The need for innovation & engagement on cricket news platforms: Avinash Mudaliar

Guest Column: Mudaliar, Chief Product Officer, Network18- CricketNext, explains what all can cricket news apps and websites do to keep their users engaged

AvinashMudaliar

The rage caught on much before the economic boom in the 90s and when advancements in internet and communications were a distant dream. Cricket for Indians was never just a game, it’s a religion! It merits an unmatched fan following in the country where fans play, watch, read, write, share, and talk about the sport. From the age where one got his daily dose of cricket action from the radio, changing times and trends have led to countless cricket apps blossoming in the digital space that help the users stay updated about current tournaments, players, teams, stats, and basically everything about the game, all at the click of a button.

 It is this thirst for wanting to stay connected to 'The Gentleman's Game' that has led to the rousing success of these cricket news apps and websites.

 

Keeping Up With The Changing Trends:                           

 So what is it that makes these apps so interesting and engaging for the avid cricket buff/fan? Here are the core reasons as to why these cricket news platforms need to stay updated on the sport:


Provide real-time content

In sport, real-time coverage and updates is of utmost importance, thereby making it extremely crucial for these cricket news platforms to provide 24x7 real-time updates on the game. Ensuring that the consumer doesn't have much cause for concern, apps need to be creative and in sync with the latest trends, user preferences, the quality of content and options for the users to stay engaged. By involving the user right in the thick of the action through multiple interactive options, these apps have managed to engage the fan in a manner no medium could previously achieve, leading to the increase in the amount of time the audience spends on such apps.


Provide GPS-based Services

To cater to the modern-day consumer, who is constantly on the go, these cricket news platforms now provide location- based services and information to their users. This leads to the audience receiving notifications about various events happening around them like autograph signings, weather updates, player interviews, game statistics etc. which gives the fan an immersive, intriguing and engaging experience.


Push Notifications

These cricket platforms offer push notifications to their users based on their searches and preferences on the apps. They also give the users the option to customise the notifications and updates that they wish to receive which makes the user experience more personal, selective and interactive.


Mobile Gaming

Many apps provide in-app fantasy gaming options to their users which helps in the increase of user interaction and engagement. The users can now play games in various formats, create their own teams, and even earn rewards through competitions and tournaments held on these platforms.

With these apps keeping their strategies with the customer at the core, New 18’s CricketNext implemented a campaign named Jumbo XI. This saw the cricket website, one that receives a substantial readership and following amongst cricket lovers, engage its audience in a manner where they were required to pick 11 phenomenal Indian Test players who played with Anil Kumble.


Offer E-tickets or Mobile-Tickets

These platforms offer online ticketing facility to the users where they can buy tickets to various matches, tournaments and events. The payment is done online via a secured link resulting in the fan getting the ticket on the app or in their email inbox. The idea behind this is to make people’s lives easier and provide them options that are less time consuming.

 

Integrate Virtual Reality in Apps

This is a fairly new concept which a lot of platforms are experimenting with. The idea is to give users a near-reality experience of a game, giving them a stadium-like watching experience when in fact they are watching the match sitting at home. These technological advancements have made this dream a possibility, and the fans love this latest innovation.

 

Run Contests and Offer Prizes

With regard to cricket news apps and platforms, attracting the customer through contests with luxurious prizes helps in audience engagement, keep them on their toes, and give them a fun-filled experience. For this, many platforms offer quizzes, online gaming tournaments and fun games to give their users a fun-filled and engaging user experience.

One such example is CricketNext who, for their Jumbo XI contest, kept a grand prize that every cricket fan wanted to win. Eleven lucky winners would have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to watch India take on New Zealand in a T20 on an all-expense paid trip.  

The technology is constantly evolving, and so are the cricketing platforms. In a world where users are always demanding for something new and innovative, it is a tough task for the platforms to keep up with these growing expectations. They are doing everything they can to stay ahead in the current competitive environment, where everyone wants to attract users to their platforms. So far, they have all managed to do a commendable job in this respect. What lies ahead remains to be seen, as the technology will keep evolving, and so will the platforms and the user expectations. Whatever happens from here on, it will be a win-win situation for the fans!


(The author is Chief Product Officer, Network18- CricketNext)

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way represent the views of exchange4media.com

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