Mobile Advertising Exceeds Other Channels In Revenue

Mobile advertising has certainly come a long way over the past few years – and it looks like it’s paying off more than other types of campaigns.

A report from Mobile Marketing Magazine indicated that, according to findings from the Mobile Marketing Association and findings from its Smart Mobile Cross Marketing Effectiveness study, the optimal spend for mobile advertising has seen a double-digit percent increase in the total campaign spend. This is far more than what most marketers were expecting, showing the true effectiveness of the format.

“The market has acknowledged there is a deep chasm between what brands are currently spending on mobile and consumer behavior, but now there is real, indisputable proof on the value of mobile to a brand’s business goals,” said MMA CEO, Greg Stuart. “I believe mobile presents the greatest transformation of marketing in our generation. With empirical data, SMoX now demonstrates the competitive opportunity for those marketers who figure out how to leverage the power of mobile effectively and optimize their spending with the most impactful allocations in their marketing mix, finally keeping pace with consumers.”

As a result, the MMA feels that marketers should increase their overall campaign ROI with a boost in mobile spend, while keeping budget at about the same level.

The report analyzed a number of effective mobile advertising programs, including Coca-Cola’s Gold Peak Tea Campaign, which showed a 25 percent mobile charge in terms of top-of-mind awareness, as well as 9 percent of “home brewed taste” image conversions, and 6 percent in sales, with five percent of the campaign budget.

Another program, WalMart’s Back To School Campaign, also showed healthy numbers, with a larger number of mobile interactions over broadcast and cable TV advertisements. A total of 14 percent of change in overall shipping intent was reported from the mobile format alone.

“It’s clear that mobile is becoming an increasingly critical part of the marketing mix,” said Wanda Young, VP of Media and Digital Marketing, Walmart. “It’s not only driving brand and campaign awareness, but also in-store foot traffic.”

MasterCard’s Travel Card campaign was also noted, with increase in mobile display and video interaction. “SMoX represents a real breakthrough in the mobile marketing industry,” said Adam Broitman, VP of Global Digital Marketing, MasterCard. “It’s the first thorough and comprehensive industry study that proves the true value of mobile.”

More notes on the campaign, including the effectiveness on AT&T’s Moto X campaign and general coverage of methodology, can be found here.

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Windows 10 Adds Games For China

Microsoft’s new operating system Windows 10 will launch it across 190 countries in 111 different languages this summer. It will be offered as a free upgrade to Windows 7 and 8 owners, per an announcement on the official Windows blog. Most important for Microsoft is getting the huge numbers of China’s users to upgrade, and to do that Microsoft is enlisting some help. Microsoft move underscores just how much the software giant will be supporting gaming as a vital part of Windows 10 and why people should upgrade.

Microsoft’s key partnership in China is with the world’s largest game company Tencent, who will create a new Windows 10-based universal app that ties in with its popular QQ app. This will be hugely important in extending the program’s userbase, since the QQ app currently has over 800 million users in China.

As a result, Tencent will adapt a number of popular games for use with Windows 10, including Riot Games’ immensely popular League of Legends, as well as Cross Fire and Dungeon & Fighter. The video below details just how important it is that Microsoft and Tencent are working together through Windows 10.

Other partners in the Chinese market include Lenovo, which will offer Windows 10 as an upgrade across 2,500 service centers and retail stores in China; and Qihu 360, a leading Internet security company that will offer the upgrade for free to customers through seamless upgrades.

This could be a huge push for Microsoft in China, and could also lead the way for other business opportunities for the company’s tech, including the Xbox One, which recently went through a soft launch following the country’s lift of a ban on game consoles. However, one step at a time, as Windows 10 is getting the focus – and a huge one, at that.

Microsoft isn’t stopping with consoles and PCs, though, in its quest to make the most of Windows 10. TechCrunch has reported that Microsoft is working on software that converts Android phones to Windows 10, and it will be testing that out with users of Xiaomi’s best-selling smartphones in China. Like all Windows 10 versions, that will include an Xbox app, which may help convince people to keep Windows 10 on their smartphones. If that process of converting Android phones to Windows actually works well, it could be a significant way for Microsoft to gain a credible market share in the smartphone market.

Windows 10 is shaping up to be a very significant upgrade, and the most important Windows version ever for gaming. We’ll be keeping an eye on its progress.

 

Square Enix Uses New Game As Marketing Tool

For years, Square Enix’s Final Fantasy series has performed well in the video game industry, with each subsequent sequel posting big sales numbers worldwide. Now, while gamers around the world wait on pins and needles for the next big arrival in the series, Final Fantasy XV, Square has delivered a new game to sate their appetites — and build demand for the next game in a smart marketing move.

Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is now available in stores in the U.S. for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and set to arrive in Japan and Europe this week as well. This “side adventure” puts players in the shoes of Class Zero, a group of students that attend an elite military academy. When their country comes under attack by a neighboring Empire, they must use whatever powerful abilities and magic they can muster to hold them off.

The game takes more of an action-based approach than previous Final Fantasy titles, but it’s still true to the lore of the series, featuring enough of its staples to keep fans happy – including the traditional Chocobos, giant-sized chickens that can be used for riding and other purposes.

The most important part of Type-0 HD is what’s included as a bonus with it – a fully playable demo for Final Fantasy XV. A demo code is included with the game, which players can download to get an idea of where the next big entry in the series is headed. This game was clearly far easier to create than a full-fledged Final Fantasy game, hence the title numbering that clearly puts it off to the side of the main series. This game is, in effect, a way to market Final Fantasy XV in a way that actually makes money. It’s content marketing, in effect, building on the franchise and amplifying demand for the next big title in the series.

Although this “side story” isn’t likely to be as big a seller as, for instance, the Final Fantasy XIII trilogy that came out over the past few years, it’s still bound to get a great deal of attention, both for the main game and the Final Fantasy XV demo. Devoted fans can also pick up on a special edition of the game, available for $99 and featuring a Steelbook case, art design by artists Yoshitaka Amano, the game’s original soundtrack, an art book and five life-size replicas of cards featured in the game. Early sales have indicated that this version sells out quickly, so collectors are probably already on the prowl.

The full trailer for the game is below, for those who want to get an idea of what Type-0 HD has to offer. It’ll certainly hold fans over until the “true” sequel arrives sometime this or next year.

Is The Website Dead? Marketing To The Post-Digital Consumers

One of the most interesting take-aways from this year’s SXSW Interactive for me following it via social media here from the office in Los Angeles was summarized in a Mashable article with the provocative title “Buzzfeed’s latest vision: who needs a website .”

The article was based on BuzzFeed co-founder Jonah Peretti’s SXSW talk in which he revealed a new vision for the company, which basically means less focus on driving traffic back to the publisher’s website and instead let them consume BuzzFeed content on the social network of their choice.

Why is this a big deal Let’s put this in context. If we have seen the evolution of analog media focused on monetizing (for example) a physical newspaper, to digital media where the focus was on monetizing the website, to what now can be called the post-digital era.

This means that BuzzFeed would not measure its audience by the 200 million people that it attracts to its site every month, but by the 18.5 billion impressions that BuzzFeed gets across its Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages. Broken out by social network, BuzzFeed‘s content saw 847 million views on Twitter, six billion on Pinterest, and a whopping 11.3 billion on Facebook.

What Peretti is on to is that the post-digital media consumer wants content served up right here, right now, on the social network or newsfilter of their choice. Modern media should be pushing our actual (native) content to social networks, not just links.

“You should be using this distribution channel to show them content, not just a pointer to some other space,” said Peretti in TechCrunch, continuing to explain that showing people links in hopes of luring them somewhere else “feels a little bit outdated.”

So what does this all mean for marketers and advertisers Take a look at BuzzFeed‘s business model of native advertising in form of branded content and no display advertising. They are betting the company on original branded content and especially content that is optimized for social network distribution with a focus on sharing as they way of the future.

Check out this 1 minute video to get a better idea of what has worked for BuzzFeed when it comes to video being produced by its new Motion Picture division based in Hollywood.

While BuzzFeed right now is at the forefront of these social-first publishers, they are certainly not the only ones. Brands like Marriott and Pepsi have already built their own studios to produce this kind of content as part of their marketing mix.

It might be premature to call the website and display advertising dead, but marketers and advertisers should probably start thinking about how well prepared they are to reach and engage the post-digital consumer.

Sony Starts Internet-TV Rollout With A $50 Bundle And Three Cities

By: Sahil Patel

Sony has finally launched its cloud-based online TV service, called the PlayStation Vue, which offers live and on-demand programming from a bundle of broadcast and cable TV channels.

Starting at $49.99 per month, Vue offers access to broadcast channels like CBS, Fox, and NBC, and more than 45 cable channels ranging from Discovery to Fox News, USA, and TNT. AMC, home to “Mad Men” and cable’s biggest hit “The Walking Dead,” will also be available starting next month.

That’s the “Access” bundle. Other bundles offered by Vue include “Core” ($59.99 per month for the Access package plus local regional sports networks like YES Network in New York, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, and Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, as well as some other sports and movie networks) and “Elite” ($69.99 per month for Access and Core packages plus 25 lifestyle, music, and family channels).

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.

ESL eSports Documentary Debuts This Summer

eSports-based competitions have come a long way over the past few years, gaining immense popularity both online and with live attendees, and drawing in players with multi-million dollar prizes. Now, they’re headed for the movies.

The ESL has teamed up with filmmaker Patrick Creadon to create an original film that documents the popularity of eSports, titled All Work All Play: Full Screen Mode Live. The documentary will feature both top players and personalities in the eSports world, taking a behind-the-scenes look at the growing phenomena of competitive gameplay and tournaments, primarily the Intel Extreme Masters tour, the longest running global pro gaming tour to date.

The film will make its debut on July 23 at the ESL Burbank studio, followed by a Q & A in front of a live studio audience with many of the game players and personalities featured in it. Following that, the film will premiere at the ESL Cologne studio in Germany in July 28, and then make its way to theaters around the world, through a partnership with BY Experience. The project will tie in with an even larger campaign called eSports In Cinema, which should feature more films on the subject.

“I think this documentary is symbolic of how far we’ve come,” said Ralf Reichert, Managing Director of ESL. “When we started out, I dreamt about us filling stadiums, but I never entertained the idea of filling cinemas. Everyone who works with Intel Extreme Masters here at ESL is passionate about eSports and I think this documentary is a testament to that. I’m very excited to see it in the cinema and can guarantee I’ll be the first to buy a ticket.”

“Traveling around the world with Patrick and his crew was a unique experience both for us and for them. People very often don’t understand the amount of work that we do to make events like the Intel Extreme Masters happen, nor what it takes to be a world class gamer,” said Michal Blicharz, Managing Director of Pro Gaming at ESL. “eSports has turned into a massive show and a business, but the people behind it are still passionate hobbyists. I think that’s the story the movie will tell.”

“BY Experience is honored to partner with ESL to create unique live events for cinema audiences globally, starting with the spotlight on the Intel Extreme Masters through All Work All Play,” said Julie Borchard-Young, Co-President of BY Experience. “The documentary is a first in a series of cinema broadcasts that will afford eSports fans an unprecedented opportunity to get together in their communities to enjoy several high-profile events throughout the year, as part of a global shared experience. Cinemas provide the optimal setting for spectators to watch their favorite players and teams compete across an array of gaming titles, broadcast live on a 70 foot cinema screen in surround sound.”

Indeed, this is a bold step forward for eSports, which is bound to continue its success in the years ahead. Here’s hoping more movies capture the experience and give viewers an idea of what it’s really like, warts and all.

Smartphones And Watches Become Motion Controllers

Smartphones and smart watches can do quite a bit in terms of features and accessibility – but now, thanks to a new project from Rolocule, they’re about to do something a little bit more.

TechCrunch has reported that Rolocule, based out of India, has launched a new game called Motion Tennis Cast. With it, players can utilize a game that works with the Chromecast and Android-based devices, syncing together to create a motion-based sports experience. Kind of like Nintendo’s Wii Sports did years ago, but with a more modern twist.

Right now, the program is limited to use with Android-based smartphones, but the company is hard at work on a new prototype that will utilize Android Wear smartwatches for similar controls. Imagine being able to swing your arm while holding a virtual tennis racket, using your device in its place.

Rolocule is no stranger to motion-based gaming experiences, as it’s been working on this tech for several years now, including the original Motion Tennis for iPhone and Apple TV, which launched back in 2013. However, with Android tech, the company has managed to make the experience more refined than ever, so it actually feels like people are playing sports activities – without the need of a Wii, obviously.

This could open up a potential new market for mobile gaming, being able to use your device for motion-based activities and interaction. Considering Apple’s recent push for its Apple TV device, it could easily reach out to developers to make it interactive with both iPhones and the Apple Watch to introduce a new level of gameplay. The same goes for Android, which will no doubt benefit from Rolocule’s tech.

It is just a casual start, though, and Motion Tennis Cast does present a unique introduction to the format. It’s free to download now, and also works with smart TVs (via Mieracast or AllShareCast) and Chrome browsers, in addition to Chromecast.

Check out the video below to get a better idea of how it works.

Nintendo And DeNA Join Forces For Mobile Games

For years, people have been arguing for Nintendo to bring its popular games to smartphones and tablets, in the hopes of gaining access to classic Mario adventures without the need of a special console. And for years, Nintendo has resisted, instead sticking to its own proprietary hardware and rejecting the very concept of Nintendo characters on mobile devices. However, it looks like the time has finally come – we’ll finally be seeing Nintendo properties on a smartphone or a tablet.

The company has announced a business and capital alliance with mobile publisher DeNA, which will develop and manage game applications for smart devices based on Nintendo’s popular IP’s. The deal covers all of Nintendo’s characters, so we could be seeing Mario and possibly Pokémon as well.

“Leveraging the strength of Nintendo’s intellectual property (IP) and game development skills in combination with DeNA’s world-class expertise in mobile games, both companies will develop and operate new game apps based on Nintendo’s IP, including its iconic game characters, for smart devices,” said the company in a statement. “The alliance is intended to complement Nintendo’s dedicated video game systems business and extend Nintendo’s reach into the vast market of smart device users worldwide. Under the alliance, DeNA will also be able to strengthen its gaming business at a global scale by leveraging Nintendo’s IP. To ensure the quality of game experience that consumers expect from this alliance of Nintendo and DeNA, only new original games optimized for smart device functionality will be created, rather than porting games created specifically for the Wii U home console or the Nintendo 3DS portable system.”

That means consumers won’t be seeing ports of popular games like Super Mario Bros. 3 and Pikmin, but rather original experiences with existing Nintendo properties that take advantage of the mobile format – which more than certainly beats nothing, Nintendo fans.

In addition, the companies will offer an online membership service “that is accessible from smart devices, PC and Nintendo systems, such as the Nintendo 3DS portable system and the Wii U home console. The membership service, which is targeted to launch in the fall of 2015, will be built on DeNA’s extensive experience and capabilities in online membership services.” This could be the replacement to the Club Nintendo program that the publisher intends to shut down over the summer.

The news certainly provided good news for Nintendo’s stock, with an increase in stock that zoomed more than 27 percent on the news. Still, there are some who are looking at the deal with a bit of skepticism, as pointed out in this roundtable article from GamesIndustry International.

Still, hopes are high that the partnership will work out. Said GamesIndustry‘s James Brightman, “Like a child refusing to take its bitter medicine but realizing that it was necessary for its health later on, I’m hopeful that this move will ultimately pay off for Nintendo. The company knows that its expertise isn’t on mobile, so it’s wisely teamed with one of the leaders in Japan in DeNA. Whether DeNA knows how to make a “proper” Mario experience is up for debate, but Nintendo wouldn’t have made the deal if it didn’t trust DeNA to handle its properties with care.” The full article can be read here.

Despite this announcement, though, Nintendo insists that it continues to be a strong force when it comes to console gaming. During the same press announcement, it confirmed that it was working on a new video game system called the NX, which it will have more details for next year. In the meantime, the company will continue its push for Wii U and 3DS games, including forthcoming games like StarFox and Legend of Zelda.

Many important questions remain unanswered, such as whether or not these new games would be free-to-play or premium games, and when we might expect the first games from this agreement to appear. How Nintendo marketing efforts and this new network will connect the new games to other Nintendo properties is an open question as well. Like any such major agreement, the ultimate impact depends on how seriously both partners work on it. Certainly Nintendo’s iconic characters could command more attention, and more value, on mobile than any other video game characters — if the games are up to the quality standards that Nintendo is known for.

This is an important deal for both DeNA and Nintendo, but the ultimate impact won’t be clear for quite some time.

Apple Plans Over-the-Top TV Service

Following the news last week that HBO’s forthcoming streaming service HBO Now would debut exclusively on Apple’s devices next month, the company behind the iPad and iPhone could be making another big move towards television – its own streaming service.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that Apple intends to launch its own online TV service this year, after an attempted partnership with Comcast fell through. With it, the company is prepared to provide 25 different channels from broadcasters like ABC, CBS and Fox, as well as popular cable networks like ESPN and FX. The service is rumored to be introduced this June at the WWDC event, and then launch sometime in September for around $30 to $40 on a monthly basis.

Because the deal fell through with Comcast, the likes of NBC Universal won’t be featured on the service, but Apple is reportedly talking with other partners to get on board, including Fox and Walt Disney.

This is just the latest move by a company to provide an option for consumers to “cut the cable” and enjoy their favorite channels without the need of a monthly subscription. Sling TV continues to gain exposure with its arrival this week on Xbox One; and Sony’s PlayStation Vue service is about to head into beta across three cities, before its launch later this year.

But Apple would be a much bigger deal, mainly due to the fact that the service would be accessible across all its laptops, desktops and devices, including the iPad and iPhone. That ease of use would make it easy for consumers to subscribe and check out their programs, without the need to boot up a secondary device to check it out. This, on top of its agreement with HBO, would provide it a heaping amount of on-demand content to check out, as well as the possibility of live programming with certain channels.

The recent price drop for Apple TV, from $99 to $69, may be a way to make room for a more powerful Apple TV (with the latest, most powerful chips, priced at $99)  that would include this streaming TV service as well as (finally!) an App Store, which would finally bring Apple solidly into the console gaming space. The addition of over-the-top television service may have been the key piece of the puzzle that Apple’s been waiting for to finally revolitionize television. Of course, there are still persistent rumors that Apple has played around with creating its own TV screen as well, which could well be part of the mix.

We’ll see how the news plays out when the service is eventually introduced, but it’s sure to be a large selling point for Apple hardware.

EA Sports Takes Another Swing With Its Golf Series

EA Sports knows how to make a franchise game successful, with its multi-million selling Madden NFL series and the worldwide appeal of FIFA. But not too long ago, it held a firm grip on golf with the Tiger Woods PGA Tour series, dominating with a wide assortment of courses and options, along with the kind of gameplay that captured the fundamentals of the sport.

However, controversial issues off the golf course forced Tiger Woods to break away from EA Sports, and the franchise was left without a superstar golfer for the first time. At one point, it appeared that the publisher would move forward with the PGA Tour series without a big name – but apparently that’s no longer the case.

EA Sports has signed on up-and-comer Rory McIlroy to headline its latest golf game, Rory McIlroy PGA Tour, which will make its debut this June on Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Obviously, McIlroy isn’t as big a name as Woods, but considering his legacy on the sport in the past few years, he could easily gain popularity as a staple in the golf series.

“I’m very proud and humbled to see my face and name on EA Sports Rory McIlroy PGA Tour,” McIlroy said in a statement. “This is a great honor, and something I couldn’t even dream of growing up playing the sport. I really hope people enjoy the game and I’m very glad I can be a part of it.”

The game will feature a wide assortment of male and female golfers, as well as authentic courses taken from around the world. However, EA Sports looks to have a different angle on golf this time around, introducing “interactive” elements that appear on the course on occasion. During a trailer that debuted last year, a battleship crashed its way onto the mainland, forcing the player to adapt their style of play so that they could still get the ball on the green.

The publisher also hopes to bump the golf game up a notch with the introduction of the Frostbite engine, which is normally reserved for first-person shooters, like the Battlefield series. EA’s Brent Nielsen said, “Frostbite has allowed us to take this franchise to a whole new level. The new engine drastically improves all facets of the game, from core gameplay to opportunities for brand-new modes and features. We’re looking forward to sharing a lot of great news with our fans throughout the rest of the spring.”

Whether these new elements – and McIlroy’s name – can bring the PGA Tour series back to prosperity is still up in the air, since its absence over the last couple of years has forced golfing fans to turn elsewhere to get their swing on. However, with the right elements – and its highly-regarded online options (where players can play a round consecutively, without waiting on others to take their turn) – PGA Tour could certainly be a hit.

Just watch out for that battleship, though. That’s a heck of a stroke penalty.