VI Power-Sixer: Sling TV’s Roger Lynch Is Years Ahead Of You

by Sahil Patel

The NFL raised more than a few eyebrows earlier this year when it announced plans to live-stream a regular season game next season. The move is certainly interesting, and could pave the way for the league to distribute more games digitally in the future.

Except it’s not the first time the NFL has delivered a broadcast exclusively via the internet. The league has done it before. It was in Europe. In 1999. And it wasn’t just one game, the NFL streamed one game every Sunday during the entire season.

This all happened because of a European ISP provider called Chello Broadband. The CEO of Chello at the time Roger Lynch.

Look at the career of Roger Lynch, who started out as an investment banker for Morgan Stanley, and one thing is apparent: He has a knack for beating other innovators to the punch by several years — if not a decade.

In the case of the NFL, it was distributing games in a fashion that is still considered groundbreaking 16 years later.

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.

 

The Generational Gamer Divide 101 For Marketers

Once long ago, it seemed like there was a single gaming culture. That’s always been a bit of an illusion, but it was closer to the reality than it is now. The big difference is not what some people might think: console vs. PC or Japanese developed games vs. Western developed games. The big difference is “young” vs. “old”.

For the “young” and “old” contrast, the reason we put it in quotes is because the “old” gamers aren’t really that old; mid-thirties, most of them. These members of Gen-Y were the first generation that grew up with games. They were the center of the marketing bulls-eye for the NES when it was marketed to kids, they maybe picked up a PlayStation as a teenager and are still dedicated gamers to this day. For many years when people thought of “gamers”, they probably though of someone from this demographic – probably male, probably white, almost certainly nerdy.

The “young” generation, aged 18-years-old and below, are those in Gen-Z and are the so-called “digital natives”. They’ve grown up in a world awash in games, they’re parents might have gamed (or still do) and access to games has never been easier. These gamers are more diverse, both ethnically and gender-wise, and their differences with the “old” generation could not be more acute.

Entering marketing or PR in the gaming space, it might be difficult for the acolyte who hasn’t necessarily been immersed in games for their entire life. It’s important for marketers to understand the differences between these generations of gamers, whether they intend to target one or both. While we’ll be talking broadly about these generations in contrasting terms, few people will fit neatly and completely into either category. Still, the generalizations are useful for demographic targeting. First, let’s establish some general play-style habits for both groups.

 Many Old Gamers are Omnivorous

A gamer who grew up with games in the ’80s and ’90s is probably used to playing a lot of games of different types. From shooters to platformers to RPGs, they’ve probably beaten hundreds of games during their lifetime and experience (if not play) dozens of games each year. While there’s too many games releasing now for any one person to experience them all, they’re likely to bounce Super Mario Kart 8 to Bloodborne, depending on how the fancy strikes them and what console systems they own.

A lot of Young Gamers are Exclusive 

While those growing up in the late 20th century were used to playing games with the goal of getting to the end and finishing them, many younger gamers focus on one game. The prime example of this is Minecraft, but there’s others like World of Warcraft or League of Legends that players can easily spend all their time in. A game that is infinitely replayable is seen as a boon and many aren’t looking for the next experience coming over the horizon.

Old Gamers Have Deep-Seated Brand Loyalty

To those that grew up with the NES, Genesis and SNES, there are many series which are sacrosanct. Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Castlevania, Final Fantasy: these games are tied to the childhoods of so many 30-year-olds. For some, the release of a new entry is nigh unto a religious experience; even lapsed fans of a cherished franchise still perk their ears up when a new entry comes out.

Reaching these gamers, it can be useful to be evocative of these older games, or even of some newer titles (like Dark Souls or Skyrim) that has a large fanbase. One only has to go to riptapparel.com to see the potential appeal of nerd franchises applied in a clever way. It’s important to appeal in a genuine way – anything that seems fakey will be mocked and called out. Speaking to these gamers on their own terms will go very far; messaging has to be like one fan talking to another.

Young Gamers Are Entrenched in Particular Franchises

For the upcoming generation of gamers, there’s no large sense of history. Many of the games that they play and follow, like Minecraft, League of Legends or Clash of Clans, are very new. Furthermore, they maybe hugely devoted to one game, perhaps to virtual exclusivity. While this makes the obvious target more specific, it also makes it smaller.

Just like old gamers, appealing to the right brands in a genuine way can make all the difference. The important thing is realizing that something that appeals to one specific group does not appeal to another. Young gamers who play almost nothing but Minecraft are going to have different sensibilities to those that are dedicated League of Legends fans or those that are. However, it’s as much the where online as the what that can reach the younger demographic.

Old Gamers Are Used to a Changing Media Landscape

Anyone who grew up with games during the ’80s and ’90s knows that the main way to get news back then was to subscribe to an enthusiast magazine. With the Internet still in a nascent state, magazines were the best source of information for new and upcoming games. While print has fallen by the wayside, it’s successors are conventional gaming sites like USGamer and IGN, with message boards like NEOGAF being important as well.

Finding these old gamers, it’s important to be on enthusiast sites and also on the other places of the web where news can spread – Facebook, Twitter, etc. TV is also something of a thing, though that’s quickly disappearing for this cord-cutting demographic.

Young Gamers Trust Individuals

For the new generation of gamers, YouTube is truly king. Personalities like PewDiePie, CaptainSparklez, and Sky rule the roost and command a large audience. For young gamers, they see individuals as more trustworthy than a large site designed to have it’s own editorial voice. Regardless of how true that is, it’s the perception.

Because of these tendencies, it’s key to go after these YouTubers to appeal to the younger demographic. They’re very wary of conventional advertising, so marketers need to be aware that how they present their messaging is almost as important as the messaging itself. Another important component for this the nature of these videos – they tend to be on the long side and lightly edited. Replicating this style, and this can’t be emphasized enough, in a way that’s genuine can go far with this demographic.

 Conclusion

Regardless of the age of gamers, they’re all highly dedicated to their hobby. Games command a loyal following practically unseen in non-interactive media, but players are also sensitive to anything that seems counterfeit in tone. Still, if messaging knocks it out of the park, gamers are loyal and dedicated customers.

ICN Versus MCN

Recently, the Influencer Outreach Network, or ION for short, officially launched a new core offering called the ICN or Influencer Channel Network. The ICN is a fully-integrated platform created for marketers looking to improve brand lift and media value when working with influencers.

On Tuesday, ION’s exclusive webinar highlighted what makes an ICN different from what working with an MCN offers and the method behind the ICN. Check out some of the clips from the webinar below.

“A top request we get for brand marketing is with influencers.”

“MCN is general marketing, ICN is a one on one brand relationship.”

“An ICN is a channel owned by you.”

“The first search is taking place on a social channel.”

Contact:

Bil Buckley

bbuckley@ayzenberg.com

626.584.4070 x514

 

NewFronts 2015 Sees Many New Digital Entrants

There’s no question that digital content is slowly but surely moving in on traditional television’s territory, with the likes of Netflix, HBO Now, Hulu Plus and others offering the kind of on-demand content that makes it easier for folks to “cut the cord” from their television. And it looks like that strength is growing, judging by the attendees coming to the NewFronts 2015 event.

Set to take place next week, the two-week NewFronts event, which takes place in New York, will see 34 companies providing presentations, with a major focus on on-demand entertainment, according to Variety. These companies include YouTube, Hulu, Disney’s Maker Studios, AOL, Vice Media, Yahoo, Machinima, Defy Media and Buzzfeed, among others. Traditional media companies will also have presentations, including the New York Times, News Corp. and Bloomberg. (The full schedule is available here.)

More digital companies entering the fray is quite simple – and understandable from a business perspective. “People are starting to understand that there’s a lot of money to be made in digital, beyond just YouTube,” said Alan Wolk, senior analyst for TDG Research.

Wolk certainly isn’t wrong, as the U.S. digital video-ad spending is expected to take a 30 percent jump to $7.8 billion this year. While TV advertising continues to be strong at nearly ten times that ($70.6 billion), it’s certainly taken a hit.

With NewFronts, companies are looking for opportunities to show what they have – like Machinima with its recent backings by Warner Bros. and Google. Said CEO Chad Gutstein, “People are understanding that (content created on YouTube and other digital platforms) is not a cute little thing you’re doing. I’m beginning to feel the tipping point has happened.”

This also marks a slight change from NewFronts’ original format, which focused on Internet-video distributors getting on the radar of marketers in control of TV budgets and such. “When this started, people were making proclamations that they were worthy of attention,” said Dawn Ostroff, head of Conde Nast Entertainment. “But in a very short period of time it’s become much more important – digital is now an important part of the buy. The engagement in digital video is very significant.”

Continuing to talk about focus on programming, Ostroff added, “Our strategy is, you have a certain amount of content you’re going to make but you’re really selling across a network, so advertisers can buy a demo or a segment. It’s not unlike a television network.”

Although some question the advertising commitments that come from the show, “There is tremendous interest from advertisers and brands to hear about what everyone is doing – whether or not they spend ad dollars the next day,” said Keith Richman, president of Defy Media. “What you’ll see from us is just how deep the ecosystem is, and how the views associated with our brands are really strong relative to television.”

Speaking with Adage, StyleHaul CEO Stephanie Horbaczewski added, “There’s been a lot of evolution in the MCN (multichannel network) landscape over the last few years as MCN’s have vocally said the definition no longer really encompasses all of our businesses.”

The NewFronts event should certainly be interesting – especially as these MCN’s talk about their exclusives and features.

The Demographics Of YouTube, Broken Down

There are plenty of people out there who spend hours at a time exploring YouTube, whether it’s for movie trailers, opinion on a certain subject, or even highlights from their favorite shows – either provided by the networks or not. No wonder it’s so popular in so many demographics.

Digiday recently broke down just how popular the channel has become. First off, it stated that, despite a large group of male and female viewers, male still leads the pack, with men spending 44 percent more time on the site on a monthly basis, and 51 categories dominated by about a 90 percent male viewing presence. That said, there’s still plenty for women to do, as indicated in the chart below.

According to stats provided by OpenSlate, makeup and cosmetics lead the pack in female topics, with 89.3 percent overall viewership, followed by skin and nail care, weight loss and popular East Asian and pop music. Oh, and who can resist dogs

Gaming rules on the guys’ side of the playing field, with collectible card games taking a huge chunk, followed by Nintendo and Sony. There are some non-gaming trends in there, like bodybuilding, soccer, and graphics and animation software.

“As soon as you omit gaming as a macro category, it goes to almost 50-50,” said Mike Henry, CEO of Outrigger Media, the operator of OpenSlate. “Guys spend an incredible amount of time watching gaming videos.”

Then there are age groups, in which are broken down in the chart below.

comScore reports that the 25-34 bracket leads the charge in monthly viewers, judging by March 2015 numbers, with over 40 million. The 35-44 and 45-54 groups are closely behind, followed by the 18-24 group. Surprisingly enough, there are a large number of senior viewers as well, around the 20 to 26 million point.

However, these numbers can be quite different depending on category. In the field of beauty and style channels, females 18-24 lead with nearly 40 percent of all viewers, followed by the 13-17 and 25-34 age brackets. Meanwhile, men’s numbers for this category are incredibly low, barely registering five percent at the most.

By comparison, pets and animals channel have a better split between the two groups, with males and females 25-34 showing the highest numbers, around 15 to 17 percent, followed by 18-24 and 34-44.

“Understanding who is watching what at a really grandular level is where the storytelling process starts,” said Henry. “You can always find these people and target them, but it’s a completely different value proposition if you can target them in the mindset they’re in with a message that fits.”

Is Facebook Not As Effective As It Used To Be For Mobile Game Advertising?

Facebook has seen a great deal of growth over the past few months, especially on the video front. That said, some companies are still having a bit of struggle when it comes to finding an effective advertising program on the popular social site.

Pocket Gamer recently ran an article talking about how the over-saturation of the channel is making it difficult for some companies to find success — namely mobile game developers. A report from Nanigans indicates that while the click through rate for gaming ads on Facebook continues to grow (up to 150 percent from the previous year), it dropped nine percent in a quarter-on-quarter measurement. And it’s not due to the holidays, either, as the drop has been ongoing for a six-month period.

As you can see, CTR-related gaming ads have seen a big rise over 2014, only to stay stagnant and, in the first quarter of 2015, drop down the nine percent. Part of this may be due to boredom, with users not willing to look at ads that pop up randomly in their feeds.

The CTR for eCommerce in general across Facebook apps has seen a great increase, though, up 281 percent year-on-year and 12 percent quarter-on-quarter, which indicates a loss of interest with certain game ads.

Part of the issue may also be with what the cost per click — or CPC — costs for companies that produce Facebook ads. The rate has risen an approximate 11 percent quarter-on-quarter, and 69 percent year-over-year, from $.47 to $.80. While that’s not a big deal individually, it adds up with each new click that the ads get. (Measurements for 1,000 impressions calculate at $5.17, a 324 percent rise over the previous year.)

So what does this mean for advertising on Facebook in general It’s still quite popular, but some mobile game developers may be looking elsewhere to advertise its wares unless Facebook can come up with something more effective to make its games shine again. It’ll be interesting to see where these trends wind up over the course of 2015.

Highlights From Game Marketing Summit 2015

The Game Marketing Summit’s 10th annual gathering in San Francisco this week brought together top marketing talent form across the industry to inform, educate, and celebrate game marketing. Here’s what some of the sessions had to say to the attendees. Fortunately for those who weren’t there, or who didn’t take notes, you can see the recorded sessions in the near future at www.gamemarketingsummit.com.

Psychology-based marketing expert Jeanette McMurtry of e4marketing.com spoke at GMS 2015 about the use of psychology in marketing. It’s a different way of looking at marketing, and realizing that part of why marketers have such a hard time trying to engage customers “is because they are distracted,” said McMurtry. We are constantly checking our smartphones, chatting on social media, and being pulled and tugged in a thousand ways every day. McMurtry suggests that looking at the psychology of what motivates and attracts people is a way to develop more effective marketing.

Among the key things to remember is that 90 percent of our thinking is unconscious. “So why do we market to the other 10 percent What an amazing waste that is”, McMurtry said. We need to look at the unconscious drives that channel our thinking. Studies have shown that what people say motivates them is not actually what has the most influence on their behavior. While the conscious mind is saying that helpfulness, choosing your own path, and finding meaning in life is most important, your unconscious mind is focused on maintaining security, sexual fulfillment, and honoring tradition. Effective marketing should take this into account.

Most marketing is based on joy, but many people are motivated by fear, McMurtry noted. A key driver of social behavior is avoiding less as much or more than seeking reward. She also pointed out the language of colors (for instance, red represent danger, while blue is more peaceful and reassuring), and looking for ways to create positive associations with your brand. “What drives our happiness are relationships, not products,” McMurtry pointed out, showing some study results listing the things people value most in their lives. “How are we giving people that joy and satisfaction ” She suggested that many of the factors that make religions such a powerful force in the lives of billions are also used by successful brands, such as Apple, in creating powerful engagement with their brands.

McMurtry’ s session, while fascinating in its own right, was a perfect segue into industry veteran Bing Gordon’s keynote address. Gordon share some of his insights into “monetization hacking” based on his decades in the game industry as a leading exec at Electronic Arts and now as partner at leading venture capitalist Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where he’s been instrumental in the success of many companies.

Gordon noted that while being a super-successful marketing exec might make you $100 million, if you want to make $1 billion have to start a company to reach that level of success. If you want to make $10 million, Gordon said, create $100 million worth of value for your brand “and then go in and ask the CEO for 10 percent,” he said.

“Providing a lifetime of ideas in a handful of minutes” was how Gordon characterized his talk, and that was certainly true. His rapid-fire presentation touched on many great anecdotes and pearls of wisdom that marketers can learn from. For instance, Gordon recalled how Electronic Arts would use response card surveys to get feedback from gamers on the kinds of games they would be interested in seeing. This was, of course, before you could gather such information with great ease over the Internet.

“We concept-tested a list of titles or phrases about games,” noted Gordon. One of the examples he gave was “5 on 5 NBA game” which, after getting a great response on survey cards, eventually became the highly successful NBA Live game. “Any title that got 30 percent response or more was always a top ten game when it is delivered with at least an 80 percent Metacritic rating,” said Gordon.

While there were plenty of examples from the game industry that Gordon talked about, he also drew on examples from other places. ” The toy business doesn’t start a product until they have a commercial that works,” said Gordon. If you know the appeal of your product well enough to craft an effective commercial that gets customers ready to buy the product, then you’ve got the core of a great product. Interestingly, this is exactly the opposite of how most games begin, which is as an idea by a developer of something they’d like to play. Developers will certainly continue to do that, but perhaps trying to see how that concept turns into a marketing campaign would be a good way to see how much merit a game idea has.

Gordon had a number of insights into monetization, including that customers pay to reduce pain. “Easier outperforms hard,” Gordon noted, pointing to how $84 a month subscriptions dramatically outpulls $1,000 a year in consumer response. He also discussed subscriptions, and how marketers should think of it as a volume discount. “Don’t offer too much,” Gordon cautioned. “Whatever you think is right, cut it in half.” He thinks about a 25 percent discount on an annual rate is usually sufficient.

Facebook Gets 4 Billion Video Views Daily; Shifts To Mobile

Those thinking that Facebook’s video component still has a long way to go before catching up with YouTube may want to take a look at the social site’s latest numbers – because they’re quite staggering.

AdWeek recently reported that the company’s Q1 2015 ad revenue numbers are adding up, showing a 46 percent growth to $3.3 billion. That’s an incredible growth, especially considering the mobile side of things, with 73 percent of overall ad sales. That’s a four percent increase from the previous year’s numbers.

Despite the huge numbers, however, this actually indicates a slight decrease in business sales, although there’s not much to complain about. The market share in general continues to hold strongly, with Facebook accounting for eight percent of the overall $145 billion online advertising space for this past year – up from six percent the previous year, according to eMarketer numbers.

This won’t stop the company from continuing to try and make its video features more prominent for advertisers, especially considering that partnerships have managed to drive home big numbers, benefiting both parties.

Other stats from the company’s recent earnings report:

 

  • Monthly active users (MAUs) rose 13 percent year-over-year
  • Mobile-only MAUs totaled 581 million, marking 40 percent of the platform’s total audience
  • North America accounted for 49 percent of its overall revenue
  • Revenue from payments and other fees managed to fall five percent from the previous year, but this is due to a consumer shift from desktop to mobile gaming

 

Re/code also reported that the popular social site has managed to reach four billion video views daily, a huge leap over the one billion reported back in September 2014. 75 percent of those overall views came from mobile devices. Most of that comes from successful formatting. “We’ve always believed that the format of our ads should follow the format of what consumers are doing on Facebook,” said COO Sheryl Sandberg during a recent investors call. “The fact that there’s so much consumer video, that gives us the opportunity to do more marketing video as well.”

In the meantime, Mark Zuckerberg and company will keep a close eye on trends and see what more it can provide for brands. The second quarter numbers should certainly be interesting.

Victorious Launches Apps For Online Stars

A few months ago, Victorious launched their online service, hoping to reach out to young online superstars in the hopes of creating applications that would provide an easier outreach to their growing fan bases. Today, that plan has been put into motion.

TechCrunch has reported that the company has launched the first two of these applications onto the market, featuring superstars like Ryan Higa and The Young Turks. Even those who aren’t “superfans” of these stars will notice that this is a great new business model for Victorious, one that can benefit them and their clients alike with professionally built applications.

Higa, with 14.2 million subscribers on YouTube, will use his app to release unseen footage, as well as debut new shows directly through it, as well as allow fans to interact through an interactive community, where they can share their own content.

Co-founder and CO Sam Rogoway explained to TechCrunch a while back that the key to making successful apps is to work closely with the superstars the team has in mind. “We’re big believers in not just handing an app over to our creative partners and saying good luck. We spend a lot of time working with them to find ways in which we can activate superfans and keep them highly engaged,” he said.

“More than ever, the creator is king,” added co-founder and chief creative officer Bing Chen.

So far, stars seem quite pleased with what the service has to offer. Said Higa, “I’ve always wanted to connect with my viewers but there’s only so much you can do through commenting and tweets.”

Victorious is just getting started as well. The company plans to introduce a series of apps for other stars, including Michelle Phan, Freddie Wong, Jukin Media, and DeStorm Power, along with popular YouTube channel Geek & Sundry and its associated superstars. With 250 million fans in tow, its own network is growing as well – and it intends to expand upon that with partnerships with undisclosed franchises and TV shows.

Those who want to check out Higa’s TeeHee app can do so on iOS and Android, and The Young Turks can be downloaded for iOS and Android as well.