Digital Ad Revenue Has Hit $23 Billion

In just the first six months of 2014, digital ad revenue has already increased 15 percent to total $23.1 billion, according to PwC US. This increase is in comparison to the same period in 2013 and shows that mobile revenue is largely responsible for this increase, rising 76 percent in just a year, or $5.3 billion.

A breakdown of mobile revenue shows that mobile search made up $2.7 billion and mobile display $2.5 billion, respectively. Such a large increase in mobile revenue in so short a time shows brands are making large monetary commitments to mobile, as it takes increased precedence in the digital landscape overall.

Social media revenue also saw big increases- 58 percent- rising to $2.9 billion. Search revenue, a big chunk of digital ad revenue, saw an increase of 4 percent, clocking in at $9.1 billion.

Performance-based advertising (65 percent increase) is increasing at a faster rate than impressions-based advertising (34 percent increase).



FX Launches ‘Simpsons World’ Experience

Ever since it broadcasted a full run of The Simpsons a few weeks ago, as part of a syndication deal for the popular animated show, FXX has been looking to make a big move to draw in even more fans of the series. Today, it’s taken that big step, with the launch of a new Simpsons World experience.

Using the online website (as well as the coordinating FX Now application for iPhone, IPad, Android phones, tablets, game consoles, Apple TV and Smart TV’s), viewers will be able to engulf themselves in a full Simpsons experience, including the ability to watch episodes from all 25 seasons of the hit animated show. In addition, new episodes will be added to the app, one day after their broadcast premiere on Fox.

In addition, the hub also contains an Everything Simpsons newsfeed, which covers the latest news surrounding the show, as well as social media updates from those involved, as well as little “Did You Know” facts with particular episodes in the series.

Along with recommendations from the Simpsons series, the video player included with the hub will also recommend other clips and episodes, as well as the ability to share comments right away via social media. This, in turn, should help generate a bigger online audience for it.

Best of all, Simpsons World will come with full user accessibility, enabling them to find favorite episodes, seasons and other video content with ease. A search function built into the hub will enable users to find their favorite characters and events from the show, as well as celebrity guest stars. Over 3,000 clips will be available, with more being added as new stars make their debut on the show.

This marks a huge move for FXX, and is likely to draw in even more popularity with the show. Interested viewers can learn more over at the Simpsons World web page.

Online Video Viewing Zooms

There’s one thing that’s clear with today’s audience on the Internet — they sure enjoy watching videos.

A report from Adobe indicates that more users are watching videos than ever before, with an estimated 38.2 billion free videos viewed online during the second quarter of 2014. That’s a whopping 43 percent leap forward from the same quarter in 2013. In addition to that, the company reports that 60 percent of those videos were viewed via smartphones, rather than conventional computers.

Advertisers have been paying attention to these trends, though. Adobe reports that they have spent 25.8 percent more funds than the previous year, with an average of two video ads per free video shown, such as on YouTube. Unique visitors have also risen, increasing by 146 percent in the one-year period, according to VentureBeat.

Many would think that free videos would be the bounty of this survey, but, in fact, paid viewership, via “authenticated viewing,” also saw an increase, with a huge 388 percent leap over 2013, as well as an 85 percent increase in the number of people who actually watch the programming.

Meanwhile, Adobe also noticed another trend. While smartphones and tablets are quite popular with viewing, set-top boxes and game consoles have seen an increase over using a desktop computer, although specific percentages weren’t reported in this particular field.

With the report, Adobe gathered information from sites utilizing both Adobe Analytics and Adobe Primetime. That leaves many numbers unreported, so the audience could actually be bigger than what the company reported here. Specific sites like YouTube and Netflix weren’t mentioned, but they seem to weigh in on the overall factor of the survey. An Adobe spokesperson explained that “the report encompasses date from over 1,300 media and entertainment properties, including virtually all major ones in the U.S.,” stopping just short of confirming sites.

More specifics about the survey can be found here.

Everything We Know About Millennial Consumption Habits

Figuring out the spending habits of millennials can be quite a task for certain advertisers. However, Digital recently reported on findings from comScore, Noise/TheIntelligence Group’s Cassandra Report and nScreen’s Media report “What Millennials Want From TV”, that could help clear a few things up.

First up was the question of social media being an important source for news and current affairs, compared to mainstream sites. Out of the over 3,000 millennials polled, 60 percent came back and said it does make a difference, while 21 percent said no, and 19 percent chose to neither agree nor disagree.

Next up was the question of what sort of communication method millennials prefer when it comes to divided countries, either by text or images. For the most part, they came out almost even in countries like Indie, China, Spain, and the United States, but moving on to Germany, Brazil, and South Korea, text showed increased popularity. Only Italy showed a greater preference to images over text.

The third survey highlighted the most popular apps amongst millennials, counting into the triple-zero digits. Out of the apps chosen, Facebook led the charge, followed by YouTube, Pandora Radio, Facebook Messenger and Google’s Play and Search services. Instagram and Gmail also made the list, though a little lower down.

Millennials also opted to explain how news and information sources are ideal for usage on desktop and mobile devices. Out of those polled, the Huffington Post Media Group News page took the top spot, followed by Yahoo-ABC News Network, CNN Network, Buzzfeed and Gannett Sites. Other networks also rounded out the top 10, including NBC News Digital, CBS News and Fox News Digital Network.

Lastly, despite different spending habits, millennials seem to have some interest in paid-TV subscriptions, with nearly 60 percent stating they still subscribe to services. Still, that’s a smaller number than casual viewers, and a whopping 20 percent never subscribed to the services at all.

Companies could learn from these statistics, and maybe try a little better to get into the minds of a millennial audience.

Facebook Now Calls Itself A ‘Video Platform,’ Pushes Atlas, Mobile

by Jocelyn Johnson

Facebook kicked off IAB UK Upfront week with a 100 attendees. A modest presentation, Facebook began the morning with an agenda to push mobile and demonstrate the value it provides in enhancing television programming. But the focal point of the event was actually on how Facebook, and its owned properties like Oculus Rift, WhatsApp, LiveRail, and Instagram, as well as native Facebook video, present a large opportunity for brands.

To start, Facebook’s managing director of the UK and Ireland, Steve Hatch, was bullish about Facebook’s future growth in the UK market on the heels of expanding the regional team to more than 500 employees. Eighty of those are engineers dedicated to building advertising products for not only the UK market, but for global application as well. Hatch also noted how the UK is leading in digital, calling it the “most sophisticated market in the world.”

As we reported earlier in the week, a study from the IAB UK notes that in the first half of 2014 alone, there’s been a 16.6 percent  increase in digital ad spend in UK with  mobile video ad spend alone rising 196 percent year-over-year. Video advertising on the web and mobile grew by 59 percent year-over-year to £202 million.

For Facebook to compete with ad giant Google, developing an ad product that spans its recent product acquisitions, and provides data for digital marketers has been an essential focus. Atlas, which Facebook acquired from Microsoft, does exactly that and helps Facebook close in on Google’s monopoly on the ad market.

Tap into the mobile surge and Facebook’s ability to help virality (see: “Ice Bucket Challenge”) much in the way YouTube does, Facebook, with the help of Atlas, now has a competitive ad product.

While video was not as front and center as I’d anticipated, Facebook did promote its native video-ad unit. That said, the company made a weak differentiation between a standard video ad and the new “premium video” ad unit that simply includes a carousel of recommended content below the video.

And when prompted about the future of Instagram video ads, Instagram’s head of marketing science for Doug Fraser was terse, stating that the main focus right now is to ensure the strong rollout of the static (photo) ads in the UK and other markets — though he did note that Instagram is testing a video ad product in the U.S.

Facebook’s overall delivery lacked the big-bang Hollywood feel but drove home its message well.

The biggest surprise, however, hit the audience toward the end of the presentation when Claire Valoti ended Facebook’s presentation by reiterating, firmly: “We are a video platform, so please remember that when doing your video planning.”

Facebook’s pieces seem to be falling nicely into place to be able to take on Google and YouTube.

For more of Jocelyn’s thoughts on the inaugural IAB UK Upfronts, click here.

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.

CREATIVE: Virgin America Takes You On A Complimentary Flight On BLAH Airlines

We’ve all been on this flight. There’s babies crying, non-plussed passengers, mysteriously missing luggage and the mundanity of sitting through a nearly 6 hour trip while between 2 strangers… but why would you pay for it

That’s the premise of this ultra-long ad by Virgin America as they take you on a complimentary flight on BLAH Airlines (complete with website) to demonstrate just how refreshing Virgin Airlines is in comparison.

Skip around through the video to see the attention to detail that fills the entire “spot”.


Facebook Chat Gets Real-Time With Celebrities

A domain previously held by Twitter’s real-time chats and Reddit AMA’s, Facebook is utilising marketing platform BumeBox to enable brands to host celebrity chats. Already onboard to test are VH1, Discovery Channel and Sony Masterworks among others.

To promote America’s Got Talent’s Jackie Evancho’s new album, Sony Masterworks ran a Facebook campaign with a Q&A that generated 734 percent more engagement than anything else Jackie had done on the platform.

The caveat to running a campaign like this is the cost to run, which is ever-increasing as Facebook’s reach continues to slide and reaching fans to create this engagement will most likely require it be paid.


Razer Founder Explains How To Capitalize On eSports Global Audience

ESports events like Riot Games’ League of Legends Championship have been able to sell out World Cup soccer stadiums in Korea. With thriving leagues like ESL and MLG, and strong independent developers like Valve, Riot and Wargaming pushing pro gaming forward; there are more opportunities than ever before for brands to connect with elusive Millennials. Even with more mainstream brands like Coke, American Express and Papa John’s getting involved in eSports, there remain huge opportunities for core PC gaming companies to reach their audience.

Razer co-founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan has watched the evolution of eSports over the past decade. He explains why he prefers engaging with athletes on a grassroots level over advertising, and how the brand’s mice, keyboards and headsets have benefited from pro gamer sponsorships in this exclusive interview.

How did Razer first get involved with eSports?

We’ve been a pioneering supporter of eSports at Razer, and we passionately want to see it grow and succeed. Back in 2000 we sponsored the Cyberathlete Professional League with an unprecedented $100,000. We wanted to reward those people excelling in their field, and nurture a solid base on which eSports could grow. Since then, we’ve been a major partner with players and leagues all over the world and still continue to set the standard for eSports sponsorships in the industry.

How have you seen eSports evolve?

The best way to frame the evolution of eSports is to look at its incredible growth. eSports has evolved from local community events held at chain hotel ballrooms to massive global spectacles. In 2013, viewership across all eSports titles doubled, peaking at over 71 million people at the end of 2013. Prize money increased exponentially, with Valve’s The International 4 Dota 2 tournament prize pool reaching almost $11 million.

Because of the money involved, more individuals can consume eSports content on a wider scale, thanks to companies like TwitchTV and tournaments like Riot’s League of Legends Championship Series and DreamHack which create engaging, exciting content for the eSports fan. There are infinitely more opportunities today for sponsors (endemic and non-endemic), aspiring entrepreneurs, and content creators.

Looking to the future, a Super Data Research paper recently predicted that League of Legends will see a monthly active user base of 94 million individuals by 2015, and that in the same period developer Wargaming would reach a revenue of $590 million. Hundreds of eSports teams continue to spring up every month, driven by companies like Razer which look to support and develop the industry from the ground up through careful sponsorship and support. In short, all the numbers point to the continued growth and evolution of the eSports industry moving forward, and we fully expect more companies to jump on board for a slice of the pie.

What opportunities has livestreaming opened up for Razer and other sponsors?

The emergence of companies like Twitch has greatly contributed to the way we all view and interact with eSports on a daily basis, and like us they’re starting to invest significantly in the future of the industry. There are all kinds of content available at our fingertips now which enables players to make a name for themselves and show their value to potential sponsors. Likewise, tournament directors who previously attracted the attendance of people a few towns across, now reach millions across the globe.

What have you learned about the power of working with eSports teams and players?

Right now Team Razer consists of over 300 players spread across 28 teams and 20 countries, so it can be a challenge at times, but ultimately, it helps us create better products that help our millions of fans enjoy their games more. We have a beta program for unreleased Razer devices that gets them in the hands of some of the best players in the world first. We solicit feedback from those players, and ultimately, we’re able to create a better final product. We’ve had all kinds of suggestions for product improvements from this program. It’s a great way to bond with some of the teams, and it helps us to work with them and the video game industry as a whole.

What opportunities have the transition of eSports from LANs and hotel ballrooms 10 years ago to selling out NBA and World Cup stadiums today opened up for brands?

While still a relatively young industry, eSports has shown incredible growth the last few years and provides potential sponsors a number of great opportunities to get involved from the ground up. New research by Super Data Research shows a monthly figure of 70 million unique individuals watching eSports across the world each month, rivalling even the most popular sports in the world. In terms of prize money, this year’s The International 4”saw a vast prize pool of $10.93 million, so there’s plenty to play for.

For us, eSports is in our history.  We’ve been supporting competitions in the industry for many years now, since the earliest tournaments started offering significant prize money to competitive gamers. Teams are interesting because of the personalities that resonate with other players – people like Peter “Doublelift” Peng from Counter Logic Gaming, or Lee “Flash” Young Ho from KTRolster. These guys are hugely famous in their own right and command the respect of hundreds of thousands of fans across the world.

With the popularity of livestreaming, what positive impact would you see with more eSports on TV in the U.S.?

Channels like ESPN have already started showing live eSports for events like The International 4, which is awesome to see. By entering TV, eSports would have a chance to reach more people, which we see as an eventuality given the enormity of the gaming community. There are already dedicated video games channels in other parts of the world that are insanely popular. That being said, eSports doesn’t have to migrate to conventional TV in the U.S. to be popular. It’s a quickly growing industry with a vibrant audience that’s captured online.

ESports is global. How has that helped your company reach a worldwide audience?

Pro gaming is absolutely integral to what we do here at Razer so we’ve been actively partnering with and supporting numerous tournaments and players – from small LAN-Parties up to top international events like the DreamHack Open, the Intel Extreme Masters, the World Cyber Games and many more since 2005. We strongly believe that the gear we currently make, which has undergone extensive testing from our professional players, is of such a high standard that both professionals and casual players can equally benefit from the advantages our hardware provides.

How much room do you see for new eSports beyond the popular games out there today?

We’re always really excited to see new competitive titles come through and we work regularly with developers on new games to try to gauge their competitive viability, in both how the games are played, and how they may be received by an eSports audience. We’re always looking to bring in fresh talent to Team Razer and grow the ranks – we don’t just focus on the most mainstream games. There’s a ton of interesting content coming out of the indie development community so we like to keep an open mind and grow and support newly emerging communities that might become the next big thing.

What role do you see leagues like ESL and MLG playing moving forward?

Leagues of this nature are the bread and butter of our community in many ways: they drive the competitive environment for amateur and professional players, and having this structure is crucial to the growth and development as eSports as a whole. Aside from these two specific leagues there are dozens of others of tournaments throughout the year to keep eSports athletes on their toes, with a whole heap of prize money up for grabs. Tournaments like this continually improve their production quality, and therefore the number of fans consuming their content. It’s an upward trend, and we’re excited to be involved from the ground level and on up with regards to eSports as a whole.

Mobile Is Big Business With Games

Digi-Capital recently revealed a list of the top 32 ranking Internet companies out there, and, in a surprise twist, game companies play a big part.

The report, originally posted by GamesIndustry International, indicates that social apps rule the roost, with first place easily going to Twitter and second place to the messaging app WhatsApp. However, there are a number of game companies that have earned their place in the world as well.

GungHo Interactive, the publishers of the popular Puzzle & Dragons, leads the pack in 8th place with an estimated $4.9 billion, while other companies like Colopi, Ourpalm and King are closely behind with anywhere between $3.8 to $3.2 billion, respectively.

Other game companies that made the billion dollar list include Supercell, Youzu (based in China), Cyberagent, DeNA and GREE, as well as Gumi, Kabam and FunPlus, barely breaking over the billion dollar mark. The full chart is below.

A number of these companies have shown impressive growth over the past few years, while others have been holding steady, with business still adding up.

“Digi-Capital’s Mobile Internet Billions list has grown to 32 ‘billion dollar’ companies, adding $11.4 billions shareholder value in Q3 2014 alone,” said Digi-Capital founder Tim Merel. “That’s $125 million value added every day of Q3 to reach a combined $163 billion valuation, only seven years after the launch of the iPhone.

“As well as adding huge value collectively, there has been a lot of movement in the rankings. Daumkakao (merger of Daum and Kakao) leapt 15 places, followed by Mixi, Square, Tango and AirWatch. Youzu Interactive, Momo, Com2Us, Gumi, Kabam and FunPlus are new to the list, while DeNA, King, GREE, Gungho, Pandora, Waze, Zillow, Snapchat and CyberAgent all lost places.”

Another chart, posted below, breaks down the categories for these companies, and, as you can see, games holds a huge chunk of the market with 12, while social is close behind with 5 and messaging follows with 4. Other categories, including music, utilities, mCommerce and lifestyle, rank a little lower.

So, indeed, it looks like games are here to stay.


Big Numbers For ‘League Of Legends’

Competitive eSports activities are on the rise, as we’ve covered in great detail in our previous report. And this past weekend’s latest tournament for League of Legends showed that its growth will continue onward for some time to come.

Riot Games hosted a World Championship match series that was held in Seoul, Korea, and the event was a hit, drawing 40,000 fans in a sold out World Cup Stadium. Fans cheered on a battle between Korea’s own Samsung White and China’s Starhorn Royal Club.

The venue is a huge change for the tournament, as it was held last year at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where approximately 11,000 fans filled the seats and watched the events unfold. That shows nearly a four-times increase in size with this year’s numbers, with a possibly bigger venue planned for next year, if all goes according to plan.

The tournament was an even bigger hit with viewers. Although specific numbers weren’t reported, many folks logged in to watch the ongoing tournament and watched live on ESPN 3. The numbers should easily eclipse what 2013’s tournament brought in, as Forbes is reporting that the 2013 tournament attracted 32 million in all, with 8.5 million watching concurrently. The only thing that could possibly affect the total is the fact that the tournament took place in Korea, meaning it went on well into late evening on a Sunday evening. Still, there’s no question that avid devotees had no trouble tuning in.

For this year’s event, Riot Games went all out with its presentation, including opening and closing ceremonies, as well as a live performance from the band Imagine Dragons, who teamed up with the company for an original song devoted to the game, “Warriors.” Some would say it even rivaled the presentation from other big-name events, even the Super Bowl.

Look for bigger events to come in the later years, as well as more progress from Riot Games, who are actually hiring more staff to support merchandise sales, as well as a possible outreach to media as well as support for its other games. And definitely look for more players as well.