Paid Internet users poised to grow from 50 million to 100 million soon: Sai Srinivas

At the e4m Pitch CMO Summit 2021, Srinivas, Co-founder and CEO of MPL, discussed how the digital shift caused by Covid has fuelled growth for digital brands

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 1, 2021 4:53 PM
Pitch CMo

Brand love is one of the most powerful marketing strategies marketers use for growth during an economic downturn. In normal times, brand love brings about price premium, brand loyalty, and brand advocacy. During a crisis, when every rupee counts, it is the differentiating factor that determines whether a consumer spends with you or goes elsewhere. Quite befittingly, the theme of the Pitch CMO Summit 2021 is "The Power Of Brand Love”. 

At the event, marketers from across verticals looked at brand love as the perfect remedy against the pandemic consequences.

The event kickstarted by the keynote speaker Sai Srinivas, Co-founder & CEO, Mobile Premier League. MPL, a brand that was founded not so long ago in 2018 is a well-known name in the e-sports and gaming sector today. exchange4media’s Dr Annurag Batra was the session chair for this address. Srinivas shed light on “Building A Brand From Scratch: Our Experience With MPL”.

Srinivas spoke of the infrastructure needed for digital consumption in India and how it has come to play after the Covid-led lockdown. “India over the last three, four years has built the entire infrastructure needed for massive digital consumption. What I mean by infrastructure you need three things. You need a device that's a mobile phone, you need data and thanks to extremely cheap internet connectivity you have data. Most importantly, payments. So if you want to consume anything online for it, for it to make money you have to have the ability for people to pay using their payment mechanisms. And what happened last year was when the pandemic struck, because of the lockdowns and because of multiple different constraints imposed on society, people were in massive forced to consume or adopt digital.” he reflected.

Moreover, Srinivas spoke of how the shift fuelled growth for digital brands. “The digital infrastructure was ready, and a number of people started adopting it. Because of that, I believe that the learning curve which would probably take two or three years has probably happened literally in six months. The learning curve was shorter and shorter and very very fast. Now, because of the learning curve shortening and this entire set of users coming online, you'd see a massive expansion of the total addressable market for any digital product,” he contended.

Sharing the statistics, Srinivas asserted, “The total number of Internet users are around 450 or 500 million, the total number of paying internet customers or people who pay on the internet are roughly around 50 million and that number will very easily grow to about 100 million, right, and that is a huge opportunity for practically every single brand to adopt. 

He also spoke of how MPL built brand affinity through its advertising. “MPL was founded in 2018. In 2019, we signed Virat as our brand ambassador. In fact, we are the youngest brand even to date to actually launch a full-blown brand campaign on the IPL, and we were the official broadcast partner as well. Usually, when a company is young, it relies more on transactional messaging.

"We actually took a very counterintuitive stance there and we went with a very emotional messaging. It did not directly create a lot of transactional impact within the next two weeks or three weeks or one month, but it's probably one of the best long term investments that we've done. It's a very delicate balance how much you make it about love and how much you make it about transactional,” Srinivas advised.

Furthermore, he said that a very big mindset change needs to happen for companies in India in any sector to grow really big in India to design their business model around microtransactions. “You have got to figure out a way to take one rupee or two rupees or five rupees from 50 million folks, rather than pivoting a business model on taking say 10,000 rupees from a small set of folks right. That mindset change is something that's very very important because India is a country of microtransactions. Rather than taking a rupee or five from a lot of different people for yourselves, this is a much better business, and a much better value proposition,” he remarked.

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