With various business models in play, these platforms are yet to be profitable
A new breed of platforms seems to have emerged. From Tring, GoNuts, Celebfie, Truefan, among others, these platforms have redefined the rules of the games in terms of how fans can connect with celebrities. “Our user base has been growing at about 50% month-on-month. More importantly, we have noticed significant change in user behaviour especially in tier 2-3 markets. Initially, a lot of our users were NRIs and belonged to tier 1 markets. We have seen a lot of traffic coming from smaller towns like Bhopal, Surat, Patna, Lucknow, Indore, Ahmadabad,” Akshay Saini, CEO and co-founder, Tring, told BrandWagon Online. From typical shoutout videos to live video calls, masterclasses, among others, are some of the ways these platforms have tapped into Indian consumers. Further, the platforms have added regional languages and new payment options to tap into smaller marketers.
Tring, which currently claims to have five lakh unique visitors every month. The platform customises what it calls shoutout videos from celebrities for users and later these videos are sold at a certain price. It claims to have a revenue share model with celebrities as part of which 70% of the fee is shared. According to Saini, the platform currently provides service in two regional languages including Gujarati and Marathi. It plans to roll out services in 11 regional languages going forward.
Another platform is GoNuts, which seems to have added new features such as animation. Moreover, it has moved beyond Bollywood Al isters and has added celebrities across segments such as music, dance, sports, culinary, lifestyle, fashion, and across regions. “It also plans to add international personalities such as Eminem, Jonty Rhodes among others. We 90% celebrities are exclusively available to users on our platforms, it sets us apart from the rest,”Joji George, founder, GoNuts said.
Interestingly, the average ticket price (ATP) seems to differ for each platform. For instance, while Tring’ ATP is about Rs 1,000, GoNuts claims that its ATP ranges between Rs 5,000-Rs 8,000 and TrueFan’s ATP is as much as Rs 300-Rs 500. “The metric of transactions per day could be better explained through average revenue per transaction which is at about an average of Rs 5000-8000, given our premium artists and premium positioning. We have a 35% repeat user rate , which is higher than many international counterparts,” GoNuts added.
The cost of customer acquisition is also different for each platform depending on the scale. It ranges anywhere starting from Rs 100 to as much as Rs 1,500. However, TrueFan is the only platform which claims to have a CAC as less as Rs 10 – Rs 15. According to Saini of Tring, the platform expects to touch 30,000 transactions per month, amounting to a gross revenue of Rs 3.5 crore by this December.
Additionally, these platforms have inked several deals with small and medium businesses (SMBs). Case in point, Tring claims to work with over 700 SMBs including start-ups such as HealhifyMe, Unacademy, Pratilipi, Junglee Games besides local retail stores and restaurant chains. Further recently, GoNuts also launched GoNuts Business targeting SMBs.
On the other hand, a few of these platforms have added edutainment as a model to their services. Unlu for example, offers classes from celebrities across categories. As part of course work it has author Ruskin Bond teaching writing classes. The classes are of three-four hours duration usually with various engagements such as assignments, community discussion. While users can pay for each class, they can get an all-access pass as well. “We have almost one million users. We are seeing 100% month-on-month growth in the last eight to nine months,” Himanshu Periwal, co-founder, Unlu, said.
The current market size of the celebrity-fan engagement (business-to-consumer) section is between $10-20 billion as per industry experts. Adding another $15 billion from SMB (business-to-business) perspective, the market size would hover somewhere around $25-30 billion in total. As these platforms continue to experiment with different formats of content, while continuing to play with business models, the category is yet to see one winner emerge. Will it happen, time will tell.