Online Rummy digital ad spends to grow nearly 2 fold this year from 2019’s Rs 700cr

The Rummy industry, valued at Rs 2,200 crore and growing at 34% CAGR, also focuses on advertising on content-based platforms

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Jan 28, 2020 9:56 AM



The digital advertising world has a new player spending big bucks. Online card game - Rummy - seems to be playing the right cards and accounts for half the business of online gaming in India.

In 2019, the Rummy fraternity made investments to the tune of Rs 700 crore on digital advertising and experts say 2020 will only see this number going up further.

As it turns out the online rummy industry is rapidly growing in India and currently caters to over 5.5 crore players from across the country. The industry is currently valued at around Rs 2,200 crore and is growing at 34 per cent CAGR.

Players like Junglee Rummy, Rummy Circle, Passion Gaming, Ace2three and many others have taken to advertising aggressively in the digital medium to unlock the untapped potential of the online rummy business.

According to Deepak Gullapalli, Founder and CEO, Head Digital Works (Ace2three), “Close to 30 per cent of the industry revenue is being spent on advertising because we need to educate our clientele and create awareness about the game. At the moment, communication is the key area of investment for the industry.”

Gullapalli further says that there are two types of customers — the one who knows how to play the game but isn’t aware that it can be played online too and the other who is aware but doesn’t know how to play it. “Our marketing campaigns are structured between these two set of customers. Video advertising on the digital medium is helping us establish rummy as pure entertainment and that has no association with gambling.”

In 2019, Ace2three spent 20 million dollars on digital advertising which is close to 100 per cent of their annual marketing budget.

While the digital medium has been helping the rummy fraternity reach out to online gaming lovers, content-driven platforms works best for the industry. Confirming this was Trivikraman Thampy, Co-founder and CEO, PlayGames24X7. “We use a lot of Facebook. The bulk of our audience is male and above the age of 25. While we allow anyone above 18 years of age to come play rummy online, we generally target those between 21 and 35 years, and Facebook allows us to target our prospective customers accordingly. Alongside Facebook, Hotstar is being aggressively used especially during the times when they air sporting events such as the cricket World Cup.”

Thampy’s estimates are that the investments in advertising will grow anywhere between 30 to 40 per cent in 2020.

But will the industry be able to afford that kind of investment in advertising?

Answering that query was Rahul Bhardwaj, Co-founder of Junglee Rummy. “Given the rate at which the industry is growing, rummy will be a Rs 4,000 crore entity by the end of 2020, and if the industry grows to double the size so will the investments in advertising,” he said.

Junglee Rummy already has faces like Prakash Raj, Rajpal Yadav, Saurabh Shukla, Rana Daggubati and others on board and this year they plan to double what they spent on advertising in 2019.

On what kind of advertising works for rummy, Bhavin Pandya, Co-founder and CEO, Rummy Circle says: “We have different creatives for different states because we try to make our advertisements contextual. If we do an ad in Gujarat, we will integrate it with something that is culturally trending in the area. For instance, we work with regional film stars of the state in question.”

According to Pandya, while the South is a market rummy players have already cracked, the northern market is still untapped and the players are trying to make inroads there.

Rummy advertisements have no specific guidelines to follow but the industry goes by the code set by The Rummy Federation (TRF). TRF is an independent industry body that aims to facilitate online skill gaming and rummy operators to adopt a common set of standards with the goal of building a self-regulatory framework that helps to protect player interests.

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