a time when international growth is critical for them, given that their U.S. growth has slowed down and will likely slow or even drop slightly in the wake of the Flixcopalypse.

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re Netflix, you might want to lower your prices some more, or at least come out with a marketing campaign that explains to Indian viewers why you are worth the extra money.

If you’re everyone else, time to get out the popcorn and see how this plays out.