Gaming industry eyes TV & OTT broadcast for next level of growth

The sector has been abuzz since the announcement that Nodwin Gaming will be broadcasting a gaming tournament on a sports channel

e4m by Shantanu David
Published: Jun 27, 2022 8:35 AM  | 6 min read
gaming

Gaming industry eyes TV & OTT broadcasts for next level of growth



The sector has been abuzz since the announcement that Nodwin Gaming will be broadcasting a gaming tournament on a sports channel



Shantanu David

The gaming industry has been abuzz since the announcement that Nodwin Gaming will be broadcasting a gaming tournament on a sports channel. In a move meant to take esports to the masses at large, Star Sports will broadcast the Battlegrounds Mobile India (BGMI) Masters Series tournament, which kicked off this weekend and will play out till July 17th, in Hindi, Tamil and English on Star Sports 2.

Interestingly, while this is the first time in India that gaming is being broadcast on a mainstream sports channel as a major sporting franchise, it’s also setting the stage for the rest of the year, both on TV and OTT platforms. Gaming and esports will be introduced as competitive categories in international prestige multi-sporting events like the Asian Games 2022 and Commonwealth Games 2022, with increasing buzz surrounding the many different gaming tournaments that could soon be coming to a TV screen near you.

Addressing the same, Sanjog Gupta, Head – Sports, Disney Star, said in a statement, “Esports in India is a fast-growing segment which has seen accelerated adoption over the last two years. It is also gaining prominence in the ecosystem as a competitive sport. Esports competitions have already developed a niche following on digital platforms. As the preferred destination for sports fandom, Star Sports is always looking for opportunities to engage fans, galvanise communities and recruit new audiences.”

According to PwC's Global Entertainment & Media Outlook 2022-2026, India’s total video games and esports revenue was Rs 16,200Cr in 2021, and is forecasted to reach RS 37,535Cr by 2026, increasing at 18.3% CAGR. While still a fairly small market for the country’s size and population, India is the third fastest-growing video games market in the world, after Turkey and Pakistan.

Mitesh Kothari, Co-Founder and CCO, White Rivers Media, enthuses, “Major Indian gaming deals are happening as we speak. The rise of game streaming, particularly in India, is a reflection of the fascinating and growing prevalence of immersive experiences. Esports are already sitting on the throne on various streaming platforms, but the OTT streaming services are also planning to join the trend. Broadcasting gaming tournaments on OTT will create exclusive, differentiated content that will give them an edge and create greater value for consumers.”

Vishwalok Nath, Director, Esports Premier League, country’s first franchise-based esports league, asserts that the Indian gaming industry does not show any signs of slowing down when it comes to investments, tournaments, and new platforms. It is a great sign for the industry in breaching the mainstream while exhibiting excellent growth opportunities to highlight and nourish upcoming talent, athletes, and more. However, he feels that the journey is still in its first steps, with a long road ahead.

"Gaming companies need to ensure that they work both with the gaming community as well as other media platforms to increase awareness around their product to expand their market presence. Most companies are limiting their advertising and marketing efforts to either select media platforms or just the gaming community," he points out.

Similarly, Sandeep Patwardhan, Assistant Vice President, Enormous, believes that such collaborations and partnerships open up doors to a much larger user base, saying that engagement and revenues will surely flourish in the coming years, meaning brands that associate with such entertainment spectacles will get exposure to new mass markets. "Brands will have to find a social connection with TGs as the lines between entertainment and socialisation are blurring. Social media and gaming will have to merge for a complete digital experience," he explains.

Earlier this month, Adda52.com launched a digital ad campaign Khud Khelo, Khud Jeeto to entice its audience to choose poker as their mind sport. In this latest campaign, Adda52 has roped in prominent OTT celebrity Jatin Sarna aka ‘Bunty’ from Sacred Games, as the protagonist highlighting the benefits of playing poker. While poker has a very niche audience, the company wants to take it to the masses.

Siddharth Kothari, Brand Head, Adda52.com, says the communication hook is critical. “As a sales person, when you’re talking about the communication hook, it’s about getting through that door, it’s getting that introduction. After that it depends on what values you add to sweeten the deal. So we’ve switched our focus to getting that introduction, and then we look at adding value to that deal. If you concentrate too much on material offers, then loyalty becomes transactional. So we will be doing a lot more campaigns over the year to increase consumer engagement and familiarity with the game.”

Nath also says there is an ever-increasing need to bridge the gap between the gaming community and the mass media like TV, radio, and Print media. These means of media will allow them to push their marketing and advertising efforts to the mainstream. The companies need to expose the gaming community to as much mainstream as possible.

He adds, “The companies can also team up with esports tournament organizers like India Today Gaming to showcase their support in tournaments like ESports Premier League (ESPL), World Esports Cup (WEC), and more.”

Faraz Sayed, Director – Media Planning, Carat India, observes that the inventory available in esports team partnerships is similar to that of traditional sports. “Basic jersey branding also gives a generous amount of impressions and subsequent exposure. Fans are also interested in new sponsors and naturally gravitate towards those announcements in both cases. With sponsorship being quite new to esports compared to traditional sports, research studies are showing greater brand loyalty and consideration of sponsors who are supporting the teams, events, and industry,” he says.

“The obvious choice of deploying the might of social platforms with players’ influence can do wonders for the brand. However, establishing hybrid, cross-platform promotion is the key to creating a market presence. Going beyond the screen is also an option few brands get to enjoy, esports events have proved to be effective crowd pullers. This can be a crucial step in the O2O (Online2Offline) journey,” Sayed concludes.

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