INTERVIEW : Playup India plans to target Brazil for Soccer World Cup 2014 for social marketing

Speaking about the new product line they are soon to
launch, and investments in Brazil, China and the Middle East, Rajat
Kulshreshtha, CEO, Playup India, also tells us the sport-based challenges faced
in India for PlayUp, India’s first mobile social networking platform for sports

How difficult is it to tap the Sports sector
in India, as compared to other countries for mobile social-networking?

When compared to other countries in the realm of mobile
social networking, tapping the potential of Sports sector in India is
relatively tougher. With comparatively lower penetration of smartphones, as
compared to feature phones and even lower number of users accessing web on
these smart devices, connecting all sports fans in this geography is a major
challenge. More so since India is a sports-crazy nation, selection of right
channels to reach out to such huge multitudes of sports fans population here
adds to the list.

Besides Cricket that rests in the hearts of almost every
Indian, other sports such as Football, Golf, Formula One, etc. are gradually
succeeding in grabbing small pies in the popularity diagram.

You mentioned that you have plans to tap
other social media platforms. Can you please elaborate on the same, providing a
time-frame for implementing this?

Facebook is one of the channels that we have used to
resonate the voice of millions of sports fans in India. We’ve done
fantastically well on Facebook, and built a strong online sports fans community
hitting the count of over 1.25 million fans helping us to the hit the spot in
top 50 Facebook brand pages in India. But this is just the tip of the iceberg
that we’ve touched. Still many more miles of journey remain to be covered, as
there exist 35 million Facebook users in India, who we can reach out to and
engage with our innovative propositions.

As we get ready to knock the market soon with our new and
engaging product line, we’ll be exploring and tapping some other social media
platforms too like Twitter, Google Plus, etc. depending on the number of sports
fans on each of them in the future.

How is your solution different
from traditional gaming? How much competition do you face from gaming-based
mobile social media?

While traditional gaming is based on
simulation gameplays around sports, ours is an entirely interactive gaming
model. All our products (Facebook apps, mobile apps and games) envisage social
nature of sport since we understand well that fans want to be heard and
engaged. We give them an opportunity through our innovative products to voice
their opinion, basically a -feel factor’ that motivates us to come up with even
more engaging product ideas.

We’re not a VAS company. We’re not like other
sports sites that offer to fans only what they
know best i.e. editorials and fixtures. We’ve drifted from this approach, and
allow the interactions between fans power /fuel our platform and community.

Recently, TRAI and DoT have cracked down
heavily on tele-marketers and bulk SMS platforms. What is your take on the
same, and does this affect your business at all?

There exists a very thin line between virality and
spamming. As PlayUp’s business model is business-to-consumer (B2C), we
primarily focus on consumer experience through social engagement, and not on
giving pesky calls/SMSes to our user base. All our products have been designed
to give an interactive and delightful user experience to sports fans with the
social media features plugged-in.

What are your future plans in the next 6
months to one year in India?

We would be targeting to connect all sports fans through
some impeccable products in our pipeline in the next 6 months to one year. All
the products will be well endowed with social media features to enhance
interactivity and engagement of sports fans during gameplays.

Have you tapped other sport-intensive and
emerging nations like Brazil, China, Middle East and Africa?

We have already targeted China and have our office there.
We have planned to target Brazil for Soccer World Cup, slated to be held in the
year 2014. And moving forward, we are certainly going to cover Middle East and
Africa also with our unique and interactive product line.

By Beryl M
[email protected]