This Week’s [a]list Jobs – October 29

[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:

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

Fabric Helping Twitter’s Growth

Twitter may still be rolling in the dough, but the company is concerned about growing an audience as big as its competitors, namely Facebook. Fortunately, it’s turning to a rather usable source for help – Fabric.

Not actual fabric, mind you. Fabric is a set of app-development tools unveiled by the site this past week. With it, developers are able to integrate tweets and MoPub services into its apps. As a result, the growth of Twitter’s monetization services – and influence – can take effect, according to Digiday.

With tweets embedded into apps, the outreach to a potential audience can be greater, enabling them to sign up for the social site in return. In addition, incorporating tweets into MoPub ads will increase knowledge in the company’s general services, for those who remain uninitiated.

With 284 million users, Twitter’s base is nothing to scoff at, as that’s a 23 percent increase from the year before. However, the company believes that’s a rather slow growth, especially with the quick acceptance of its competitors, namely Facebook.

Part of its problem is trying to keep users from wandering off the service, as it experienced last year following a huge spike of followers with a tie-in through the World Cup soccer tournament. With Fabric, these fortunes could possibly turn around, and for the better.

With the service, Twitter opts to make things easier for applications to use tweets and MoPub for advertising purposes, thus providing the outreach it’s hoping for. The service also promises to allow people to compose tweets through other apps, tying back in to the main site and, again, increasing its audience, even if it’s not direct.

Jeff Seibert, mobile platform director for the company, believes that the monetization portions of Fabric aren’t the end goal, but rather a wide adoption across a heavy developer base. “This is a very long-term strategy. The primary goal is making app developers interested in building on Twitter,” he explained. “We’re confident if Fabric is successful, that bottom line will be met.”

Here’s hoping the program is a success.

Electronic Arts Powers Ahead

The times are finally changing for Electronic Arts, after years of less-than-stellar returns. The transition of the company to embracing the new digital realities of the game industry has been a rough one, but things are finally looking pretty good for Electonic Arts, as the latest earnings report demonstrates amply. The company may well pass up arch-rival Activision in total revenue this year, which would certainly be the occasion for some high-fives among the executive team.

The numbers EA posted were impressive in many ways: The company’s net (non-GAAP) revenue of $1.22 billion beat the previous guidance of $1.14 billion, and earnings per share (EPS) of $0.73 was above the guidance of $0.50. Operating cash flow was also up by $189 million, and the company has now stacked up an impressive $2.39 billion in cash, and 67 percent of this cash and short-term investment balance is held onshore. That’s a pretty good war chest for funding strategic moves, whether that’s new game development, acquisitions, or marketing expenditures.

CEO Andrew Wilson noted some usage stats during the call. EA had 155 million monthly active users for mobile games during the quarter. “Mobile generated $115 million for the quarter, up 11 percent over the prior year,” noted CFO Blake Jorgenson. “$105 million, or 91 percent, of this was from digital extra content and advertising. This was up 35 perfect versus the prior year and continues to more than offset the decline in the premium business.”

Essentially, EA is going all-in on free-to-play in the mobile space, and the strategy is working. The company is doing very well with its sports titles on mobile, too, and it looks like those titles are helping to drive console game sales as well. Wilson noted that Madden games played are up 48 percent year-over-year, with 89 million games played this year. There are 50 percent more players online in FIFA 15, and the aggregate Ultimate Team player base increased by over 40 percent. EA Sports mobile game audiences are up over 250 percent from last year.

EA may not have a chart-topping mobile title like Clash of Clans, but it’s doing quite well overall with its mobile games. It does lead you to wonder if the company will be looking to create more original (or licensed) mobile games to try and garner some of the juicy revenue available at the the top of the top-grossing charts. It’s worth remembering that EA has the Star Wars license, and it’s easy to imagine some Star Wars mobile games that could do very well indeed if the movie does well.

Overall, despite the weakness of console game sales in general, EA has been doing well there. Wilson noted that gamers spent1.9 billion hours of playing EA games during the quarter — or, if you look at it another way, the company is making less than a dollar for every hour of fun. That’s a pretty good deal for gamers, though no doubt EA would like to boost that ratio a bit.

“EA’s non-GAAP net revenue was $1.22 billion, which was 17 percent higher than the prior year’s results and 7 percent above our guidance,” said Jorgenson. “The excellent performance was led by FIFA 15, Madden 15, and The Sims 4. ” EA announced that Battlefield Hardline is now set to launch on March 17, 2015 in North America, and that Star Wars Battlefront is headed for the holidays in 2015. Both of those titles are expected to do very well.

Moving on to other areas, the emergence of China as a huge and growing market for games has been hard for Western companies to take advantage of, in part due to the restrictions of the Chinese government that preclude non-Chinese companies from doing business easily without a local partner. EA is making progress in generating significant revenue from Asia, but there’s a lot of market potential the company is not yet realizing. FIFA Online 3 is one of the top games in revenue for Korea, so that’s a positive step.

Still, the truth is that EA needs to get substantially stronger than it is in the world’s largest game market. — China. On Asia, we don’t break out our revenues. It is obviously the smallest part of our international business,” said Jorgenson. That’s got to be a major area of concern for EA going forward, especially as Chinese companies are using their market growth to power acquisitions of Western game companies.

Meanwhile, the company continues its transition to becoming a more digital company than a physical one; on a GAAP basis the company’s digital revenue last quarter exceeded its physical revenue. “Full game PC and console downloads generated $94 million, up 71 percent over the prior year,” said Jorgenson. “Although the percentage varied considerably by title, platform, and geography, the trend towards full game downloads continues. Subscriptions, advertising, and other digital revenue contributed $91 million, up 47 percent over the same period last year.”

One way that EA is performing well is by improving its gross margins. In part, this is due to the higher-margin digital revenue taking an increasing share of the business, but Jorgenson also pointed out how reductions in marketing expenses have contributed to this. “Our non-GAAP gross margin for the quarter was 66.1 percent, an increase from last year’s 61.7 percent and better than our guidance of 65.5 percent. The increase over the prior year was primarily due to growth in our digital business, both full game downloads and extra content, and by The Sims 4 launch,” noted Jorgenson. “Our lower operating expenses compared to guidance were largely driven by quarterly phasing of key expenses in marketing and contracted services, combined with continued cost discipline. We expect some of these marketing and services costs to be incurred in future quarters.”

Activision will be delivering its earnings report on November 4, and it will be interesting to see how these two companies compare in their handling of the game industry transitions — and how successfully they are doing so.

Now On Tumblr, Autoplay Video Ads By Hulu, Universal, And More

by Jessica Klein

In the wake of Tumblr’s recent announcement that its video player “finally works,” the company has also decided to leverage its new features by offering them up to advertisers.

Multiple brands, including JC Penney, Hulu, Universal, Lexus, The CW, and Unilever’s Axe, are participating in the launch, running autoplay ads on the social-blogging platform beginning Tuesday, October 28.

All ads will play automatically without sound, but they’ll appear in-stream for users on laptops and mobile devices. On desktop, users will also have the option to “pop out” the video on the side and watch as they surf their Tumblr feed.

These sponsored video ads are still in a beta stage for Tumblr, with plans to open them up to all advertisers in mid-November.

Tumblr hasn’t disclosed pricing for the ads, but said it’s charging on a cost-per-view basis. Here, the company defines a view as a video that’s played and has been “in view” for at least two seconds, which are in line with industry standards for video viewability.

Tumblr is obviously not the first social network to launch an autoplay ad option for advertisers. Facebook embarked on its video business with the same approach, and has been able to attract plenty of advertisers to distribute shareable content on its network.

And like Facebook, Tumblr has been trying to convince media and entertainment companies to buy ads on its platform. An autoplay ad option could go a long way in helping Tumblr meet its $100 million revenue target for 2015, which parent company Yahoo projected during its most recent earnings call.

One thing potentially in Tumblr’s favor: video is popular among its users, with video posts growing twice as fast as photo posts. (That said, we have no idea how many of the platform’s 420 million monthly uniques actually watch that content.)

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 thevideoink.com for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.

CREATIVE: Top Trailers For The Week: October 29

It’s time for another round of Top Trailers For the Week, highlighting the best features in TV, movies and video games. We’ve got a full batch of selections for you this week, so let’s get started.

 

 

Hot on the heels of last week’s trailer debut (and the revealing of a larger Marvel universe yesterday), The Avengers: Age of Ultron got an exclusive sneak peek that premiered last night on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. This one features Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and other Avengers attempting to lift Thor’s hammer, with somewhat humorous results. The joke doesn’t last long, though, as the devastating Ultron (James Spader) eventually makes his presence known. The Avengers: Age of Ultron arrives in theaters on May 1st.

 

Not letting the Avengers have all the fun, Hayley Atwell’s Agent Carter also got a debut of her own last night, with a teaser for the forthcoming series that will debut in ABC in early 2015. The 8-episode event will focus on Atwell’s character, who was featured in a prominent role in the 2011 release Captain America: The First Avenger. The series will focus on her continued efforts in the S.H.I.E.L.D. organization in the 1940’s.

 

With Halo: The Master Chief Collection set to release in just under two weeks for Xbox One, Microsoft has released a new trailer for the game that focuses on the upgraded Cinematics for Halo 2 Anniversary, which is included in the package. As you can see, a lot of work went into the game’s remastering, as it resembles more of a science fiction film than a video game. The Master Chief Collection will arrive on November 11th.

 

Last but not least, even though it’s not tied in to any current promotions, Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame stole the show on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon when he chose to rap to Blackalicious’ “Alphabet Aerobics.” The performance is a tour-de-force, namely because it speeds up as the song goes along – and Radcliffe keeps up with it gracefully.