Surina Sayal

afaqs! Coffee Chats: Disruption is key when it comes to online: Alok Kejriwal

At the first afaqs! Digital Professionals Club's Coffee Chat, Kejriwal engaged in a casual, open chat with a group of individuals from the digital industry.

The afaqs! Digital Professionals Club held a small gathering at the Olive Bar & Kitchen, Bandra, Mumbai, on March 31. Called 'Coffee Chats', the first gathering of the series had Alok Kejriwal, founder and chief executive officer, Games2win sharing success stories, case studies and what works and what doesn't with a group of 20-25 individuals from the digital arena.

The participants came from several backgrounds in the digital industry, including digital platform creators, technology providers and others.

afaqs! Coffee Chats: Disruption is key when it comes to online: Alok Kejriwal
afaqs! Coffee Chats: Disruption is key when it comes to online: Alok Kejriwal
Taking forward our mission of making socialising fun, the Digital Professionals Club brings for the industry another reason to fraternise.

Kejriwal started off discussing online gaming and the business. He shared that Games2win sees about 3,00,000 unique gamers a month.

Kejriwal discussed how 'Freemium' as a business model has worked tremendously. For the uninitiated, Freemium is a model that works by offering a basic product or service free of charge, and then charging a premium for advanced features, functionality, or related products and services.

For example, a gaming portal will let one play the first 10 levels of a game for free, and once a consumer is hooked on and wants to play the next 'juicy' levels, he pays a premium. In this model, while 98 per cent consumers will fall back, with only about 2 per cent of consumers actually going ahead and paying for the next levels, the result is good earnings for the portal.

Kejriwal added that 'disruption' is key for online businesses and other businesses, too, sharing examples of what online gaming major Zynga did to the industry by engaging millions and what iTunes did to the music business.

US-based Craigslist is another example of disruption, which became very popular with the masses. It was a simple idea where a centralised network of online communities, featuring free online classified advertisements with sections devoted to jobs, housing, personals, for sale, services, community, gigs, résumés, and discussion forums was created.

A participant posed a question that is probably on everyone's mind right now. The query was that if digital delivers ROI (return on investment), then why are television, print and other media still being held in such high regard, while digital is way down in the ad pie. To this, he shared an interesting theory, calling it the 'Mamaji effect'.

He added that since these forms of media have worked so well and for so long, people are used to having their ads in them. In order to please their CEOs, hoardings of a brand will often be placed on the CEO's commute route. Similarly, we like to hear from our own families saying 'arre tera ad dekha'.

He added, "For example, while I may get great coverage on B2B sites, I'd like to see stuff about me written in a mainline newspaper, just so that my 'Mamaji' from Chandigarh sees it and calls me with words of praise. Thus, a lot of advertising in India is being sold on vanity. Vanity always has a premium, but may not offer scale."

Mobile media company BuzzCity powered the first Coffee Chat. The event held in Mumbai saw a free exchange of thoughts, ideas and opinions in an unrestrictive manner. Stay tuned in to afaqs! for more updates on the upcoming Coffee Chats with digital industry geniuses.

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