Playwin fever spreads

The Playwin buzz is catching on.

The Essel group promoted online lottery fever is spreading through Mumbai city, if the success of its print campaign in today's newspapers is any indication. Eveninger Mid Day, which carried coupons allowing free tickets, had two extra print runs to cater to the overwhelming demand, according to local vendors.

The "trial-inducing sampling" as Playwin Infrawest CEO Sanjay Das terms it, has obviously clicked. Similar coupons were printed in most dailies in the country today, including The Times of India, all Marathi, Tamil, Bengali, Hindi newspapers (in Punjab and Haryana). The ploy to ensure that the new concept catches on is working - the number of Playwin tickets sold is anywhere between 600,000 and 1 million daily, says Das. While Das says that all segments of society have been lured by Playwin's novel concept of live, credible and transparent lottery, industry sources say it is in the 'not-so-premium' areas that ticket sales have really sky-rocketed. 

Needless to say, the lottery is ensuring viewership for sister channel Zee TV as well. Zee's new show celebrity talk show Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai, which has been receiving good reviews, has an added attraction in that the weekly Super Lotto results are aired on the show.

Das says that while only 30 to 37 persons got five of the six numbers right during the live draws, ensuring prize money of upto Rs 20 million; a total of Rs 50 million will be given away this Thursday. The money will be divided among the number of five digit number winners equally, thus giving an impetus to lottery buyers to gamble even more.

Word of mouth publicity, banners at strategic places in metros and extensive advertising across the Zee network are all part of the multi- media strategy that has been put into place to promote Playwin. According to reports, the company has invested nearly Rs 3000 million on machines manufactured by International Lottery and Totalizator Systems of the US and has a nearly Rs 350 million ad budget. 

But it seems a small price to pay. Accounting major PriceWaterhouse Coopers estimates that the turnover of Indian online lottery will be nearly Rs 200 billion at the end of the first year and Rs 1,000 billion by the end of the fifth. Zee, it seems, has truely hit its jackpot.

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