Roger Federer now on app

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | January 10, 2013
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Created by Webchutney, the interactive mobile app that shows the tennis star's biography in a graphic novel format is priced at $1.99 or Rs 110. Will it find enough buyers?

Imagine an interactive mobile app that attempts to show tennis star Roger Federer's biography in a graphic novel format! That's the experience digital agency Webchutney's new app titled The Life and Times of Roger Federer attempts to create. Interestingly, the app is the first of the series the agency intends to launch on sports legends from different categories, wherein the next app is expected to be on Lionel Messi, the Argentine footballer.

Roger Federer app created by Webchutney

Rahul Nanda

Sudesh Samaria

The interactive illustrations in the bio-app on Federer highlight the sportsman's life and his journey. The app contains intuitive touch-based navigation to further the effect of the story, which, akin to a physical book, is embedded with sound effects of flipping pages. In some pages, the story moves forward only after the user interacts with the character.

Interestingly, the app is paid and is priced at $1.99 or Rs 110; it is iOS compatible and is available on Apple store. The agency reached the pricing mark after conducting an extensive market research by keeping track of ebooks and kids' story books online. On an average, the comic e-books are priced at $2. Hence, it thought of pricing the app at $1.99. "But what price works for us is really to be seen," says Rahul Nanda, partner and president, mobile initiatives, Webchutney.

Why choose a sports personality for the app?

The project is a first-hand initiative by Webchutney which makes an attempt to tap into 'mobile monetisation' through quality content perspective. Nanda reasons that the agency wanted to go to the consumers directly with unique content and in the process, play on its core creative strength. "This will also allow us to tackle a global audience. We discussed many content themes and products. Finally, we agreed on sports as a category, since it cuts across borders," he explains.

To promote the app, Webchutney will use social media and organic traffic to tap the users. "We firmly believe that content is king and if we create good content, the word will spread," Nanda avers.

But, with free content available online, will the app find enough buyers?

Nanda replies, "Think of these apps as a short documentary on the lives of the sportsperson, presented via gorgeous artwork and interactive elements. We are confident that casual and die-hard fans alike will love to consume such content." Webchutney intends to set up a portfolio of such interactive and informative bite-size content across apps, casual games, interactive stories and VAS content.

Elaborating on the above, Sudesh Samaria, national creative director, Webchutney is confident that the 'gorgeous' artwork, read along text, original classical music and sound effects used in this application are all proof of the creative potential that can be exploited on the mobile front.

Matchless rationale or abundant apprehensions?

Nabankur Gupta

Alok Kejriwal

Nabankur Gupta, founder and chief executive officer, Nobby Brand Architects and Strategic Marketing, is apprehensive that the app may not find enough buyers in India. "There would be certain clientele, who would buy this kind of app abroad. But here, it will a miniscule percentage who would pay for it," he opines.

Meanwhile, Alok Kejriwal, CEO and cofounder, Games2win feels that "the app space in India is beautifully bizarre". Indians are stingy when it comes to downloading paid apps. However, internationally, there are markets where people spend on sports apps, provided they are entertaining or informative. What remains to be seen is how Webchutney's app competes with other apps in the app store. And, whether there is a big enough market for a content driven app in the Indian market.

Agreeing to what experts say, Nanda replies that while the Indian market may be difficult to crack, the agency is looking at a global audience. "That is the reason why we chose Federer as he has a large youth following rather than Sachin Tendulkar to start off the series,"

he reasons.

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