‘If you are thinking of gaming, cricket is an obvious choice’
Anuraag Srivastava, Co-Founder & COO, Rainshine, spoke to exchange4media about launching Ulta Fullta, India’s first cricket Digital Game Show and it's integration with the World Cup
A recent KPMG report said the online gaming market in India has seen a tremendous growth and the revenues have nearly doubled over a period of four years, reaching Rs 4,330 crore in FY18. The revenue is expected to grow further at a CAGR of 22.1% from FY18-23 and reach Rs 11.88 crore soon.
Talking about the genesis of the cricket game, Anuraag Srivastava, Co-Founder & COO, Rainshine, said: “Well at the end of the day, it’s cricket and India lives on it. if you want to launch a concept, it’s hard to see how you can avoid cricket and Bollywood in India and if you are thinking of gaming you just can't think of any better game, so that was an obvious choice."
Talking about Ulta Fullta DiGs being an exciting proposition for cricket lovers, Anuraag Srivastava said: “At a very fundamental level, we have tried to tap the normal excitement that comes back with cricket. So in India, at one point we have hardcore cricket fans who engage deeply with cricketers and with cricket, but there are also people who are very casual and are necessarily not aware of every detail of the match. But at least we have a general view about some five players in the tournament. So it’s about only choosing those five players who will do well and who won’t because here the viewpoint comes from friends from a WhatsApp group, and thus it is one of kind of a game as everything else is made for somebody who truly knows about cricket.
So who form the Target Group for the game? As per Srivastava, “The target audience are the casual cricket lovers who are surrounding the cricket buffs. The hard core cricket fans must be 0.5-1 crore in India, while the casual cricket fans must be 3 crore people around them.”
Talking about the integration of the Ulta Fullta game with the real matches during the World Cup, Srivastava said, “So the game is basically integrated with the World Cup as it is played and how the players score or not score. We integrate the scores as per the performances and based on that the person or a team scores. So as the match is being played, you will know if you did right in choosing a team or a player or not. We give you a certain pool of points to set up your team, and you can also switch teams although there are penalties for it and you do lose out on points."
Talking about the Ulta Fullta game, Srivastava said, “The game is very simple, the users open the game and have to create two teams - UlTA 5 & FULLTA 5 - by predicting five underperforming players and 5 best performing players respectively. We will tell you whom to select, and there are not infinite options. So you have to select 2 ballers, 2 batsmen and 1 all-rounder in FULLTA and also you can’t select all top players, so it is a mix of best and the normal and in ULTA you are also selecting 5 non- performers who are considered to be great players but in your opinion are not good performers. The teams will not be restricted to any country. To win it’s important to have a team line up selected across the cricket teams playing in the World Cup. So the teams are selected through out the World Cup and you can also change the teams if you wish in the middle of the tournaments. The point is to select whom you consider your favourite, he is good or not, but since you have heard of him you can include him in your team."
Ulta Fullta.com is supported by a first-of-its-kind talk show 'ULTAFULLTA cricket show' partnered with YouTube Sports Tak, Sony LIV and Daily Hunt. The show will be hosted by television actor Nakuul Mehta and will feature top cricketers, comedians, and young fans discussing the winners of the last match and predicting the ULTA 5 and FULLTA 5 players for the upcoming match as the episodes will air prior to every cricket match of the World Cup.
Elaborating on the digital reality show format, Srivastava says, "The show is 15-18 minutes long and will consist of multiple segments. The first segment talks about the players of the Ulta Fullta game who are doing well or not. So there could be any local boy who could be good in selecting the team. We will call him to talk about how he had selected the team. The second segment includes banters between an expert and a non-expert. The third segment is about the fans whom we will shoot outside the studio and bring them on the talk show.”
Talking about key digital partners, Srivastava said: "We have a tie-up with SonyLiv. We also have a tie-up with Daily Hunt, the largest independent platform after Facebook and Google. We are officially carrying it on YouTube Sports Tak.”
Which are the key markets of the game?
“The game is for the global market and it is for the Indians who are watching the World Cup. So we may want to take it to the US since right now there is a very high appetite in the US for the games and very soon we will launch it in the UK. But right now the show is targeted to Indians here.”
Talking about launching Ultafullta.com, which behaves like an app when it's opened but is not an app in itself, he said, “It was a deliberate strategy not to launch an app because our distribution partners cannot take an app technically and open it, while our website URL can be opened on SonyLiv and other digital platforms.”
ULTA FULLTA Digs will see Nakuul Mehta, standup comedian Varun Thakur, Gully Boy composer Ankur Tewari and cricketers Irfan Pathan, Ajit Agarkar and Snehal Pradhan.
Talking on marketing the show, Srivastava said: “Largely we are using digital and celebrity influencers who are not really part of the game but are excited about it. Rainshine entertainment has many artists who can also join the DiGs to make it fun, like Vir Das and many more whom we manage."
On '#AbHarPlayerJeetega' campaign’s prize money, Srivastava says: “The main sponsor and the official rewards partner is Flipkart, while we do have associations with Hardrock cafe and the prize money is around Rs 75 lakh."
On the viewership expected for the game, he said: "It's about combining 13 active matches where if everyone logs in, the kind of viewership that we are expecting is 2,50,000 to half a million daily with roughly 0.25-0.5 crore registering for the game."
Sharing his insights on where India stands in the gaming landscape and what's still missing, Srivastava said: "I think India is already moving towards gaming, especially kids or teenagers between age of 10 and 13. They are a very large part of the marketers currently. What is still missing in India, as compared to the US and UK is the games that adults can play. So some of the new games in the fantasy league are being built for the adults. India has less than 0.5% market share, which can be looked like an opportunity to consider since it's really small. Also, the Internet users of India are only 30% of the world, where the content viewership is 50% of the world, but gaming lacks in it."
On the way ahead towards improving gaming in India, "There are two associations in place already to promote gaming but I think individually produced high-quality games made for the Indian audience is the way ahead. Need is to produce really high quality of games as per the global standards because if we see the madness about gaming globally, it's about very high-quality gaming that we don't have."
"We have children games on Google Play and App Store which has 26-30 games already released catering to children up to the age of 6. We have plans to create games for 9-year-olds and this is our first attempt for 13-year-olds. We don't have anything for those in the 9-13 group."
Srivastava signed off by talking about breaking the clutter and the possibilities about a digital cricket league too. "The gaming market belongs to US companies, so to break the clutter we thought of launching a digital game show. I see a great possibility of having a digital cricket league very soon, since youngsters today more than know to play the game on and off the field.”
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