Why Online TV Watching Is On The Rise

There’s no question that online TV viewing, either through direct channels or streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, is quite convenient. But, according to a new report from comScore, it could also provide ease of use when it comes to catching up on the things you love.

The report, posted through eMarketer, indicates that out of those U.S. Internet users polled, 56 percent believe they prefer online television because they can watch it at their own pace, and when their schedule allows it. Considering that most broadcast stations follow a pre-set schedule, it’s easy to see why this would be such a benefit.

Meanwhile, more than 50 percent of those polled believe that viewing television across the Internet is simply a more convenient option, even when a smaller screen is involved.

TV ads actually don’t play a big part in the online TV debate, as only 38 percent of those polled watch online programming to skip commercials. Meanwhile, 33 percent of users believe that it’s a better option because there are fewer commercials overall.

Other options in the poll include a less expensive way to view programs rather than with cable or pay TV packages (29 percent), needing a second outlet if someone else in a household is watching something (18 percent) or travelers (13 percent).

Out of the ages of users who prefer to watch online TV at their leisure, 18-34 year olds lead the pack, with 28 percent indicating they would watch a show within three days after its live airing. 35-54 year olds were close behind by 25 percent, while those 55 and older ranked at 18 percent. The numbers become lesser when it comes to viewing a program four days or later after its initial airing.

Meanwhile, paid digital video subscribers are more than likely to use their services for viewing online television, with 28 percent indicating they would do so within three days. Non-paid digital video subscribers are at a lesser count, at 18 percent.

eMarketer estimated that 142.5 million people in the U.S. use digital television means at least once per month this year, with an increase to the majority of users in just a couple years’ time, by 2016.

Indeed, on-demand viewing is on the rise.

SteelSeries CEO Explains How Pro Gamers Can Help Gaming Companies

 

Ehtisham Rabbani SteelSeriesEhtisham Rabbani, CEO of SteelSeries

In the competitive gaming peripheral space, which continues to see double digit growth, SteelSeries has wooed M. Ehtisham Rabbani away from Logitech. The former SVP and SMO of Logitech, who oversaw the company’s games division, is now the CEO of a company that has embraced eSports from the early days. SteelSeries is best known for its line of PC keyboards, mice and headphones. Rabbani explains why sponsoring teams like Fnatic and Navi has helped the brand and what opportunities bigger brands entering the space means for gaming companies in this exclusive interview.

What impact has the rise of eSports had on gaming companies?

It’s not been news to anyone that has been involved in this space that eSports is popular. SteelSeries has been involved in it for years. It’s news to mainstream outlets like the New York Times that have suddenly discovered the vibrant eSports scene. But people in the industry have been seeing this for years and we’ve been participating in this for years. The numbers are staggering with more people watching eSports’ League of Legends Championship last year than the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals. When you add all of that up, there’s a lot of passion around eSports and it’s only going to grow. It’s interesting to see more and more games coming into eSports, offering a greater set of diversity. The first breakout eSports game was StarCraft that really wracked up the numbers. That was an RTS game. Now there aren’t a lot of RTS franchises. There is a lot of development in different genres today because of eSports.

What impact has livestreaming opened up for brands like Logitech and SteelSeries?

The opportunities have been in better understanding and better appreciating what it takes to win. You see a lot of streamers talk about their strategies and their tools and what they’re looking for in a great gaming mouse or headset. It all comes together for a gamer to feel confident that they’re going to win. It’s changed the equation for the gaming hardware business and increased the appetite of gamers who want to learn more about what makes a great gaming mouse or headset. We see a lot more traffic to our website and more people who want to learn about our products. Brands interested in innovation and bringing tools to help gamers win get more respect, rather than those who release cool looking products that don’t enhance the gameplay experience.

What’s the value of working with pro gamers and eSports teams?

They’re valuable because they’re 100 percent focused on winning. They’re professionals. As pros, their entire career relies on having the right tools and winning championships. If we can help individuals win matches and teams win championships, it validates what we’re trying to do. They also have huge audiences — hundreds of thousands of people following them. They’re critical opinion leaders. We work closely with them at every stage in the development of new products. The teams we work with is not a relationship that’s only about giving them money only. It’s about them helping us with product development and design and providing feedback before a product hits the shelf. So by the time a new product is released, it’s been vetted by pro teams. That role for us is an important as them as spokespeople for our brand.

Is there a direct correlation between eSports teams and sales of your products?

I’d love to have an answer to that. We’re making great products and we do a lot of social media and advertising, so it’s hard to figure out what percentage of sales comes from eSports. It’s a bit of a leap of faith, but it’s very natural for us.

What are your thoughts on bigger brands entering the eSports space?

I think that’s a good thing. If eSports can become a place where young gamers can come in and make good money and have pro careers, that helps gaming as a whole. It helps all the businesses that are associated with gaming. I welcome deep-pocketed companies. We have pro gamers who are making six digit salaries today and it’s only a matter of time before that goes even higher. I don’t see a Coke or an AmEx as a threat. They’re not in the business of providing amazing tools to gamers and I don’t see them getting into our business. We have a unique role to play in eSports.

What’s the competition like in the crowded headphone space with new entrants?

There’s no secret that the gaming peripherals business — when you look at electronics in general, very few categories are growing by double digits — and gaming peripherals is one of those categories. A lot of companies are entering that business. They’ll learn that if you’ve been making traditional mice and headsets, the jump to gaming is not simple. You can’t put red flames on a product and call it gaming. There’s some real science that these companies don’t have and gamers see that. I don’t feel threatened by them. We have a decade-long lead in developing great gaming products.

ESports helps differentiate us. These days, major brands like SteelSeries have to be associated with eSports to be an established brand. All my major competitors are involved in eSports in one way or another. You have your brand logo on different teams, but at the end of the day comes down to how good are your products. Our emphasis is on using eSports relationships to make the best products possible.

What are your goals at SteelSeries moving forward?

It’s an authentic gaming brand. We have no ambitions of going beyond servicing gamers. There are very few brands now that can claim that. They’re in search of growth in all sorts of business. But for us it’s gaming, and gamers are our north star. We’re not moving away from that. Our whole organization is laser-focused in delivering things gamers need. We don’t put out products unless there’s a real need for it. That mission is what attracted me to SteelSeries. That purity of vision will grow the company. We’ve seen double digit growth for several years and we will accelerate that. We’re Number 3 in the world today and we hope to move up.

If you look at our history of headsets and simple things like the self-adjusting headband suspension design, gamers needed a different way to wear a headset that you could comfortably wear for hours. Now a lot of companies are trying to copy that. That’s the kind of innovation that we’re doing — it’s need-based. We were the first mouse with an on-board 32Bit Arm processor and that came out of a specific need. New products that we will be launching will address needs in the market.

 

Seven Ways To Help Your Brand’s Audience Help You On YouTube

by Jessica Klein

If you really want to make your brand’s video content work on YouTube, there are two words you need to seriously consider: Social. Media. Because social media is, ahem, social, this is not the kind of promotion you’re supposed to make happen all by yourself. You need your audience’s help, and here’s how you can enlist them to help you, according to theYouTube Playbook for Brands.

1. Comment Back

When you first upload a video is when it’s going to get the most comments on YouTube. Knowing this, don’t just post your video and walk away. Stick around to see who writes what, and then write something back. The people who engage so quickly with your content are also most likely your biggest fans, so get to know them.

2. Keep Your Friends Close

Who comments the most frequently on your brand’s video posts? As long as they’re saying largely good things (as opposed to spam, or hate spam), they deserve reciprocation for caring so much. You can provide this by making a point to reply to their comments and by sharing your brand’s updates with them personally.

3. Maintain a Positive Conversation

If your video’s comment section is getting nasty, you’re not powerless to curb the trend. You can remove mean-spirited comments. You can also separate your brand from the ones that get too much attention prior to removal. Tell commenters that your brand does not support/hold this negative attitude, if that seems appropriate in the context.

4. Include Viewers in Your Content

This will make your fans feel like they’ve earned a promotion—from viewers to contributors. There are plenty of easy ways to do this, too, like by giving shout-outs to top commenters and inviting your viewers to ask questions that you’ll read aloud and answer in your next video installment.

5. Have Some Merch

Another way for fans to engage with your brand is through merchandise—outside of the main product. Say you’re an airline. Though you can’t exactly be giving away free flights all the time, you can offer shirts with a funny slogan that relates to your brand’s video content (or a stuffed airplane, perhaps ). Put an annotation at the end of your videos that leads to the place on your website where they can purchase these items. This lets fans engage with your brand outside the web.

6. Offer Special Content

Think “behind-the-scenes” or “exclusive sneak peeks”—that’s the kind of content you can use as an incentive for viewers to engage further or as a reward for the fans that do. You can share these as unlisted videos, making your diehard fans feel all the more inclined to stay loyal and watching.

7. Expand to Other Platforms

Figure out where else your most engaged fans have social media accounts. If they’ve all got Twitter handles (they probably do), you should probably get one, too, to stay in the loop and further promote your work.

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.

Now That Microsoft Has Dropped The Price Of The Xbox One, What’s Next?

Microsoft already has a jump on the holiday season as November rolls around, with such exclusive titles as Forza Horizon 2, Sunset Overdrive and Halo: The Master Chief Collection under its belt, along with various bundles revolving around hits like Assassin’s Creed Unity and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Now, it may have just sounded its loudest warning call to its competition at Sony to date.

The company confirmed today that it would be launching a special holiday promotion starting on November 2nd and running through January 3rd that will introduce a $50 price drop for all of its Xbox One bundles. That means users can pick up bundles like the general Xbox One system, the Sunset Overdrive bundle and the Assassin’s Creed bundle for $349, while the Advanced Warfare bundle will be $449.

While it sounds like the price drop may be temporary, Microsoft may stick with it permanently if enough units are sold, according to sources.

This is a major strike against Sony, as it marks the first time that the Xbox One will be cheaper than the PlayStation 4 console, which launched at market last year for $399 — $100 more than what the Xbox One initially sold for at the time. Microsoft has since made moves to stay competitive, including removing the necessity of its Kinect device to make the hardware less expensive.

The video below goes into more detail about what value Microsoft is bringing to the holiday season, between key first-party releases, as well as third-party titles.

 

Mobile Video Driving Brand Marketing

Think With Google recently posted an article explaining how the use of mobile video can be a new driving factor when it comes to brand marketing — and with the numbers reported, it just makes common sense.

The numbers, compiled by Google and Ipsos, indicate that most millennials aged 18-34 utilize a smartphone for their information most often, considering it far less distracting than watching something on television.

The numbers also show that, out of all the video watched on smartphones, 40 percent of it comes from YouTube, enabling the possibility of mobile advertising through certain marketers. The channel already carries a good amount of advertisements, but, like Jello, there’s always room for more.

Out of those owning a smartphone in that market, a whopping 98 percent use them to watch video content, compared to 81 percent for television. Computers and tablets fall behind, with 56 and 19 percent, respectively. The chart below shows just how much smartphones have jumped ahead.

Those polled indicated that they only watch video on TV approximately 28 percent of the time, mainly due to the fact it can be distracting — and those millennials are twice as likely to focus on watching video through their smartphones over TV, due to the more up-close-and-personal nature of the device.

So where can brand advertisers make this market work for them According to Think With Google, there are two key areas. The first is thinking multi-screen with their campaigns, with a companion experience built with the smartphone in mind. The second is with creating in-the-moment experiences, with a better outreach to audiences in general, instead of just a plain medium, like sticking solely with television advertisements.

Volkswagen is a good example of this, launching a SmileDrive app that utilizes mobile devices and YouTube to create a shareable experience for those stuck in a morning commute. The move has certainly paid off, as more than 200,000 people have taken part in that experience.

Yes, it’s just a matter of outreach — and don’t be surprised if more companies tend to follow this example.

Amazon Adds Appstore To Android App

In the past, purchasing Android games through Amazon’s Appstore required you to download a special app in order to do so – a problem considering it isn’t readily available through the Google Play services. However, this past month, the company has made things a little bit easier, with the ability to activate a fully-functional Appstore on Android devices, which can be accessed directly through Amazon’s official application.

Users can find the store through the company’s “Shop by Department” section, and select “Apps & Games” from there. Following that, users will gain complete access to all of the applications available, which is a nice change of pace from how they had to get games before.

“Our customers want to go to one place to find all selection, whether it’s physical or digital, so we now offer the ability for customers to purchase videos, songs, audiobooks, apps and games from within the Amazon app,” said a spokesperson, speaking with TechCrunch. The goal of the company’s press release was to talk more about the convenience of using the Amazon app, rather than the addition of the Android-based services themselves.

Part of that move comes from the expansion of video services with Amazon Prime – even if that still requires having to download a separate Video Player to activate said services on mobile devices. A small price to pay, though, especially considering how much Amazon has expanded said services with most of its products.

On the Fire TV specifically, the company has managed to triple its selection of programs, from such studios as A & E, NFL Now, DailyMotion, PBS, PBS Kids and others, according to Business Wire. “We continue to hear from customers how much they love the selection available to them on their Amazon Fire TV. In just over six months we’ve tripled the catalog and we’re adding new customer favorites on a weekly basis,” said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President of the Amazon Appstore. “We also hear from customers how much they love playing games on their TV — 9 of the top 10 grossing apps on Fire TV are games — so we continue to work with game developers and add the most popular game content. Dungeon Quest, Spoiler Alert, Leo’s Fortune and Ninja Hero Cats, are some of the new games recently launched on Fire TV, and, coming soon, NBA 2K15.”

Others chimed in on the success of Fire TV as well, between such media apps as Amazon Instant Video and Netflix, as well as games like Asphalt 8: Airborne and Despicable Me: Minion Rush. “As a small development team, we have had the largest return on our invested capital with Fire TV,” said Todd Daniel, Managing Partner at Shiny Box Games, makers of Dungeon Quest. “We are seeing world class performance metrics only a month in to the game being available on Amazon Fire TV. User retention and attachment rates are higher than any of our other platforms.”

“For us it was really important to be on Fire TV, because of our beyond-mobile strategy,” said Chris Kassulke, CEO and co-founder of HandyGames, creators of Ninja Hero Cats and Save the Puppies. “The end-consumer should have access to their games, whether they are on the go or at home in the living room, and this is the reason why we optimized all our games for Fire TV. As a next step, we will be optimizing all our future games for Fire TV, so the end-consumer can look forward to lots of exciting new content from us.”

“Video content owners have been able to transform their video catalogs into TV apps with the Opera TV Snap technology, and we are excited to publish this video content on Amazon Fire TV – yet another platform to massively increase their audiences,” said Aneesh Rajaram, Senior Vice President for TV & Devices, Opera Software.

No doubt Amazon is attempting to open up its video services on all venues – and the expansion is likely to continue into 2015 and beyond.

This Week in People: October 24

Here are some of the top personnel moves in marketing last week. Our congratulations to these people taking on new challenges!

  • David Helgason has stepped down from his role as CEO of Unity to become executive vice president in charge of strategy and communications at the company, while ex-EA CEO John Riccitiello has become the new CEO. Read more about it here.
  • Jade Raymond is leaving Ubisoft after a decade of work with the publisher. Raymond served as producer on the original Assassin’s Creed, and was appointed managing director of the publisher’s then-new Ubisoft Toronto studio in 2009. Find out more here.
  • Coca-Cola has named Marcos de Quinto as its new chief marketing officer, replacing Joe Tripodi, who had been in the role for seven years. Mr. De Quinto has been president of the Iberia business unit since January 2000 covering Spain and Portugal. Find out more here.

If you have a submission for this weekly feature, send info to pr@ayzenberg.com or fill out our Suggest a Story form.

Hollywood Studios Cashing In On Syndication

Think there isn’t big bucks in syndicated video-on-demand (SVOD) Think again, as Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime will definitely be cashing in to get a hold of major programming, according to Variety.

An analysis from David Bank indicates that SVOD services will be spending mega-bucks to secure programming for the next year, to the tune of $6.8 billion. That’s huge news for Hollywood studios, since this year’s numbers are just a bit smaller at $5.2 billion.

This is mainly due to expansion and the need to secure programming that will lure in viewers, both with original productions (like Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards) and popular shows that will run via syndication (like Netflix’s deal to air the first season of Gotham after its network run).

Bank believes that the increase in spending for video-on-demand services will actually go into double digits year over year, meaning even more programming available to viewers across the “big three”, particularly the ever-popular Netflix.

In fact, the amount spent for off-network domestic syndication will see an even bigger number, going into $18.4 billion projected for 2015. However, those will probably lean more towards digital services, as expansion of the current cable channel line-up isn’t expected over the next few years.

Bank believes that video-on-demand spending has already gone beyond general syndication spending by broadcast stations, and should double the $3.3 billion projected for next year very soon. In all, between broadcast, video and cable, studios are expected to be given $29.5 billion by next year.

Spending seems to come the most from Netflix, with an estimated $3.3 billion in spending, with Amazon coming in second with $1.7 billion and Hulu Plus in third with $1.5 billion.

A lot of studios are making big money from the deal, including CBS Studios, leading the charge with $179 million expected for 2015. Warner Bros. is in second place with $106 million, and Lionsgate in third with $61 million.

Even those lower on the list, like Universal TV with its $22 million, are still cleaning up, as the majority of that payoff is coming from one series alone, The Blacklist.

Newcomers are definitely making moves, though, according to Bank. “Yahoo’s purchase of exclusive rights to prior seasons of ‘Saturday Night Live’ and its order for a sixth original season of ‘Community’ could be a harbinger of things to come,” he said.

Exclusive deals could be a huge boon for these companies, but they also come with risk. “This model, on some level, has enabled the major studios to make more of the ‘hit risk’ out of producing premium broadcast content,” Bank explained.

“While much has been made of the potential for original programming to lower demand for acquired off- network programming, we think such concerns are overstated,” wrote Bank. “The average linear cable channel or SVOD platform alike has to program 24 hours per day of viewer demand. This demand cannot be satisfied by a slate of six or so original shows.”

It’ll be interesting to see how the slate looks with exclusive programming over the next year.

Your Most Crucial Weekend #MustReads: October 24

We sort through quite a bit of the fluff out there on the Internet on a daily basis and we’ve found what we think are the most crucial before you head off for your weekend.

Have something else to share Feel free to comment with your contribution below.

5 Trends in Mobile Gaming: What to look for in the coming year in mobile gaming.

Mobile Video Driving Brand Marketing: When it comes to mobile, video is key.

Facebook’s Answer to Reddit is ‘Rooms’: Facebook’s latest mobile app has a *lot* to offer marketers.

Online Gaming Not Welcome To Women: Houston… the Internet has a problem here.

Ello Expands, Raising $5.5 Million: The anti-advertising social platform raising everyone’s eyebrows has raised a mighty number.

YouTube is the Most-Used Social Network for 14-17 Year-Olds: It’s not Facebook and it’s all about mobile video.

Mapping the MMO Market: SuperData ranks the world’s top 10 MMO’s.

Global Games Revenues to Reach $25 Billion in 2014: Mobile is on track to surpass console revenue.

Programmatic, Meet Native: Programmatic and native advertising are quickly growing. Here’s what it means for mobile.

Game Developers: “We Will Never Accept Threats, Hate, Violence or Sexism”: Game developers sign a petition in response to #Gamergate.

Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifinakis and Brad Pitt: A must-see.

Here Are 10 Must-See Stats From This Week in Digital Marketing: Adweek collects a list crucial to your digital marketing know-how.

How Google’s New ‘Inbox’ Product for Gmail Could Change Email Forever: It’s about time email got a serious update.

This Game Has Huge Potential. So Why Is Its Kickstarter Tanking : The Black Glove comes from some of the folks who made Bioshock, so what’s up

Mazda Co-Sponsoring SXSW In 2015

The South By Southwest Festival, or SXSW, is still month away from kicking off, but that isn’t stopping it from revving its engine with a new sponsor.

Mazda’s North American Operations has announced that it has signed a three-year partnership with the yearly festival, which takes place in Austin, Texas. The deal will run through 2017 starting with the next event, which will take place between March 13 and 22, according to Mediapost.

“After spending time at last year’s SXSW in Austin, we knew it was the right fit for the Mazda brand and were eager to expand upon our presence moving forward,” said Russell Wager, VP marketing for the automaker’s U.S. operation. “Music, Film and technology are passion points for Mazda customers and our official partnership with the festival will allow us to connect with them on a deeper level, in one of the most forward-thinking environments around.”

Mazda will act as the official automotive sponsor for the event, which also features promotional partners such as Monster Energy, IFC, Miller Lite, and Esurance AT&T. And that’s also not including the other promotional events that happen around the festival, such as Oreo’s Grab & Go campaign, as well as the Samsung TechSet Blogger Lounge.

This isn’t the first time that Mazda has taken part in a stylish campaign, as it previously had a campaign surrounding the 25th anniversary of its Miata model, and its new MX-5 Miata. The special, Fashion Rocks, aired in CBS during Fashion Week in New York, and drew big performers, including Pitbull, J. Lo and Usher, among others.

Clearly, SXSW is a big move forward for the company, and more than likely, we’ll see more advertising for the new 2016 MX-5 from it, including possible digital tie-ins similar to what Fashion Rocks had earlier in the year, per the live promotional site {link no longer active].