Advertisers Getting Lost For $900k

The TV show Lost is nearing the end of its run, and with the anticipated finale looming, ad costs for the program have shot up. Ad Age is reporting that ABC expects between $850,000 and $950,000 for a single 30-second ad slot during the final episode.

Reports were that a similar slot last year for Lost cost only a little over $200,000, meaning that this year has seen a 400 percent increase. Lost will occupy a three-hour block on Sunday, May 23, with an hour-long recap starting at 8 PM. The last episode will run from 9 PM to 11 PM.

“There are many advertisers willing to pay a reasonable premium for inventory in programs that generate such a highly passionate and rabid fan base,” said Kris Magel, exec VP-director, national broadcast at Interpublic Group of Cos.’ Initiative. “There is definitely value in that.”

IPad: What About Games?

One of the major attractions of the iPhone and iPod Touch is the games. Still, Apple’s iPad is being thought of as a gaming device secondarily; a ComScore survey indicates that only 30 percent of people said they’d use the iPad for gaming, whereas 34 percent said they’d use the tablet to read newspapers and 37 percent said they would read books.

However, games on the iPhone account for a half billion dollars in revenue,and games comprise half of the top 10 apps and nine of the top 10 free downloads. “[When the iPhone first came out] gaming probably wouldn’t have been high on the list,” said Michael Cai, Interpret analyst to Ad Age. “[But] Apple can bank on thousands of independent game developers and even traditional game developers and their creativity when it comes to iPad gaming.”

Ngmoco is reworking some games, like We Rule, Godfinger and Charadium, to work better on the iPad while Other Ocean is now creating the iPad games first before moving on to iPhone and iPod Touch versions. “What the iPad does is, it gives Apple and everyone who publishes [for iPad] the ability to intersect with another area of what I call a person’s entertainment map — and that’s in the home. Apple hasn’t really had that foothold in the house,” said Clive Downie, VP-marketing at Ngmoco. “It’s going to be a significant entertainment device; and gaming is a part of that.”

“Its bigger screen, high resolution and better quality are more conducive to group type of games. You can imagine a family gathering around the iPad to play,” said Mobclix co-founder Sunil Verma. “This time around it will be different than with the iPhone because the premium game publishers are developing for it right off the bat. You’ll see a lot of great big titles at launch.”

Not only does the iPad offer potential for new game play experiences, it could potentially be used as a springboard for premium priced apps. “They’re talking about applications that can be run along with other media in the home and even integrated (with other devices),” said Brad Spirrison, managing editor of Appolicious.

“The hypothesis is that the iPad will be better off from Day 1 being supported by the game community than the iPhone or iTouch were,” noted Peter Farago, VP-marketing at Flurry and a former gaming exec at Digital Chocolate and Electronic Arts. “People have a better understanding now of Apple and its ability to get a large installed base. And that’s what game makers want.”

Some wonder, though, if the iPad’s higher price won’t put it out of the market that’s currently dominated by the iPad Touch. “Sure, my kids want an iPad, but the iPod Touch is more compelling (for gaming) in both form factor and price point relative to the iPad,” said Raven Zachary, president of mobile agency Small Society.

Enter The Secret World

Funcom today opened the door to its ‘Secret World.’ The Oslo-based developer is best known for popular MMOs like Anarchy Online and Age of Conan. The Secret World will be the company’s third MMO, and this new trailer reveals actual in-game footage for the first time (previous videos were just pre-rendered cinematics).

Trond Arne Aas, CEO of Funcom, commented, The new video reveals locations, monsters, characters and gameplay, yet it is barely scratching the surface of what the game will deliver. The universe that we are creating in and around The Secret World is massive, with real-world locations, urban legends, myths and conspiracies. The Secret World is so much more than what we are showing in this video, and we are looking forward to giving gamers out there a perspective on the bigger picture in the months to come.

The online gaming space can be quite competitive, but building buzz early on with unique trailers like this one is a smart move. Check it out below courtesy of GameVideos.

Old-School Marketing Still Works

In this digital era we live in, it’s easy to forget about old marketing methods, but Adweek has an interesting article about low-budget marketing methods that can still work today sometimes better than more modern approaches.

A restaurant named Cluck-U sent out some folks in chicken suits to promote their establishment and branding, and it’s worked wonders. “Twenty-five percent of what we bring in,” says Cluck-U CEO J.P. Haddad, “is because of those chickens.”

Stop and think about that for a second. This is the age of Web 2.0, of iPods and iPhones, Twitter and Facebook. Brands have learned to harness just about every high-tech advancement in our lives and press it to the service of marketing and advertising. So what’s it say when a dude in a chicken suit still works just great writes Adweek. It says that smart brands are still conscious of the power of low-tech marketing in the overall mix. At a time of shrunken budgets and media clutter, many brands have discovered that sometimes the old-school ideas still work very well — even better, in some cases, because the public hasn’t seen them used in a while. All of which has given way to a renaissance of ideas like sandwich boards, balloon messaging, in-store taste tests and other grassroots gambits that the Web age was supposed to have rendered irrelevant. Instead, such decidedly analog methods are being trotted out and made over as companies big and small realize they can get more bang for their limited advertising bucks with the tried-and-true marketing methods of bygone eras.

PlayStation Move’s Potential And Limitations

With PlayStation Move having just been unveiled at GDC, and Microsoft preparing Project Natal for its world premiere at E3, the industry is abuzz about the upcoming motion controllers. Microsoft has done a fantastic marketing job with Natal already and now Sony is kicking their efforts into the next gear. The company already launched a highly entertaining Kevin Butler ad, and now it’s landed some great PR with the leading games blog Kotaku.

The blog has a highly detailed breakdown of all of Move’s capabilities and limitations. Editor Stephen Totilo plucked the brain of PlayStation Eye and Move inventor Richard Marks to get all the information possible about Sony’s new tech. Check it out.

Avoiding Franchise Fatigue

Having valuable IP can give a publisher a big leg up, but companies need to be very careful with their properties so that they don’t become stale after multiple iterations. Ubisoft’s popular Splinter Cell franchise has seen a slight decline in sales in recent years, but with the fifth iteration, Splinter Cell Conviction, about to launch on April 13, the publisher is looking to redefine the franchise and the stealth genre.

Marketing can help send out the right message to gamers, but if the gameplay feels tired, even the best campaign will do little to help. IndustryGamers recently interviewed Ubisoft’s Max Beland about keeping the Splinter Cell franchise fresh and attracting new players.

Amazon To Sell Digital Games?

Retail is still the predominant way most gamers purchase their games, but digital services like Valve’s Steam and IGN’s Direct2Drive are getting increasingly popular. Now it would appear that leading e-tailer is preparing to grab a piece of the digital games market.

Citing a Lazard Capital Markets analyst note, Gamasutra reports that Amazon is making a hiring push to get the right people on the project. “As in other segments of digital media, we expect Amazon to pursue new opportunities as an aggregator of online games, similar to Steam (PC), BigPoint (browser) and others,” Lazard analyst Colin Sebastian said.

The Amazon brand is quite strong and it’s one that not only gamers trust, but mainstream shoppers do as well. A digital distribution model for games on the storefront could be quite interesting.

Social Gamers’ Average Age Actually Under 30

IndustryGamers reports on an interesting survey from TNS and, which reveals new demographic data about the burgeoning social games marketplace. There’s been a general perception that social gaming is filled with mostly middle-aged women. However, the report found that the average age of social network gamers is below 30 years old in the U.S., Germany, France and the U.K., while 29 percent are under 20.

When looking at the complete picture, we found the demographics of social gamers to be very close to that of the typical online casual gamer active on large game portals, also in terms of age, said Peter Warman, MD of, who added about a recent study that said the average age of the social gamer is 43,  Their conclusion was based on a survey among only 18+ year olds. It is therefore not at all surprising that their average age is extraordinarily high; it is clearly not a representative number. Data from kids and teens is vital and should always be taken into account.


Game Steering Group Founded For British Game Advertisers

Today, the U.K.’s Internet Advertising Bureau announced a plan to work with major gaming advertisers and launch the Game Steering Group, writes Campaign Live. The hope is that the local in-game advertising industry will grow to tap into in-game ads, which are expected to be a $1 billion business by 2014.

Game Steering Group (GSG) is looking to help standardize game advertising with research, metrics and focus groups. The U.S. already has similar guidelines, and the goal for GSG is to help advertisers better understand the industry and for the industry to better understand its own size.

Video Games Hurt Karaoke Parlors

Karaoke has grown from a quirky fad into a part of mainstream popular culture. Still, the industry has been diminishing since 2002, when $200 million in sales were made, to just $40 million in 2008.

A large part of the decline is thought to be attributed to video games. Titles like Singstar, Rock Band and more recent Guitar Hero games all have singing components, generally offering more affordable, convenient and interactive ways to sing than your traditional karaoke bar.

The high cost of licensing and piracy are both seen as a culprits too. “Piracy is 90 percent of the problem, and it’s going to end up being the demise of the karaoke industry as we know it,” said Tom Viveiros, co-founder of the Karaoke Industry Alliance of America to the LA Times. “There are more venues with karaoke nights than we’ve seen in 15 years, but with few exceptions they’re all stealing music.”