Cricingif.com Relaunch: What went wrong to the way forward

Cricingif.com is live again with a firm commitment to provide licensed cricket-related content with innovative personalized features. As of November 16th, 2016, live cricket updates, video clips, analyses, reviews and more, are bundled together in this cricket lover’s one stop shop. In addition to a web platform, Cricingif mobile applications for Android and iOS users are now available.

Cricingif’s team has collaborated with Khaleef Technologies on this project and is working from the offices of Khaleef in Lahore. The beta version of the site is live at Cricingif.com with further content and personalized features to be added soon.

Cricingif’s Chief Commercial Officer, Qasim Zafar envisions the following features:

•A great new design
•Live cricket updates
•Pre-match and post-match analyses and reviews
•Ball by ball video clips
•Gifs, quizzes and polls
•Engaging articles on cricket
•Personalized content for users

This is not the first instance of Cricingif’s launch. During 2012-2014, the launch of online entertainment platforms for sports, dramas and movies increased in Pakistan with a lot of companies developing websites and providing similar services. Cricingif was one such entity which immediately gained popularity after its worldwide launch as a private limited company in 2014.

cricin1

With focus on speed and efficiency, it provided the fastest ball-by-ball live cricket scores on the Internet along with a clip of every ball played during the match. It claimed to be four to six seconds faster than ESPN’s Cricinfo on average, and caught the attention of international cricket celebrities including Ben Stokes, Tom Moody, and Fred Boycott who followed and engaged with the platform regularly on social media.

During WorldT20 2015, Cricingif had over 5.7 million clip plays per month with more than 30,000 users and 47,000 followers on social media. However, Cricingif’s team ignored a very important aspect of hosting digital content – complying with copyrights laws. The growth in popularity of Cricingif gained the attention of several cricket boards and the International Cricket Council (ICC), which sent Cricingif take-down notices and the site disappeared overnight.

Khaleef Technologies and its penetration into the sports content industry

Khaleef Technologies is one of Pakistan’s leading VAS (Value Added Services) companies with contracts with top telecom operators in Pakistan and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Khaleef provides online business solutions in the form of web and mobile applications.

Earlier this year, Khaleef decided to enter the world of cricket by becoming an exclusive International Cricket Council (ICC) licensee of Digital Clip Rights for all ICC events scheduled between 2016 and 2019.

Khaleef invested Rs. 600 million (approx.) to get licensed to develop its own platform with live scores, schedules, clips and articles to be published. However, it soon realized that it lacked the expertise to break-even in these four years.

Khaleef Technologies and Cricngif joining hands

The main challenge for Khaleef was to attract a large audience to compete with ESPN Cricinfo, which has captured most of the market. In contrast, Cricingif, with a competitive experience in this domain needed funds to obtain copyrighted content.

The two companies complementing each other decided to work together to re-launch Cricingif.

Competitive analysis with ESPN Cricinfo in terms of revenue generation

It is also interesting to see how such sites generate revenues and what strategies Khaleef and Cricingif might adapt to maximize revenues. Let’s first look at how the leader of this domain ESPN Cricinfo generates most of its revenues;
•Through banner advertisements with big names and brands in the cricket industry
•Google AdSense
•Pay-per-view live streaming for some series
•Cricshop: an E-commerce site for online cricket goods
•Transferring traffic to fixed odds betting site such as Bet365
•Contracts with cricket boards to promote their cricket
•Contracts with ICC to provide services such as series coverage and insights from data analytics.
•Cricket books, magazines and biographies

There might be other sources for revenue generation but the information is not available publicly. The estimated worth of ESPN Cricinfo was $150 Million in 2006, A big reason why Cricinfo remains on top is innovation and advancement in terms of services.

The company hired data scientists to provide insights on match records and statistics and contains several other features on its website and apps. (See Cricinfo’s complete story on the link below).

What Khaleef and Cricingif need to do is to attract an audience already captured by sites like ESPN Cricinfo and Cricbuzz. The unique idea of personalizing content may come in handy.

Khaleef has partnerships with big telecom brands in Pakistan and the MENA region to advertise its brands once they capture a reasonable portion of market. They can also provide premium (paid) services to the telecom customers in future to generate more revenues, but it all depends on the quality of content and services they will provide.

Let’s see how well http://www.cricingif.com/ plays out in its second innings.
ESPN Cricinfo’s story: http://www.espncricinfo.com/cricinfoat20/content/story/674431.html

About the Contributor:
Murtaza Ali Baig is a young IT researcher, entrepreneur and a social worker.He is currently working as a researcher at LUMS, where he is also pursuing his MS in computer Sciences. Apart from the research and academia he is working with different tech startups in various capacities.


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