Indian Online Fantasy Platforms Go Public amid Rapid Sector Growth

Indian digital media and gaming industry enjoy rapid growth despite economic decline elsewhere caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Global investor interest confirms the rising importance of gaming companies based in Bharat, backing their success financially.

Dream11 Grows From Strength to Strength

Dream Sports is the parent company of Dream11 – the online fantasy platform that shot to fame as the official partner of the Indian Premier League. Boasting more than 100 million desi users, Dream11 paid ₹ 222 crore for the 2020 title sponsorship rights.

Dream Sports is reportedly the first Indian gaming unicorn (valued at over a billion US dollars). It has made a series of successful funding rounds and is reportedly planning a US listing early next year.

In September 2020, Dream Sports’ valuation reached $2.5 billion when Tiger Global, TPG Tech Adjacencies and ChrysCapital backed its expansion with $225 million. In March 2021, the company raised another $400 million from existing investors and adding new tech investors such as TCV, D1 Capital Partners and Falcon Edge. Dream Sports total value is currently estimated at $3.6 billion.

Lately, the company has been reviewing presentations from global investment banks including Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Citigroup concerning a potential US listing. It is expected that Dream Sports will use a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), called a blank cheque company, using a simpler procedure to enter US financial markets.

Initial public offering (IPO) mandates has not been issued yet. However, there are sufficient indications that a public listing may raise up to an additional $1.5 billion, bringing Dream Sports’ total valuation to $6 billion.

Online Gaming Companies Stand Out with Large Investments

Anti-Covid measures, including a series of lockdowns since March 2020, had a negative impact on global economic performance, including Bharat national GDP. The country’s economy was already showing some signs of a slowdown starting in late 2019 – direct effects of new global trade barriers and regional geopolitical tensions.

Contrary to the general trend, however, digital entertainment genres have enjoyed a rapid and constant growth. India’s online gaming market has built upon solid recent bases, bringing substantial investor interest.

In 2021, Nazara Technologies became the first gaming company listed on India’s major stock markets. After a successful ₹ 583 crore initial public offering (IPO) between March 17 and March 19, the company is now listed on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) and the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

Offshore Indian Platforms Keep Rising in Popularity

Offshore Indian platforms such as PureWin.com give access to popular new entertainment genres. Global digital media leaders (such as the top online casino sites reviewed on 7Jackpots) continue growing in popularity among desi users.

The gaming segment benefitted from the lockdown most of all. India’s immense young population has been driving its numbers up, along with the spread of affordable smartphones, high-speed 4G internet and cheap data plans.

Digital Entertainment Maintains Growth despite Tepid Global Economic Climate

According to a recent KPMG’s report, India’s media and entertainment sector (M&E) suffered as a whole in 2020. At 7.4 per cent, the segment had a slower than expected growth in a particular year. For the current FY21, M&E is expected to even post a decline, with traditional segments such as TV, Film and Print all taking major hits.

Poor performance is not across the board, however. User penetration and engagement levels for Digital media and OTT segments have seen their overall revenues increase by 26 per cent in 2020. While the true top performer has been online gaming, posting a staggering 45 per cent in annual growth.

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