This fort­night...

The Brand Reporter - - EDITORIAL / CONTENTS - Ash­wini Gan­gal ash­wini.gan­[email protected]

Be­fore start­ing to write this ed­i­to­rial, I went onto YouTube to check out some ads for Dream11. Af­ter watch­ing a few ed­its of the fa­mous Dhoni ad­vert (“Kh­elo Di­maag Se”), I al­lowed YouTube to throw up some more con­tent around the sports gam­ing plat­form... and was sur­prised to find de­tailed videos and tu­to­ri­als – a lot of them are in Hindi, by the way – ex­plain­ing how it works. In the on­line world, you know some­thing’s big when it’s a verb (Google it, Uber it, What­sApp it), or when there are videos -and other kinds of an­cil­lary con­tent- that de­con­struct the core prod­uct. (Or when your of­fice tea boy tells you how it works and of­fers to lend you some hacks).

So, here’s how Dream11 ex­plains it­self on its web­site: ‘It is a Game of Skill that of­fers In­dian sports fans a plat­form to show­case their sports knowl­edge. Fans can cre­ate their own team made up of real-life play­ers from up­com­ing matches, score points based on their on-field per­for­mance and com­pete with other fans.’

No­tice how the team keeps re­it­er­at­ing that it’s a game of skill, every chance it gets. Fact is, one bets real money on the ‘real life’ per­for­mance of ac­tual sportsper­sons. The brand has been deal­ing with the ‘G’ word and has faced its share of flak in this re­gard. But that’s not what our story is about.

We spoke to Harsh Jain, one of the two co-founders of Dream11, about the early days (he launched it with his child­hood buddy Bhavit Sheth), the in­cred­i­ble suc­cess of this dig­i­tal and tech-led prod­uct (45 mil­lion users) and the path ahead (grow­ing the cat­e­gory). We also spoke to the brand’s mar­ket­ing head Vikrant Mu­daliar about his set of chal­lenges. The big­gest one be­ing – once the ex­ist­ing pool of fan­tasy sports en­thu­si­asts are on the app, how the bug­ger does one go about con­vert­ing reg­u­lar sports ‘watch­ers’ (“pas­sive” fans) into fan­tasy play­ers?

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