Game-a-Thon Gets Hosted At Coca-Cola’s Headquarters

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola’s Matt Wolf spoke to [a]listdaily about the importance of eSports, and why the online gaming competition was important to them. This week, it appears that the company’s initiative is finally getting off the ground, as it has teamed up with Twitch to host an e-Sports-based Game-A-Thon, which is taking place at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, starting today.

As reported per VentureBeat, the event features four players facing off against one another in select games, as chosen by Coca-Cola. This will be the company’s true foray into the world of eSports, and will offer the winner the opportunity to make a big donation to charity. The games will be “mystery” titles, so the players won’t really expect what challenges will come their way – which will no doubt add some interest to the tournament.

“We are interested in gaming,” said Wolf, head of global gaming for Coca-Cola. “It’s big. We know it. We’re being smart and focused about how we approach it. As we head into the end of the year, this opportunity with our friends at Twitch is a great way for us to cap off the year with a great on-site production. We can give back to the players and to a charity for the holidays.”

Coca-Cola originally came to Twitch in an effort to reach out more to the gaming community, according to the streaming channel’s chief operating officer, Kevin Lin. With its audience of 60 million active users – and a healthy investment from Amazon earlier this year – there’s no doubt the soda maker can benefit from such a partnership.

However, Coca-Cola is taking its time entering into the foray of e-Sports. “Matt’s challenge to us was how can Coke embrace not just the hardcore of e-sports but gaming culture more broadly in a good, authentic way,” Lin said. “They want to establish Coke as a brand wholeheartedly and not just as a small piece within Twitch. This is a cool and fun angle that brings a lot of our community people together in a way that has a fun component and a charity component. Our job at Twitch is to help brands like Coca-Cola come into this space and understand it.”

“A lot of these gamers have shunned traditional media. They have completely replaced that with watching Twitch. It’s important to know what type of messaging works with them,” he added.

“It’s a perfect match between the two brands as we make our way into the gaming space, e-sports, and live streaming broadcasts,” Wolf said. “We want to bring our own flavor and speak to this audience through our brand. It’s about being humble and understanding the markets we move into. We need best of breed partners to make sure we deliver quality content and authentic content that resonates with that core.

“A fifth of the world plays games for an hour a day or more,” Wolf continued. “We look forward to continuing with our gaming community for a long time. We are doing this at our headquarters. We want people at Coca-Cola to understand more about what these games are and how people consume them.”

Participants in the tournament include Twitch’s content director Jon Carnage, Frag Doll e-Sports combatant Rachel “Seltzer” Quirico, and other pro players, including The Justin Flynn, Swiftor, and Voyboy.

Interested parties can check out the action here.

Shanna Malcolm: ‘You Have To Create A Space For People To Feel As Though They Get To Know You’

Shanna Malcolm isn’t just a YouTuber with a sizeable following, Shanna also is active on Instagram, with over 80k followers and is on Fullscreen’s list of talent to Instastalk. We caught up with Shanna at [a]list summit to talk about the importance of building a brand, with great advice for both brands and content creators.

 

Cinedigm Unveils Content Lineup For Con TV Digital Channel

by Sahil Patel

In February, Cinedigm announced a deal with Comic-Con organizer Wizard World to launch Con TV, a streaming channel devoted to geeks and pop culture fans — or more specifically, for those within the global “Comic-Con community.” Now the companies have revealed the slate of original series, films, and TV shows acquired for the channel, which will launch in early 2015.

On the originals front, Con TV’s first big exclusive series will be “Fight of the Living Dead,” which it acquired earlier this year. Produced by Alpine Labs and Revolver Picture Company, the faux-reality series follows a group of YouTube stars as they’re left at an abandoned jail and forced to fight-off a simulated zombie apocalypse. The series stars Justine Ezarik (iJustine), Olga Kay, Sam Pepper, Joey Graceffa, Meghan Camarena (Strawburry17), and Iman Crosson (Alphacat), among others.

Read more…

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.

Mobile Beats Out Every Other Medium For Your Attention

A number of independent market research agencies have confirmed news analysts had expected: Mobile is now the top attention medium in the United States, surpassing all other broadcast platforms including television.

The “flurry” of news about mobile’s American takeover began with Flurry’s report that Americans spent more time on mobile devices than they did watching television, a shift heralded by similar changes in the rest of the world in preceding months and years.

Nielsen followed with a series of studies painting their own picture of Americans’ embrace of mobile as a broadcast medium, the most recent of which stating that online streaming video viewing increased by 60 percent as traditional television viewership reported a four percent decline.

Finally, comScore told Internet Retailer that American consumers spent 52 percent of their time online on smartphone and tablet apps just this past week, a figure besting desktop web’s second-place forty percent. Facebook leads a crowded field of mobile apps vying for consumers’ attention, accounting for 1/6th of all app time.

What does this mean for marketers? Traditional broadcast mediums are well on their way out the door, a somewhat long-held sentiment now backed up by a bevy of facts and figures from reputable research firms. Marketers who fail to adopt mobile-first strategies for their brands do so at their own peril, risking being left in the wilderness as fans of broadcast television and desktop browsing continue their mass mobile exodus.

F2P Takes 1/3 Of All Gaming Time And Other Need-To-Know Gaming Stats

A report from VentureBeat indicates that gamers certainly have interesting habits when it comes to their gaming, as they’re still more than willing to invest in a free-to-play title while still downloading full games to their heart’s content on both PCs and consoles.

Insights Meta recently conducted a survey across more than 1,700 gamers, which shows that more than half of those asked continue to download their content through PC and gaming consoles, while 75 percent spent some form of time playing free-to-play titles. In fact, nearly a third of all time spent on video games is geared towards free-to-play in general.

Jason Anderson, the president of Insights, believes that, by the end of the current console life cycle (which will be quite a few years down the road), game sales are likely to emerge from “digital natives,” or gamers who prefer to download their games rather than purchase them at retail. He also noted quite a mixture between both free and fully paid game products, indicating a balance that should bring the industry nearly $25 billion by year’s end.

“That was a surprise for us, how many people were consuming both paid and free-to-play content,” said Anderson. “We were trying to figure out how to segment the free-to-play market, and it was all the same people. This is either a truth that has always been there about free-to-play and its impact on the pay-to-play markets, or the adoption has been very aggressive.”

Out of those surveyed, all but ten percent of core pay-to-play gamers play free content, while more than 80 percent who play free-to-play titles also invest in fully priced games.

The chart below shows this in more detail across four key categories — mobile, console, PC and Subscription. Subscription seems to be at the lowest with 15 percent of those surveyed saying they play them, while the others have percentages wavering from 31 percent all the way to 62 percent, depending on what format they prefer.

Meanwhile, Anderson pointed out the thriving digital download market, with only about 60 percent preferring to play their games in a physical format. “The paid download share is much larger than the people realize,” said Anderson. “Publishers have an understanding of how their own individual titles are performing in that regard. I don’t know that people realize how successful it is becoming across all titles.”

Out of those “digital natives,” Anderson believes a good chunk of them are millennials. “The idea of buying something and downloading it rather than buying a disc is a no-brainer for them,” he explained. “It would be their first preference.”

He also believes this generation is just getting started on buying power as well. “My guess is that at the end of this console cycle, it’ll be the digital natives that drive most of the revenues. It’s a permanent tipping point,” he said.

Meanwhile, as far as a defining leader in the market, consoles make up slightly less than half of all gaming revenue, while the rest comes from the PC side with downloads, retail titles, subscriptions and other services. Free-to-play games, meanwhile, add up to 15 percent of the overall market.

“Those high-consumption players have an impact,” Anderson said. He was surprised to find that the number of gamers playing F2P content on PC was about equal to the number playing on mobile, but said those PC players are frequently core gamers, playing League of Legends, Counter-Strike, and the F2P Battlefield content. Mobile F2P gamers are more diverse.”

More details on the company’s findings, including free console downloads, can be found here.

Kabam Talks About Monetizing Mobile Games

Kabam has certainly made quite a few moves since its inception five years ago, making lots of money from mobile and social games. Recently, the company made the decision to sell off many of its social game titles in an effort to focus more on mobile titles, possibly as part of its terms of agreement with Alibaba’s investment in the company earlier this year.

That’s not to say it’s missing out on profits. With more than 900 employees on its team, it’s getting close to $500 million in revenues for the year, up from the $360 million the previous year. Franchises based on The Hunger Games and Fast and Furious have certainly helped out, along with The Hobbit, which is likely to pick up in popularity again with the final movie, Battle of the Five Armies, opening this week.

Recently, chief operating officer Kent Wakeford spoke with VentureBeat about the ins-and-outs of monetizing mobile games the proper way – there’s a process that has to be followed to ensure its success.

When it comes to developers developing games with a high monetization rate, Wakeford explained, “When you think about a matrix of areas that we look at, it starts with, what game do you want to make What genre are you going after The genre has a lot to do with getting monetization into the game. Then, going to the development stage, on the monetization we could talk a lot about system design and how you think about that. That could follow into distribution and marketing and how that impacts ultimate revenue per install. We’re in the business of games as a service, of course. Running games and the live operation of games becomes critical. When we think about games we think about those four key areas. Each one plays an important role.”

Wakeford also touched on the subject of optimal game genres, and where they can make a difference. “As you think about the games you want to make, think about the genres you want to develop—genres have a lot to do with the ultimate lifetime value (LTV). In North America and Europe, strategy games have the highest revenue per install of any genre. Something like $3.98 per install. That’s a lot of revenue per player, so there’s a lot of strategy games out there. Second is RPG at about $3.82. Then you drop down to casino, which is a long way behind,” he explained.

“Strategy games tend to have the lowest number of installs, though. The highest number of installs comes in action games, like infinite runners. Those games tend to have a revenue per install of about 25 cents. It’s a trade-off. When you think about a game, you want to think about the monetization side, but also the customer acquisition side. Action games have much wider appeal.”

Wakeford also touched on the subject of licensing popular franchises. “Kabam has a long history of building licensed IP,” he said. “The Hobbit is a good example. What we’ve found is that the biggest impact of licensed IP is on the customer acquisition side, getting a more effective CPI. You get a lot more organic traffic, better search engine optimization in the app stores, more people coming into the game. You can spend the marketing dollars more efficiently because there’s already brand awareness.

“As far as monetization, when you find the true fans of an IP, they will engage. They will engage and play and spend and get their friends to spend. There’s a core group of players who you’ll see over index in terms of monetization. But the key benefit of licensed IP is much more on the acquisition side,” said Wakeford.

The full interview, which also touches on the subjects of advertisements in games to compensate for in-app purchases, can be found here.

VIDEO: Rich Fineza Wants Hollywood To Get Familiar With App Monetization

Entertainment industry veteran Rich Fineza, a former director at several major industry entities including Disney and Paramount, attended [a]list summit: Mobile Marketing on December 3 in Hollywood.

We interviewed Rich about what he hopes to see from established Hollywood players in the fields of mobile app development and monetization.

 

What Instagram’s Growth Means For Marketers

Instagram has notched up 300 million users, making the social network larger than Twitter. That’s a surprise to some observers, given that Instagram came from far behind Twitter to reach that goal. But it’s indicative of the strong hold that visual media has on people. Pictures and videos are inherently more attractive to the eye than text, and that’s something that marketers and social media are well aware of these days. This milestone is a solid indicator of this trend, and the implications are both numerous and important for marketers.

Instagram has been growing strongly for four years now, though many feared that its acquisition by Facebook might derail it. Instead, Facebook kept its hgands off, and Instagram has added another 100 million users in the last nine months to reach its 300 million total. Impressively, some 70 perfect  of those users are outside of the United States, and 70 million photos are shared every day. Over 30 billion photos have been shared over Instagram.

Let’s not forget that this is indeed a part of Facebook’s social media empire, and that the social network has been very successful in its strategy of pursuing growth through individual apps rather than trying to fold every possible feature into one app. Facebook has 1.35 billion users, with its Messenger app notching up 500 million users. Then there’s WhatsApp with 600 million users in addition to Instagram’s 300 million. Sure, there’s plenty of overlap between those apps, but the key point is that Facebook is janging onto all of those folks by offering different apps. The company is far and away the leader in social media, well ahead of WeChat’s 468 million users.

Instagram’s success has been influential on Facebook, too. Facebook has been increasingly featuring photos and videos in its News Feed, reshaping the algorithms to make the whole site more visual. It’s to the point where, for the first time, Facebook Page owners uploaded more video directly to Facebook than they did sharing from YouTube, according to data from Socialbakers. Why According to Business Insider, “Marketers and content creators are starting to realize there is more value in publishing a video directly to Facebook than there is uploading it to YouTube alone.”

A key difference is that Facebook is surfacing videos to users in the news feed, while users have to seek out videos on YouTube. Requiring a search is an extra step that that keeps videos from reaching a wider audience, apparently. Video is still king though, in terms of traffic volume. Facebook and YouTube combined accounted for nearly 40 percent of all mobile web traffic in North America in September. As BI Intelligence’s Mark Hoelzel points out, “Ads make up a big percentage of Facebook’s and YouTube’s mobile traffic, since autoplay video ads increase the mobile data demands on those social networks.”

Instagram is taking the occasion of this news to announce that it’s going to start handing out verified accounts, the kind that Twitter users love to get. The verified badges will be for public figures and brands, Instagram said. Verified badges, coming within the week, “will make it easier for people to identify and follow the authentic brands they care about,” Instagram told Adweek. “When an account is verified, a blue badge will appear next to its name in its profile as well as in search.”

Verfying users has been a benefit to Twitter, and Facebook started verifying profiles in May of 2013. This is going to keep out the plethora of fake celebrities, parody, or look-alike accounts that make life more difficult for brand marketers. In addition, Instagram said it’s moved from deactivating spammer and fake accounts to simply deleting them, so they will no longer appear in follower counts.

The rise of Instagram shows the power of visual marketing. “Instagram users are highly engaged with the service, with users interacting with posts at 18 times the rate they do with Facebook posts, according to a report issued last month by the research firm L2,” noted The New York Times.

What does this mean for marketers It’s a massive shift in the overall thought process that goes into creating a marketing campaign. Yes, you have to decide on a product’s position and conceptualize every aspect of how you will get your marketing messages across to the target audience. That used to be done primarily with words, and then images or videos would be created later to help bring that message across.

Now, though, it may be helpful to start by conceptualizing the images first, and come up with the words later. Find or imagine that snippet of video that gets across the essence of the brand, then figure out how to describe it in words. Why? Because those images and videos will be the most effective tools to reach the visually-oriented customers that comprise today’s market. Expect to see more moves by social media to focus on video and images as a key way to grab and hold attention.

Day 6 Teams With NBA For ‘Backyard Sports’

A few years ago, sports games based on the Backyard Sports franchise were making the rounds, offering kids more user-friendly versions of popular sports that they could enjoy with their friends and family alike. Now, it appears that these games are on the comeback trail.

Day 6 Sports Group has announced that it has teamed up with the National Basketball Association to re-launch the Backyard Sports franchise, which will once again focus on kiddie-oriented sports and feature popular athletes. The line of games is expected to be released for both smartphone and tablet devices.

The first game in the series is expected to be Backyard Sports Basketball, and Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry will appear both on the cover and in the game. “I grew up playing Backyard Sports, and having an opportunity to help bring it back to this generation of children is something I’m really thrilled about,” said Curry.

“Re-launching a brand that was so iconic is an exciting step for us,” said Jim Wagner, CEO for Day 6 Sports Group. “And partnering with the NBA and Stephen Curry is the perfect way for us to engage with both our existing community of fans, as well as the next generation of Backyard Sports players.”

No other franchises in the series have been discussed as of yet, but some announcements could come in the weeks ahead, leading to a strong 2015 run for the franchise.

There’s also no word if Day 6 will consider bringing the games back to consoles, as Backyard Sports originally got its start on older game systems. Again, more details should be revealed in the months ahead.

Considering the popularity of mainstream sports games like Madden NFL 15, NBA 2K15 and other titles, this should be a strong move for Day 6 – and it never hurts to have devoted athletes on board to play along with, even if they are in kid form.

Traditional TV More Popular With Twitter Users

While the TV industry has its share of ups and downs at the moment — notably with ratings and advertising — there is an interesting bright spot at the end of the tunnel. And, oddly enough, it involves Twitter.

According to Re/code, a new research report from Ipsos indicates that Twitter users are actually more likely to pay for a subscription to a TV viewing service and watch traditional programming than those who don’t use the social site.

From those surveyed, 93 percent of users actually have access to some form of pay-TV subscription, compared to 86 percent of users that don’t use Twitter by any means.

As you can see from the chart below, Twitter users are higher in every category involving television than those who don’t use it, including watching broadcast and cable television, taking advantage of video-on-demand services, and checking out programming on the web, from video clips to devoted web series.

That’s not to say there’s a world of difference — cable TV only shows a one percent ratio between the two categories — but it’s interesting to see what viewing habits come from those who use social media. It just shows that people love talking about their favorite shows and other programming, even when it’s airing live.

That said, the report can’t be accurately gauged, as the social site carries 284 million users worldwide, with only 63 million of them in the United States. That makes it hard for certain networks to measure what kind of popularity would come from advertising with a certain program — although that didn’t stop some from trying, like SyFy with its sequel Sharknado 2: The Second One, which aired earlier this year. It got tremendous buzz on Twitter, and was popular enough to warrant a third Sharknado film, coming sometime next year.

For the time being, though, it looks like being social does have a slightly bigger payoff when it comes to TV viewing. (Just try not to tweet those Walking Dead spoilers so quickly, folks.)