Women gamers & streamers changing gaming landscape in India: Are advertisers taking note?

Women are carving a niche for themselves in the online gaming space as gamers, streamers, game developers or entrepreneurs and that is helping to change the stereotypes, stakeholders say

e4m by Kanchan Srivastava
Published: Mar 10, 2022 8:36 AM  | 6 min read
gaming

The gaming industry in India has seen tremendous growth over the last two years with the increasing digital penetration and internet usage. The in-gaming advertisements in India are very few and largely driven by male influencers. Gaming was largely perceived as a male-dominated space until sometime ago. Now, women are carving a niche for themselves in the online gaming space as gamers, streamers, game developers or entrepreneurs.

When it comes to in-gaming advertisements, it is still a male-dominated turf. A recent report by Consultancy firm Ernst & Young says that the Indian domestic market for online gaming is estimated to reach $2 billion in 2023, representing a CAGR of nearly 22 percent. The report predicts online gamers in India are estimated to grow from 360 million in 2020 to 510 million in 2022.

According to the ‘Think with Google APAC – Play like a Girl Report, 2020’, nearly 18% of all gamers in India are women and their number is increasing at a faster rate than male gamers. Women roughly account for ⅕th of this community.

 “Very few women streamers in India have got brand collaborations but male influencers are plenty. Most plum assignments go to male streamers only despite our popularity on gaming platforms and good fan following on social media,” a popular women streamer said, requesting anonymity.

Not only streamers, even women gamers feel that brands are not marketing enough to them even as women’s gaming sessions are longer than men and they shop more on online platforms and apps compared to their male counterparts. This creates a big marketing gap and Indian brands can rise up to the occasion.

Several D2C companies such as Amazon Prime video, Paytm, Mx Takatak, Netflix and Coin DCX have taken the gaming route to promote themselves on the highly engaging gaming platform.

Sanjana Bhattacharya aka ‘iamBLACKHORSE’ says, “I hardly get any in-game advertising opportunities. Once, I got body shamed and also got compared to another woman while getting a deal. Apart from that, when major competitions happen, I only see male creators being favored.” “However, times are changing. I see more and more organizations and brands now are eager to work with women and make them their brand ambassadors,” Bhattacharya added.

Aparna Shukla aka ‘Rogstream’, says biases against women are very common in Indian society and gaming industry is not an exception. “Gender stereotypes trigger biases that perpetuate discriminatory mindsets and behaviours. To mitigate such biases, we will have to encourage more and more participation of women in gaming.”

Radhe Joiser aka ‘Little Drunk Girl’ says, “The pandemic has played a prominent role in the growth of female streamers. Soon we will also see female streamers achieving new heights.” 

Rahul Vengalil, Managing Partner, Isobar, a dentsu group company, says, “In-game advertising is still in its infancy in terms of the enormous market. Very few brands are advertising on gaming platforms as of now. Perhaps that's why the gender gap looks large.”

Scenario is changing: Brands & Advertisers

The popularity of female streamers is helping to change the stereotypes that are often attached with female gamers, stakeholders say.

Gaming as an industry continues to expand its relevance and presence in the country, streaming is all the rage, and is pulling in extraordinary numbers, says Aparna Tadikonda, Executive Vice President (South), Interactive Avenues.

Tadikonda further said, “Five years ago, it was unimaginable for women to look at online gaming as a career option. But today the space offers a bright future for women from all walks of life. With more visibility online and an army of followers backing them up, women are not only claiming the ecosystem but also shaping it to become more forthcoming, gender-neutral, and sensitive.”

“Women gaming artists are working closely with the product and the data teams so we need to normalize this trend as is in other industries and not be taken by surprise because it has been a male-dominated industry,” she added.

Hufriya Tara, Associate Vice President of Lowe Lintas, admits that the portrait of a gamer is still riddled with the stereotypical image of a nerdy teenager in his dark bedroom playing PUBG. “However, gamers like Payal Dhare and Shagufta Iqbal aka Xyaa are professional streamers with a massive following across social media and gaming platforms. They work as influencers for big brands like HP, Logitech while creating gaming content for companies like Nvidia. Having said that, the PC Gaming industry is still a male dominated industry, but it is evolving and with that the opportunities will also broaden,” Tara noted. 

Are women streamers getting equal remuneration? Tara said, “There is no denying that there is a heavier need for the policy framework to cater to the needs of women gamers. Remuneration also largely works on the views per stream which should help in bridging the pay gap.”

Arnold Su, Business Head, Consumer & Gaming PC, System Business Group, Asus India, says, “While the gaming industry has been dominated by male players for a long time, female gamers have also seen a significant rise and have plenty of brand prospects as well.”

Su admits though that women gaming influencers get fewer opportunities than men. “According to top data aggregators, women account for about 40% of the gaming population. While there is a difference in preferences for titles and content types, as well as consumption techniques, the number of female gamers is steadily increasing. In fact, because the quantity of female influencers in the game industry is comparatively lower than that of male influencers, there are more opportunities per influencer.”

He asserts that ASUS is constantly working towards empowering female gamers.

“Last year, we conducted a campaign with two popular Valorant streamers and professional players, Sway and Meow16k, in which they competed in a ROG mystery challenge against other elite players. We have come up with a first of its kind – #WomenInEsports – an all-Women ROG Showdown online tournament on Valorant, ahead of International Women’s Day,” he further added.

Piyush Kumar, Founder & CEO, Rooter, a gaming and esports community, says, “The revenue coming from game streaming in India would be around USD 300-400 million. Women gamers and streamers are making their way to the bigger picture.”

“As a leading game streaming platform, we strongly believe in diversity and inclusivity and firmly understand the need for a gender agnostic approach. In fact, we host prime girls streaming events almost every weekend, exclusively for female gamers. Lately, they have also introduced a plethora of women-centric stickers and giveaways on the app,” Kumar said. Kumar further added saying that Rooter is planning to hire more than 1000 female gamers in the next three months setting a new benchmark in the gaming universe.

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Meta and MeitY team up for digital safety campaign

Meta has also launched #DigitalSuraksha on Safer Internet Day, with several new initiatives for online safety

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 7, 2023 4:35 PM   |   5 min read

meta

Meta today announced its partnership with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) for the G20 Stay Safe Online Campaign. As part of the partnership with MeitY, Meta will create and share helpful resources in multiple Indian languages through various channels, to spread awareness on how to stay safe online.

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The resources under the G20 Stay Safe Online will cover themes such as tackling online frauds, how to report harmful content, tips to keep yourself safe when interacting online and more. India is at the cusp of becoming a $ trillion digital economy and at the time when India is holding the G20 presidency, this strategic partnership will not only support and equip the existing Internet users but will also be beneficial for the rapidly increasing new Internet users in India.

Speaking on the partnership, Akash Tripathi, CEO, MyGov said, “Under PM Modi’s vision of India’s Techade, we are witnessing rapid digital adoption and with this growth, there is a need to create easy to access tools and resources to protect users from increasing cyber crimes. We, at MeitY, have designed a Stay Safe online campaign in this year of India's G20 Presidency and we are glad that tech companies like Meta are taking a lead in supporting the government’s vision of building an inclusive digital space which is free of severe online threats.”

On Safer Internet Day, Meta has also launched #DigitalSuraksha campaign builds on the company's efforts to offer a safer and inclusive internet to everyone.  The first phase of #DigitalSuraksha includes a partnership with Delhi Police to provide digital literacy to users in Delhi. The current phase of #DigitalSuraksha also includes a slew of measures on enabling digital education and literacy across youth well-being, child safety, tackling misinformation as well as the overall education of users towards various safety tools and resources available across Meta platforms.

Natasha Jog, Head, Public Policy, Instagram and Policy Programs, Facebook India (Meta), said, “The G20 Presidency opens up a great opportunity for India to design and create an ever-inclusive Internet model for the world, and we are excited to partner with the Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology in this endeavor. Creating a $1 trillion digital economy requires an ecosystem that is safe and empowering and we will support the government’s campaign by providing users with education, tools and resources to protect themselves in this rapidly evolving digital world.”

Providing Digital Literacy

Law enforcement agencies are a critical partner in ensuring online safety, under its #DigitalSuraksha campaign Meta will work with the Delhi Police on a 2-month long programme to provide digital literacy to 10,000 students across various schools and colleges in Delhi. Further, Meta and Delhi Police will jointly build resources to educate users about protecting themselves against online/ digital scams. As part of this partnership, Meta will also train Delhi police personnel on Meta’s various safety tools.

The #DigitalSuraksha campaign finds expression through a Digital Nagrik Pledge, which was also launched by Meta today, encouraging people across India to become responsible digital citizens (Nagriks). Built on Meta’s partnership with CBSE to provide Digital Citizenship course to 10 million students and 1 lac teachers, Digital Nagrik Pledge will further support the Indian Government’s objective to ensure an open, safe, trusted and accountable internet. The goal of the program will be to get 1 million people to pledge and to become safe digital citizens over the next one year.

Building Consumer Awareness

Underscoring the critical importance of educating users, Meta has also unpacked a series of consumer awareness initiatives on the tools and resources available for people to stay safe.

Building on the partnership with Delhi Police, for a period of one month, Meta will wrap one train on Delhi Metro’s Yellow line to educate users about safety tools available for them on Meta’s platforms.  Commuters will be redirected to Meta’s safety tools through a QR code.

A new ‘Help protect children. Don’t Share. Don’t Comment. Report.’ campaign was also launched, to prevent the sharing of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and encouraging people to report such content instead. The campaign will educate users on the harm of sharing CSAM, and the impact it has on the victim and will encourage anyone who sees harmful videos and images of children to protect the victim by reporting it immediately to Facebook. The new campaign builds on the ‘Report it, don’t share it,’ campaign launched by Meta last year.

This year’s theme for Safer Internet Day underlines a crucial aspect of supporting young children by having conversations on life in the online world. With an aim to support and encourage meaningful conversations between parents and children around critical topics like use of social media, mental health and digital wellbeing, Meta has launched UnGap. A series of six episodes, UnGap is a chat show featuring pairings of well-known parents and children that includes actor Sheeba Chaddha and daughter Noor, actor Ahsaas Channa and mother Kulbir Badesron, comedian Abhishek Kumar and father Sundar Baalaji  and entrepreneur Roshan Abbas and daughter Ayatal Abbas, among others.

Additionally, an awareness campaign on ‘tips for tackling misinformation’ was also launched with Yuvaa, through short videos. Available in Hinglish, 15-second campaign videos will feature six simple tips and tricks on tackling and identifying misinformation.

Meta will continue to add more initiatives to the #DigitalSuraksha campaign over the year. These will be geared towards reaching a larger set of users by educating them, creating more awareness and advancing India’s agenda of digital inclusion and growth.

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Nicobar awards digital media mandate to First Economy

The digital marketing agency will undertake the brand's media strategy and overall media buying across all the digital platforms

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 7, 2023 3:48 PM   |   1 min read

nicobar

Lifestyle brand Nicobar has awarded its digital media mandate to First Economy. The digital marketing agency will be responsible for the brand's media strategy and overall media buying across all the digital platforms. 

To reach the masses, the brand specifically wants to promote its collection and uphold its position in the market through performance-driven marketing. 

"During the inception of Nicobar, we always had a brand in mind that stays unique in this world of over-flowing repetitiveness. Nicobar, with its distinctive products, has always made its consumers happy and satisfied. To help the business grow, we wanted someone who had a great reputation for handling performance marketing. First Economy stood up to all our expectations." said Raul Rai, Co-founder, of Nicobar. 

First Economy has served many prestigious clients and delivered promising numbers to them by upscaling their growth charts. "Performance marketing has always been our strongest point and we have proved ourselves time and again. With this alliance, we wish to add value to the brand’s journey ahead and look forward to bringing a change in the lifestyle industry, " said Jigar Zatakia, Founder, of First Economy Pvt. Ltd. on acquiring Nicobar’s performance media mandate.

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Pocket Aces lays off 20% staffers

Co-Founder & CEO Aditi Srivastava has said via a social media post that the company is taking steps to keep the operating model resilient

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 7, 2023 10:01 AM   |   1 min read

Pocket Aces

Pocket Aces has said that it will be laying off nearly 20% of its total workforce.

The pink slips are being given to staffers from the content and production teams, as per reports.

Aditi Srivastava, Co-Founder and CEO of Pocket Aces said in a LinkedIn post that the company has to take “difficult but necessary steps to keep operating model agile and resilient.”

The company runs digital channels like Filter Copy and Dice Media. It recently raised funding from Sequoia India, DSP Group, and 3one4 Capital.

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Centre forms panel to mull if competition law needed for digital companies

A parliamentary panel has earlier recommended that there is a need to act against anti-competitive behaviour in the digital market

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 7, 2023 9:04 AM   |   1 min read

Digital

The Centre has formed a special committee to consider if there is a need for a separate competition law pertaining to digital companies, media networks have reported.

This comes after a parliamentary panel recommended the need to act against anti-competitive behaviour in the digital market.

It has also been suggested that a law be put in place to ensure a fair and transparent system.

Towards the end of last year, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur informed the Rajya Sabha that over 2,800 digital news publishers have furnished information under the Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code of the Information Technology Act, 2000 rules. These rules provide a code of ethics for digital media publishers.

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Google Bard, direct competitor to ChatGPT, announces soft launch

Bard, which is based on Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), was test released earlier than expected in direct response to ChatGPT

By Shantanu David | Feb 7, 2023 7:26 AM   |   3 min read

google bard

The AI arena continues to heat up with Google announcing the imminent launch of Bard, its director competitor to Microsoft-backed ChatGPT, which has recently taken the world by storm.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced the soft launch of the AI to "trusted testers" in a blog post on Monday, Feb 6, US Time.

Pichai wrote, "Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models. It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses. Bard can be an outlet for creativity, and a launchpad for curiosity, helping you to explain new discoveries from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to a 9-year-old, or learn more about the best strikers in football right now, and then get drills to build your skills."

Bard, which is based on Language Model for Dialogue Applications (LaMDA), was test released earlier than expected in direct response to ChatGPT, developed on Open AI, which has been heavily backed by Microsoft (the tech giant recently announced a further  USD 10 billion investment in the technology and said it will be introducing it to a suite of its products including but not limited to MS Office, Bing among others).



ChatGPT has been making headlines, and indeed writing the news, with the conversational AI having been used to do everything from writing code and composing music to writing college essays and news articles to even passing business and law school exams, all at the prompting of a few words.

This is a huge potential risk to Google Search, the foundational product of the tech titan and a major contributor to its revenue through the advertising and preferential placement of products on its search pages.

As Pichai wrote, "One of the most exciting opportunities is how AI can deepen our understanding of information and turn it into useful knowledge more efficiently — making it easier for people to get to the heart of what they’re looking for and get things done. When people think of Google, they often think of turning to us for quick factual answers, like “how many keys does a piano have?” But increasingly, people are turning to Google for deeper insights and understanding — like, “is the piano or guitar easier to learn, and how much practice does each need?” Learning about a topic like this can take a lot of effort to figure out what you really need to know, and people often want to explore a diverse range of opinions or perspectives."

While tech enthusiasts have celebrated its achievements, several academicians and researchers have urged caution, with several universities even changing the format of their entrance processes so students can't use the AI to write their college application essays. And while this article hasn't been written by an AI (yet), watch this space for more.

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Will Google announce ChatGPT's rival on Wednesday?

The company has sent out a YouTube invite, indicating plans to strengthen Search and Map, possibly by incorporating the AI chatbot

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 6, 2023 1:09 PM   |   2 min read

google

Google is expected to announce its chatbot technology as early as on Wednesday as it responds to the success of ChatGPT, a Microsoft-backed AI chatbot that has caught global attention over the last three months.

The tech giant has scheduled a 40-minute event for Wednesday 8 February (7 PM IST), where it is expected to reveal its plans about incorporating its own AI chatbot (LaMDA) in Search, Maps and other products to make them interactive.

“We're reimagining how people search for, explore and interact with information, making it more natural and intuitive than ever before to find what you need. Join us to learn how we're opening up greater access to information for people everywhere, through Search, Maps and beyond,” reads the description of Google's YouTube invite for “AI-Event”.

Giving a hint in this regard, Sundar Pichai, the Chief Executive of Google’s owner, Alphabet, said last week during earning calls that the use of AI had reached an “inflection point” and the company was “extremely well positioned” in the field. He also spoke about making these language models available in the “coming weeks and months” so that people could engage directly with them.

The Google spokespersons are silent about it though, perhaps to create more suspense around the launch.

LaMDA shot to prominence last year when Google suspended and then dismissed an engineer after he went public with claims that LaMDA was “sentient”.

Large language models such as LaMDA and the one behind ChatGPT are types of neural network, which mimic the underlying architecture of the brain in computer form, and are fed vast amounts of text in order to be taught how to generate plausible sentences. ChatGPT has become a sensation after being used to create all sorts of content from school essays to job applications.

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Public support is much appreciated, tweets Musk

The CEO has posted about the last months being tough due to the struggle to keep Twitter from going bankrupt

By exchange4media Staff | Feb 6, 2023 12:43 PM   |   1 min read

Musk

Elon Musk has spoken of the last three months being "extremely tough". On his official Twitter handle, he said that it was difficult saving Twitter from going bankrupt while handling Tesla and SpaceX.

Musk even asked for support from the public, saying that he wouldn't "wish that pain on anyone".

Musk has been taking several measures to appease advertisers after many of them have walked out of the platform.

Late last week, he announced that Twitter would be sharing revenue for ads appearing in reply threads. This is, however, for creators who are Twitter Blue subscribers.

 

 

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