Streaming TV Devices Leading Close Race

The battle for streaming TV services continues to be quite high these days, between such devices as the Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Chromecast. And yet, it’s too soon to declare a winner, as all four seem to be doing remarkably well.

Roku, for instance, has managed to reach the ten million mark after releasing the device six years ago. While that seems like a slow sales number, it’s been catching up quite a bit over the years, especially with the debut of newer models on the market.

Regarding the general market, Apple TV, which has sold over 20 million units and generated a billion dollars for the company, had a share drop from 46 percent to 39 percent over the past year, while Roku dove a bit from 33 percent to 28 percent. Meanwhile, Google’s Chromecast has managed to leave its mark with a 16 percent share since its debut, and Amazon Fire TV no doubt has its share on the market, even though it remains untracked until next quarter.

It just goes to show that the dynamic of television is changing – and Apple’s own Tim Cook was quick to note that. In an interview on The Charlie Rose Show, Cook was quick to blast mainstream TV services. “TV is one of those things that, if we’re really honest, is stuck back in the 70’s,” said Cook on the show. “Think about how much your life has changed. And all the things around you that have changed.

“And yet TV – when you are in your living room to watch the TV or wherever you might be – it almost feels like you’re rewinding the clock, and you’ve entered a time capsule, and you’re going backwards.

“The interface is terrible. I mean it’s awful. And you watch things when the come on, unless you remembered to record them,” he said.

However, Cook believes that the Apple TV can improve over time. “There are lots of things we’d like to work on and have interest in, but we know we can’t do everything great,” he said. “TV is one we continue to have great interest in.” It’s possible Apple may introduce an improved Apple TV as soon as next month, though as yet the company has said nothing about it officially. Rumors continue that at some point we’ll see a new Apple TV with an App Store, though.

What do you think Does the rise of streaming TV have a big effect on general television services

Source: Venturebeat, Variety

Hologram Promotion For ‘Disney Infinity 2.0’

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes‘s marketing push is about to begin, as the game is now less than a week away from release. However, Disney Interactive took a more innovative step in that direction this past weekend, with a special holographic light show in London.

Using special hologram technology, several heroes were able to virtually appear at the event. The Incredible Hulk, for example, was able to “raise” London Bridge with said technology, while other heroes, including Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Widow, Captain America, Venom, Thor and others also made appearances.

The promotion was a tie-in for the game’s delivery to Hamley’s in Regent Street, acting as “special escorts” to get people excited for the game.

However, Disney needn’t worry about popularity when it comes to the forthcoming Disney Infinity sequel. The original game managed to generate over $500 million since its release on the strength of the Disney character library alone. Adding in the Marvel factor – including the highly successful new property Guardians of the Galaxy, which has generated over $600 million in ticket sales – and Marvel Super Heroes should have no problem selling.

Still, the competitive environment for toy/game hybrids is only getting tougher with the entry of Nintendo this fall, debuting the new Amiibo line of toys based on iconic Nintendo properties. Nintendo’s not going to let those products come out without a big promotional push. Meanwhile, Activision has its new Skylanders: Trap Team arriving, and as the inventor of the category Activision will not want to give away any ground to either Disney or Nintendo. It’s going to be a big marketing battle, and Disney’s effort is merely the first salvo.

The video from the event is available below, and it’s kind of cool how Disney was able to integrate a 36-foot Hulk into “lifting” the London Bridge with rather seamless results.

Disney Infinity 2.0: Marvel Super Heroes arrives on September 23rd for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Wii U and 3DS.

Source: Comic Book Resources, East London Advertiser UK


This Week’s [a]list Jobs – September 17th

[a]listdaily is now your source for the hottest job openings for senior management and marketing in games, entertainment and social media. Check here every Wednesday for the latest openings.

Here are this week’s [a]list jobs:

  • Blizzard – Director, Partnerships and Promotions (Irvine, Calif.)
  • Hulu – Content Acquisition (Santa Monica, Calif.)
  • Maker – VP, Director of Talent Partnerships (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  • A&E – Director, Marketing Initiative Development (New York, NY)
  • Ayzenberg – Director, Business Development, ION (Pasadena, Calif.)

For last week’s [a]list jobs, click here.

Playing Hard At GameStop Expo

GameStop held its annual conference for managers last week in Anaheim, California at the Anaheim Convention Center, and in conjunction with that allowed thousands of consumers in for a very special day to see the hottest upcoming games and gaming related products.

GameStop managers had a lengthy series of presentations from all the major companies in the game business, laying out the upcoming titles and what exactly GameStop employees should be doing to sell them when eager gamers descend on GameStop stores this fall. It’s a terrific training opportunity for GameStop and for the game publishers, who are all well aware of the critical role retail employees play in the sales of games and DLC. A good GameStop employee can make a significant difference in pre-orders, sales and sales of DLC. Multiply that by thousands and you can see why GameStop is getting an increasing share of the retail game business, helping to offset the decline in retail game sales.

The Expo also featured a number of competitions for gamers eager to try their skills against each other at games like Titanfall and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. It’s pretty clear that Microsoft will be doing very well with Halo: The Master Chief Collection, as the game will be irresistible to the millions of Halo fans out there.

First of all, Halo: The Master Chief Collection will include every Halo map ever sold, including all the maps from the Halo versions for the PC. When you add them all up, that’s over 100 maps, which is a terrific deal for $60. The technical aspects of the game are also going to delight Halo fans: For one thing, all of the games are hosted on Microsoft’s servers instead of on individual Xboxes, which means those frequent game interruptions looking for a new server are a thing of the past. And searching for games will have new options, allowing you to search for desired game types across all versions of the game. It all means you’ll be able to play the type of game you want far more easily. Plus you get six Halo 2 maps remastered in full HD, and a beta key for Halo 5 in December. This game will definitely sell some Xbox Ones.

There were other impressive games on display at GameStop’s Expo, and one of the most impressive was Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor coming at the end of September from Warner Bros. Interactive, developed by Monolith. The game is an open-world sandbox set in the world of Middle-Earth, with a painstaking attention to the lore and a wide range of combat skills. The combat is reminiscent of the Batman series, translated into a gritty fantasy combat in the grim region of Mordor.

The most impressive thing about the game is the Nemesis system, where the game tracks a cadre of nasty Uruk-hai that you encounter as you kill them — or they kill you. Since your character is already dead and re-animated through magic, you keep coming back — but the nasty orc brutes keep getting better, and they remember their encounters with you. The system ratchets up the drama as well as the difficulty and you must get increasingly crafty with all of your abilities to ultimately succeed. This title looks like it will really grab you and keep you engaged for a good long time. Judging from the lines waiting to play, it looks like a winner.

There were plenty of gamers crowding around titles like Evolve, Destiny, and more. Many of the elaborate booths and set pieces had been used earlier at E3 or at PAX Prime, and were once again put to good use. It’s all about generating more excitement among the players, giving them some hands-on time with new games and sparking more social media mentions.

GameStop will probably hold this Expo again next year, and perhaps move it once again to a new venue in order to bring in a different audience. It’s a great way to defray the cost of the manager’s conference — no doubt the ticket sales go a good way towards offsetting the venue costs. For publishers, it provides an added reason to be there. The publishers get to train and excite the managers, and then get a chance to get thousands of consumers pumped up for a very low additional cost. Everybody wins.

It is important for GameStop to keep pushing the boundaries with new initiatives and events like the Expo. The underlying fact that everyone knows is that retail sales of games are in decline, and will only continue to decline as bandwidth improves around the country and publishers work ever harder to sell games digitally, thus reaping all of the revenue without having to give up a share to GameStop. GameStop isn’t taking it easy, though — the company is investing in mobile and other electronics stores, experiencing strong growth in game publishing through Kongregate, and continuing to push DLC sales and preorders and accessories. The company surprised many analysts with a better-than-expected quarter last time, and hopes to keep up that sort of surprise.

Game retailing may be slowly dwindling, but GameStop is not going to do the same without a fight. It’s an interesting battle to watch — and don’t be too quick to bet against GameStop. So far, they’ve been pretty good at swimming against the tide.

[a]list Summit: Mobile Marketing Comes to The W Hollywood Hotel December 3rd

We’re exploring each conference panel with in-depth analyses. Get the rundown on the mobile video landscape here

Today, [a]listdaily, [ion] and Ayzenberg are announcing that the next [a]list summit will be held at the W Hollywood Hotel on December 3rd. We will celebrate that this year we’ve officially entered the mobile era of marketing with our 10th summit.

It’s exciting times as what has been in the horizon for so many years now is now a reality as the mobile revolution is unlocking new markets and revenue-streams for entertainment companies and brands alike.

The days of desktop dominance are over. Mobile has swiftly risen to become the leading digital platform, with total activity on smartphones and tablets accounting for an astounding 60 percent of digital media time spent in the U.S., according to ComScore.

Here are some more interesting numbers illustrating what happened in 2014:

  • The average American spends 151 minutes daily on smartphones compared to 147 minutes watching TV
  • Facebook is making more than half their revenues from mobile ads.
  • Kim Kardashian: Hollywood app has been valued at $200 million.

What does this mean on strategic and practical levels for brand marketers and entertainment companies  Get ready for a day packed with inspiring stories and hands-on practical advice from leaders at some of the hottest mobile media and entertainment companies.

Learn new skills while making powerful connections in the entertainment capital of the world. Check out the official website and register here. (Don’t wait, our last summit sold out with over 375 people signed up!)

Are you a brand marketer You may qualify for a free pass! Just fill out the form here.

For more information about the summit, including speaking and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Joakim “Jay” Baage, Executive Director, [a]listdaily / Ayzenberg, email and phone 626-584-4070 x 570.

Rhett & Link Predict the Future Of Video On ‘Ear Biscuits’

By Jessica Klein

In the current digital age, the idea of a future in which our way of life has completely altered lurks potentially just around the corner. Rhett & Link paid homage to this concept in this week’s “Ear Biscuits,” when they created a podcast “time capsule” for listeners in the year 2024.

From Google Glass to drones, the comedic duo contemplated contemporary technological advancements and their possible evolution. When it came to video in particular, the two, being in the business, had plenty to say.

First up on the video docket, Rhett & Link discussed the future of cinema. If you’ve ever been to Disney’s Epcot Center, you’re at least semi-familiar with the notion of movies that stimulate the senses of smell and touch in addition to sight and hearing. 3D film has been an Epcot staple for some time, now, and one can easily call it a regular at any old cinema in 2014. However, Rhett believes movies will have to step up their game even more to bring in audiences come 2024.

“My prediction is that the movie watching experience at home will be so much better or even comparable to what we would get in a theater now that people will have had to upgrade what the theater provides in 2024,” said Rhett, adding, “Smellovision, don’t laugh.” Perhaps that technology will end up in our own homes, too (3D viewing did), but people still end up paying to see 3D movies in the theater. Even with early film releases online and on demand, the theater-going experience remains unique—a more appealing first date, for example, than inviting someone over to watch a movie on your living room couch (which could also be construed as a very creepy first date).

Next, the guys turned to commercials. Link still “sits through commercials that subsidized the production of television shows.” They further noted that though they’ve found a way to subsidize their online content, they still can’t churn out shows like “Breaking Bad” (Link’s example). Of course, there are many reasons behind this, but among then lies an undeniable distinction between traditional television and shows on YouTube.

“We make YouTube videos, which people do enjoy on their television sets if they’re a little more tech savvy, but in general, we still see YouTube as a different entity from television as a different entity from internet television as a different entity from movies,” Rhett explained. Link concurred, noting that he may watch a short-form YouTube show while waiting for his wife to join him to watch a longer show on streaming video platforms like Netflix or Amazon—all on his home TV screen, of course, not his laptop.

Rhett & Link also pointed out the difference between the Emmys and the Streamys. The former considered plenty of content from Netflix this past year (none of which won in any major categories), while the latter distinctly honors YouTube creators. However, the somewhat disparate categories have further merged in at least one awards ceremony, the Teen Choice Awards. However, Rhett brought up that the ceremony refers to recipients who create content and put it online as “internet celebrities.”

On this note, Rhett made his final predication for the podcast. “While I think there will be something distinctly different about independent entertainment, like what’s on YouTube, and studio-based entertainment, it’s not going to be like, ‘Well, one is on this website and one is on my TV when I get home,’” he said. However, he does think (and hopes), that the line between independent work and network/studio-based work will remain in 2024.

For more rehashing of current trends and predictions of what’s to come 10 years from now (worth about 50 pre-internet years), listen Rhett & Link’s “time capsule” podcast on “Ear Biscuits.”

This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

Michelin’s Newest Social Campaign Gets Participants Geocaching

Geocaching is a hot activity as smart phones enable more and more people to go on quests to find treasure and also help them share their experiences. This was the thinking behind Michelin’s latest campaign to leverage the online geocaching community with a fun scavenger hunt that enters you for a chance to win $1,000 worth of tires.

Michelin has hidden 2,000 Bibendum-shaped (the mascot’s name of course) tire gauges for the adventurous to find and then post their finding using #MichelinQuest on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

In return, Michelin gets great UGC in some awesome locations. The top 10 photos get up to $1,000 of tires and the most-liked photo gets to choose between dining at a Michelin-starred restaurant’s event or going to the Formula E electric race car series.

Source: Digiday


Microsoft Completes Acquisition Of Mojang

After there had been whispers over the past week about the sale, it’s finally official – Microsoft just made a huge “blocky” purchase of Mojang.

The company announced the acquisition of the game studio, which is responsible for the best-selling Minecraft games. The deal is worth an estimated $2.5 billion.

As far as why the company’s mastermind, Markus “Notch” Persson opted to sell the company to the big “M”, Mojang’s Owen Hill provided an explanation on the company’s website. “He’s decided that he doesn’t want the responsibility of owning a company of such global significance,” he said. “Over the past few years he’s made attempts to work on smaller projects, but the pressure of owning Minecraft became too much for him to handle. The only option was to sell Mojang.”

Following its sale to Microsoft, Persson will be departing the company, alongside co-founders Carl Manneh and Jakob Porser, with none of them indicating what they’ll be doing next – at least, not yet. The “vast majority” of employees will remain with the company, though, providing Microsoft with plenty of worth.

But will the purchase change the nature of the Minecraft series and its direction That won’t be the case, according to Xbox head Phil Spencer, who provided words of reassurance. “Minecraft adds diversity to our game portfolio and helps us reach new gamers across multiple platforms,” he said. “Gaming is the top activity across devices and we see great potential to continue to grow the Minecraft community and nurture the franchise. That is why we plan to continue to make Minecraft available across all platforms – including iOS, Android and PlayStation, in addition to Xbox and PC.”

With the move, Microsoft will take over on the yearly Minecraft convention, and plans to boost community in the process. “We’re excited to welcome Mojang to the Microsoft faming and we are thrilled to support the success and longevity of Minecraft for years to come,” concluded Spencer.

As far as Persson’s personal thoughts on the sale, he took to his personal blog to express himself. “As soon as this deal is finalized, I will leave Mojang and go back to doing Ludum Dares and small web experiments,” he said. “If I ever accidentally make something that seems to gain traction, I’ll probably abandon it immediately.

“Considering the public image of me already is a bit skewed, I don’t expect to get away from negative comments by doing this, but at least now I won’t feel a responsibility to read them.

I’m aware this goes against a lot of what I’ve said in public. I have no good response to that. I’m also aware a lot of you were using me as a symbol of some perceived struggle. I’m not. I’m a person, and I’m right there struggling with you.”

Source: GamesIndustry International

AMC Picks Up ‘Humans’ From Xbox Entertainment Studios

With the announcement that Xbox Entertainment Studios would cease operations (in favor of more game-oriented content for the Xbox consoles and other mediums), AMC Studios has taken an interest in one of the studios’ more interesting projects.

The channel behind such popular shows as Hell on Wheels, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead is close to finalizing a deal to bring the series Humans to development, in conjunction with U.K. broadcaster Channel Four and Shine Group-owned group Kudos.

Although the studio hasn’t officially mentioned supporting the series, it already has stated that it’s involved with various cast members from the project, with a rumored start date of sometime next month, according to Variety. The series, which will span eight episodes, is likely to premiere sometime in 2015.

With Xbox Entertainment Studios somewhat in flux, AMC assures that a cast can finally be “nailed down” for the production, and that it can move forward into actually being made.

The show, based on the Swedish series Real Humans, deals with regular people who have robot servants, and how their reactions actually play an impact on day-to-day proceedings. As you might guess, the robots actually look a little human themselves.

The show is being produced by Jane Featherstone and Derek Wax, and Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley are on board to write it.

With its partnership with Microsoft, AMC can resume show-making duties from XES, while two other projects, the Halo series produced by Ridley Scott and another by Steven Spielberg and Showtime, remain in the works. Since they’re tying in with Microsoft forthcoming releases of Halo: The Master Chief Collection this year and Halo 5: Guardians next year, these shows shouldn’t run the risk of being cancelled.

What do you think Will Humans make a prime addition to AMC’s show line-up Do you think it’ll fit right in with the likes of The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad

Source: Variety

Marketers: More Brand Awareness Efforts, Please

Brand awareness is one of the hottest new trends in marketing, mainly because, well, it’s making customers more aware of the power of said brand. A majority of marketing professionals is looking to boost their spending when it comes to said trend, somewhere over the next twelve months. At least, that’s according to a recent August 2014 poll from InsightExpress.

The poll indicates that nearly 56 percent of eMarketer daily newsletter readers and visitors have stated interest in spending more on branding-related activities over the next year, while another 27 percent feel that maintaining current spending levels is the right thing to do. That shows the effectiveness of brand awareness, as well as its demand with audiences, as well as global business expansion efforts and spending on events.

That’s just in the U.S. as well — those polled in Latin America and Asia-Pacific are even more compelled to spend more money on brand awareness, with 59 to 60 percent of respondents looking to utilize it. Demand generation was also quite high in both of those countries, as they indicated they would invest in that as well.

So who was the least likely group to use brand awareness to their advantage Surprising enough, it’s Canada. There’s still a majority there, with 51.1 percent of marketers that planned to spend more on it, but demand generation fell a bit with only 33.7 percent of those polled in support of it.

As a result of said poll, demand generation has fallen a bit, with only four in ten indicating they would spend more in that department.

But the focus here is on the growth of brand awareness, and over the next 12 months, consumers shouldn’t be surprised to see an increase in this regard for various companies.

What do you think Should brand awareness play a bigger part over demand generation

Source: eMarketer