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Trends 2020: Gaming to become a mainstream entertainment experience

Aditi Shrivastava, Co-Founder, Pocket Aces, takes stock of the key developments expected in the online content space in 2020, as well as the expansion and acquisition strategy of Pocket Aces in the year ahead. 

How are brand integrations on mobile video evolving?
Over the last few years, we have seen branded content in digital videos cruising their way up to the top of consumers’ minds and grabbing a lion’s share of their attention. If done in an interesting and in a non-intrusive fashion, mobile video has the potential to drive great returns for advertisers. The days of brands built purely on mobile video are not far away. 

Today, brands are participating in the evolution of advertising from passive placements into branded and immersive content. Not only have they found themselves to be an integral part of the communication, but are also being seamlessly integrated in scripts – often becoming characters in the shows or key elements of humour, ensuring that they find their place in culture creation. 

What are the key trends in the online content space that you are envisioning in 2020?
Three key trends that we see for online content are continuation of short form consumption, transformation from TV to OTT, and rise of gaming as a mainstream entertainment experience. 

The massive proliferation of Internet penetration and data consumption in the remotest area of the country has changed the nature of content consumption as a whole. 

With the audience now owning their own personal screens instead of sharing it with their families, the need to cater to individual preferences is more than ever. Shared screen experiences will become event based experiences and personalised experiences will become the norm. 

In 2019 alone, there has been an exponential increase in viewership of the likes of TikTok, YouTube and other short form platforms. We also saw OTT platforms like Amazon, Netflix and Hotstar come to the fore. We see these continuing in 2020. 

While we have already witnessed a high demand for Originals in the OTT space in the previous year, more and more OTT players and content creators will focus on curating originals that resonates well with their audience preferences. 

Lastly, with PUBG doing over 50 million downloads, 45 millions playing Dream11, and Loco crossing 15 million registered users, gaming becoming a mainstay of the consumer experience is happening at a fast pace. 

What is your expansion and acquisition strategy in the year ahead?
In July last year, we raised our series B of Rs 100 crore from Sequoia India, DSP Group and 3one4 Capital, which we aim to invest in content, technology, and talent. In the coming year, we plan to launch ~13 web-series, the biggest number since we founded the company. Further, Pocket Aces aims to multiply its social distribution by starting two new content channels – Jambo and Nutshell. Jambo will be an animation content platform for adults, whereas Nutshell will be an infotainment channel for millennials. 

Additionally, we will also continue to invest in Loco, as it creates a robust e-sports and interactive entertainment platform for India, and have set ourselves an ambitious target to hit 50 million users within the next two years. We are also all set to rebrand our food channel – Gobble. The channel which was all about food will now have content on travel, décor and lifestyle, making it a holistic platform for our viewer base of over 50 million. 

Do you plan on venturing into digital formats like podcasts, audio books, and create content for social platforms like TikTok, Likee?
Yes, there are a few things in the pipeline, which are expected to take shape soon. Hopefully, we will be in a better position to divulge more into it once we have something ready.


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