As India’s gaming and esports industry grows, local streaming platforms have started to take hold and become key stakeholders in the region. With a thriving regional audience and local expertise, these platforms are essential to the industry. Everything from positioning and branding to content and acquisitions has been carefully tailored to the needs and desires of the Indian public and creators. With a good understanding of the market, audience and content space, Loco is emerging as one of the main contenders in the region. Owned by one of India’s most successful digital content houses, Loco inherits a vast wealth of knowledge from its parent company, Pocket Aces. The company is the name of several successful digital series created and shared through multiple platforms that cater to Indian youth. Sub-brands such as Filter Copy and Dice Media have become staple among Indian urban youth, especially for their brand of new and youth-friendly concepts. Pocket Aces’ success in the digital content space stems from both quality and finding the right niches. It also indicates their understanding of distribution and reach, which are all important parameters of game content. “For us, Loco is really playing on the strength of what Pocket Aces offers as a business. We are a digital entertainment company that has already built the leading social distribution brands in India. We are also one of the biggest digital talent players in India, ”Aniruddh Pandita, founder of Pocket Aces told The Esports Observer. With over 10 million downloads, Loco is currently India’s top performing streaming product. Although it started out as a quiz app, Loco has completely transitioned to a live gaming and streaming product since May 2020. The platform claims to have more daily active users than any of its competitors. Indians and ranks better than all in the Google Playstore. “We’ve seen the streamers on Loco grow by over 100% month over month,” Pandita says. “And it was without any marketing functionality. He estimates that India will have nearly 1 million monthly active streamers in the near future, with the top 10km generating the majority of traffic and revenue. “Right now we’re a long way from that number, but you have to understand the situation in that context. Previously, Indians did not have the devices to stream and play games, but with mobile games things have certainly changed. Esports is the main attraction of Loco Loco has several partnerships with streamers, teams and tournament organizers which have enabled it to develop the platform. These include deals with the NBA 2K League, Red Bull, Fnatic India, Team IND and Marcos Gaming. among others. Pandita considers eSports to be one of the main areas of focus on its platform. “In any game there are three key elements – the players, the media and the audience and you have to be able to encourage all three stakeholders. While we can always get community members to do occasional live broadcasts, I think competitive play will spark interest and instill hope. Pandita uses cricket as an example, highlighting how India’s success in the sport has allowed audience and sponsorship to grow dramatically. Credit: Fnatic India Loco has also created a few tournament IPs in titles such as PUBG Mobile and Rainbow Six Siege. Pandita believes that tournament organizers are an integral part of the ecosystem and are able to bring the community together unlike other entities. For Loco, its own IP addresses have been both a community development and a marketing exercise. “We will support tournament organizers and we will also make great Loco originals. We have a large enough content budget for this. Understanding the Need for Non-exclusivity One of the most telling approaches to how Loco has integrated creators is to allow them to continue streaming on their main platforms, which are mostly YouTube. Pocket Aces has several successful IP addresses on YouTube and Pandita explains that the company understands this dynamic very well. Both for Loco and for the creators, it does not make sense to ask them to leave the platform where they have spent the last years organizing a audience. “For me, YouTube is a versatile platform that generates a lot of interest at the top of the funnel. With an audience of over 400 million daily active users, it makes sense for me to have people on YouTube to promote Loco. ”Pandita uses Netflix as an example to explain how the platform started with distributed content before focusing on its own productions.“ This shows a lack of com market grip and, more importantly, a lack of empathy for content creators to demand exclusivity at this point. “The option is simply not viable because neither the consumer nor the creator wants it, explains Pandita. He is confident that creators will switch to Loco themselves once the market is ready. “Every actor in the ecosystem asked us why we put our videos on YouTube and Facebook. For them, it was always about going on this platform or towards that and nothing in between. But it’s not like that. There are different markets and different use cases for each platform and it is important to be able to define that use case. He recalls that Loco as a product will be different from YouTube, which means that creators will be free to use the different platforms to offer a variety of content to their audience. For now though, Loco is fully focused on games and esports, and while it’s open to exploring adjacent markets such as IRL streaming and chess, it’s definitely not in the cards. for the time being. “We want to create a gaming platform first, and then see where we want to go. We don’t have to go the Twitch route because we have our own consumers with their own behavior, which we want to respond to. According to him, Loco will focus on the Indian consumer and the features they will build on their platform will reflect that. The Impact of Covid The COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have consequences that will change the future of humanity, and India is no different. With the second highest number of cases in the world, many parts of India are still in some form of lockdown and for the most part, life is very different from what it used to be. On the bright side, the pandemic and the lockdown that followed have accelerated the growth of internet users, digital content consumers, and audiences on almost all digital platforms. Credit: Loco / NBA 2K League “The lockdown has definitely had an impact on the platform. In the short term we have seen people installing and playing more games which has allowed the market to grow. What could have taken two to three years happened in a matter of months and directly resulted in an increase in viewership. In the long run, live streaming has become more common and more common. From schools and colleges to meetings and seminars, many people are now exposed to the internet and live streaming. Loco is one of the many big players in the Indian streaming space vying for public attention. The platform’s past experience in the digital entertainment arena, understanding the needs of Indian consumers, and a focus on creating solid content make it an important name to watch in South Asia. As the Indian sports and games industry is in a transitional phase brought on by the ban on PUBG Mobile, how platforms and creators can keep their audiences engaged will be important. Shounak Sengupta is a writer for AFK Gaming.