Bengaluru-based payments company, PhonePe, on Tuesday said that it has partnered with digital gaming startup Mobile Premier League (MPL), marking the company’s foray into gaming.
Through this in-app partnership, PhonePe will allow its 150 million registered users to play MPL’s cricket fantasy game ‘SuperTeam’ on its app. The launch is timed to match with the IPL 2019 cricket frenzy in the country.
This will not just allow PhonePe to increase user time spend on the app, but also contribute to the total transactions made on the platform. These will be in-app purchases for building a cricket team, buying more players, etc.
Last January, Paytm forayed into the gaming segment in a joint venture with Chinese gaming and entertainment company AGTech Holdings Limited. The two launched Gamepind, a mobile platform that offers social and casual games, in Paytm’s app. The Noida-based payments company holds a 55 percent stake in Gamepind.
Speaking on the partnership, Sai Srinivas Kiran, CEO and Co-founder of MPL, said,
“We are thrilled to be launching our MPL Superteam on this app. With seamless login and integrated payments, the platform will allow us to reach a much larger audience base and provide them with our fantasy offering during this cricket season.”
PhonePe first launched its in-app strategy by integrating first with bus-ticketing platform redBus last January. The digital payments company had then said that its vision was to enable businesses of all sizes to build and deploy apps on its platform with a unified login and payments experience for customers.
The in-app ecosystem (earlier known as Web Store) was a part of PhonePe’s commerce strategy right from the start.
Commenting on this partnership, Sameer Nigam, CEO and Co-founder of PhonePe, said,
“Our partnership with MPL is another step in bringing our users’ favourite apps within the PhonePe app itself. Online gaming and fantasy league platforms have seen a big surge in the last few years, clocking over 50 million users in 2018. Our integration with MPL will ensure easier access to the gaming platform for our 150 million users.”
What’s more for PhonePe’s in-app?
Speaking to YourStory, Sameer said that the company plans to grow the in-app platform by 10x in the coming four months, with close to 350 in-app partners on its platform by August this year.
Sameer claimed that PhonePe received a billion app fires last month, of which 130 million (or 10 percent) sessions were logged for their in-app platform. Most of these clicks (or app fires) were based on customer curiosity. When it comes to contribution in terms of transactions, in-app purchases continue to be an upcoming category, with the strategy contributing to less than 5 percent of overall transactions.
To counter this, PhonePe launched a series of educational TV advertisements with brand ambassador Aamir Khan. Further, in-app commissions are one of the highest for the payments platform, which earns 2-3 percent on every transaction made through the app.
During this calendar year, the company wants to bring a layer of personalisation to its in-app category and suggest apps to consumers based on their geography, interests, and payment data.
“We will be bringing personalisation for our users this calendar year, approaching it vertical by vertical (from travel to accommodation). We already have the geographical data of our customers and will suggest apps, based on their location,” adds Sameer.
A larger vision for the company is to allow local kiranas to build their own apps, and list them on PhonePe.
At present, it has a total of 35 live apps on its platform across food, travel, healthcare, and online shopping, including Ola Cabs, redBus, IRCTC, Goibibo for travel; Treebo, OYO and MakeMyTrip for accommodation; Faasos, Freshmenu and EatFit for food; Netmeds and DocsApp for healthcare, and Myntra for online shopping.