The landscape of online fantasy gaming has undergone a dramatic evolution in recent years, blurring the lines between sports and gaming and giving rise to a vibrant world of skill-based entertainment. Within this dynamic domain, Albatross Media has emerged as a key influencer, guided by the visionary leadership of its founder, Mr Imran Shaikh.
Imran’s journey began in the realm of digital marketing and advertising for fantasy sports giants. Identifying an untapped potential in the market, he founded Albatross Media in 2016, propelling the company to a prominent position in the industry. Their pivotal role in educating both users and the New Gaming Operators about the skill-based essence of fantasy sports has solidified their standing at the forefront of this unique fusion of sports and gaming.
Imran’s inspiration to start his company was deeply rooted in his formative years, driven by a steadfast belief in the power of technology and the digital sphere. His childhood aspiration to establish a digital presence took shape in adulthood.
With a diverse career spanning media entertainment and a stint in the tech sector, Imran’s hands-on experience with production houses and TV channels laid the groundwork for his career trajectory. Fascinated by the synergy of technology and marketing in media, he transitioned into the tech sector.
Before founding Albatross, Imran explored the burgeoning Over-The-Top (OTT) industry in India, focusing on business operations, subscription models, and market strategies. However, facing challenges due to established industry leaders and an evolving tech landscape, he shifted focus.
Around 2010-2012, a small freelance venture in social media marketing was initiated. Unfortunately, digital marketing faced limited appreciation during this time. A turning point emerged after 2014 when the population recognised the immense potential of the digital landscape, especially with increased smartphone usage. Imran, recognising the potential for growth in the gaming industry, shifted focus towards gaming through in-depth research.
At its core, fantasy sports represent games of skill, a distinctive category with specific regulatory considerations. Albatross Media found itself navigating a grey area that was neither entirely legal nor illegal. The company took on the critical task of educating both users and the New Fantasy Game Operators about this innovative blend of sports and gaming, often perceived as games of chance due to the financial stakes involved.
Marketing challenges arose due to restrictions on traditional advertising platforms. To surmount this, the company focused on creating informative content to differentiate skill-based games from chance-based ones. Albatross Media aligned with the Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) and played a foundational role in the fantasy sports industry, supporting emerging operators. Presently, the company is dedicated to enhancing fantasy gaming capabilities by integrating artificial intelligence.
Recognising the meticulous planning demanded by fantasy and online gaming, Albatross provides comprehensive guidance to clients. They offer marketing and advertising strategies and a suite of internet marketing solutions such as product launches, influencer management, and celebrity endorsements. Leveraging Imran’s extensive connections in the media industry, they execute effective promotional campaigns. Albatross offers comprehensive business strategies, from application functionality formulation to compliance measures and effective marketing strategies on platforms like Google and Meta. The company’s unique selling proposition lies in its deep industry knowledge and commitment to extensive research in gaming, marketing dynamics, and the regulatory landscape.
Albatross faced challenges in gaining support from key stakeholders in the fantasy gaming industry and integrating banking and payment gateways. The unexpected suspension of the IPL due to the pandemic raised concerns about high maintenance costs for fantasy gaming apps. Nevertheless, effective strategies helped the industry thrive, expand its user base, and secure IPL sponsorship.
In their future plans, Mr Imran emphasises a commitment to supporting application operators and developing sports APIs and AI Products for Online games at competitive rates. Albatross plans to introduce operator-focused products, driving sector growth and global expansion. They are exploring partnerships with international brands for the Indian market and actively engaging in summits and events.
Imran’s advice for aspiring entrepreneurs underscores the importance of stability, persistence, and robust processes. Diligent research and strategic planning are foundational. Setbacks are part of the journey, but robust processes allow for retracing steps and rectifying errors. He emphasises the importance of comprehensive product and market research, along with crafting solid processes and strategies for entrepreneurial success.