E-sports is going to be the next domain for Rooter, Indian content-based community platform
By Dev C
The idea of a second screen has been a well-established notion in the West with fantasy leagues, but it is also gaining traction in India. Proliferation of low-cost internet and mobile phones has made it easier for people to interact with a community of fans. But the trend is not only limited to Facebook pages and Instagram updates. What Amazon owned Twitch—an international community platform has done for the world—Rooter is trying to replicate for India. “Twitch has made communities a rage around the world and we are trying to bring that engagement to India, Piyush Kumar, founder and CEO, Rooter, said.
Five years into operation, the company was founded in 2015, Rooter has been able to build a community of five million people. As per Kumar, the platform has three million monthly active users (60% of registered base) who spend 18 minutes on the app per day. The average session per day per user is eight. To put things in perspective, Rooter gets almost half the time from a user than TikTok (according to research firm Kalagato) at 34 minutes and almost as much as Instagram at 23 minutes.
Although the user base is far lower than a TikTok or an Instagram, data shows that community-based platforms in India are just picking up. Rooter raked in Rs 3.5 crore leAD Sports Accelerator Programme in August last year, this was over and above the Rs 4.5 crore it had mustered in its pre-series A round in 2018.
The company is, thus, looking to expand across domains. It plans to add 25 million users by the end of 12 months. The engagement platform claims that it is already experiencing increased engagement owing to people being stuck at home due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kumar stated that they will be adding four more Indian languages over the eight they already have, as they are trying to move beyond English and more regionalisation.
Also, it plans to enter more domains. “Cricket has been our forte and we have 20-30 live sessions running at all points of time. We also cover Pro-Kabaddi League, but the next step for us is e-sports and gaming. Anything that has an intersection of sports and entertainment, we shall be looking at,” Kumar added.
But the major push is towards creating new revenue streams. Although the company has kept marketing spend constant at 40% of total expenditure, it says that the move shall now pivot towards e-sports, which will be a completely different domain. While the entire focus at present is on advertising and affiliate marketing, the platform counts Samsung and Vodafone as partners, Kumar believes the next phase of transition is user monetisation, where they will be able to charge 15%-18% commissions from the amount received by content creators.
As gaming becomes a major player in India, Rooter has its eyes set on the next stage.