How-To Videos On YouTube Drive Purchases Among Millennials

by Jessica Klein

There are many reasons why the video tutorial is the most effective way to learn how to DIY. You get the steps broken down for you and laid out before you, so you can actually see the right way to connect part A to part B (often better than even a clear-cut Ikea diagram can manage).

Thus, it’s no surprise that YouTube has become a major hub for “how-to” videos, with related searches on the video platform increasing 70 percent year over year, according to a report from Google called “I Want-to-Do Moments: From Home to Beauty.”

Millennials, who tend to be particularly familiar with YouTube’s content offerings, are largely in agreement with the platform’s usefulness for DIY. Sixty-seven percent of them say they can find a video on the platform for “anything” that they want to learn.

Of course, “anything” is a pretty broad category, and a lot of things people want to learn how to do come up while they’re out of the house. That’s where mobile comes in. While completing a given task, 91 percent of those surveyed said they look to their smartphones for input on how to get it done.

Keep reading…

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.

Now Hiring This Week: May 13th

[a]listdaily is your source for the hottest job openings for senior management and marketing in games, entertainment and social media. Check here every Wednesday for the latest openings.

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Lionsgate’s Peter Levin: ‘Very Bullish’ On AR/VR

Among the big Hollywood studios, Lionsgate is making a name for itself with its far-reaching efforts in the interactive space. Heading up those efforts for the last year has been Peter Levin, who has been pursuing a number of different deals to find interesting and innovative ways to bring Lionsgate IP into gaming — and find some game properties worthy of going the other way, too.

Continuing the conversation with Peter Levin, president of Lionsgate Interactive, about the difficulties of creating good games based on IP, the potential of AR and VR, and why using VR in marketing may be holding back its commercialization. Read the first part of this conversation here.

What’s the biggest challenge in developing games that are going to last for years that are based on movies and television Is it getting the creative teams working together?

It’s like any hits-driven business — it’s picking your shots on goal. For us it has been an exercise at finding teams that are as good as they get, and coupling those teams to an IP they’re passionate about. But you’re going to stumble. I think it’s a marathon, not a sprint, is a good way to look at it. We’re not going to make a game based on everything we’re putting out on film and television, it just does not make sense. But at the end of the day, even if a television series goes away in its season one, but the concept, the underlying IP, the narrative, the story arc could map onto a great game. There’s no reason why you can’t still make that game. Because if you’re not considering it to be derivative, and just again, part of a licensing and merchandise exercise, but you’re considering it to be core to the adaptation of that IP it may and in some instances it absolutely will outlive the television product and the theatrical product.

One of the things we’ve talked about here today is AR and VR, and I know Lionsgate is making some bets in those areas. What can you tell us about your thinking on AR and VR?

Look, there’s a lot of cynicism, I’ve gotten some of that even here about AR and VR. But we’re very bullish on that environment within which to tell stories. We were announced as part of what HTC and Valve are doing together with Vive. We’re playing with a couple of our IPs with those guys, and we see it as a phenomenal opportunity to provide both experiences and the ability to yet again demonstrate our wares from our library, whether that’s theatrical or whether that’s television. In a 3D, HD 4K environment, to be able to consume themed content presented by Lionsgate and others, that’s a monetizable experience for us. As a user, as an audience, a lot of folks can’t afford $40,000 or $50,000 home entertainment systems, and all of a sudden you’re able to consume in both a very intimate and a very high-end manner.

We’re very bullish on it. We see it as almost the inversion of 3D, which was hype-hype-hype and then really under-delivered as a product. This is one where the product is so good, but it’s still so engineering-centric and I’m not confident necessarily on the roadmap to getting the product out, and how it is that they’re going to bring the qualitative experiences and couple that to the engineering. I think that’s where it’s falling a little short in some areas. But when you look at the numbers relative to Steam and Valve, the computational power is clearly there, you’ve got a contextual audience that are alpha adopters and they’re gamers big-time. You look at Gear VR and you have a subset of a pretty large audience that are going to be ready for primetime to a degree. It’s early days, but we’re bullish.

I think it has a lot to do with the cost of the hardware, and the nature of the experiences that are being delivered. It’s just hard to predict when that is going to crystallize into a market.

The other issue, and we deal with this as a studio, is there’s so much now being thrown at these experiences in terms of promotion and marketing. How are you going to differentiate a commercial experience from a promotional and marketing experience Whenever there’s new platforms, that’s where media tends to go. “Oh, let’s leverage the novelty of this new thing!” and we’ll use it as a promotional marketing vehicle. Well, while you’re doing that, it cannibalizes the commercial opportunity. At some point it’s the YouTube conundrum. Other players mature aroudn you, and then you have to either gravitate toward their model or build a better mousetrap.

Aside from AR and VR, is there something ahead in the next year or two that you think people in the games industry should take advantage of?

We see the ability within location-based entertainment experiences for gaming to become more and more of a thing. We just recently announced our first location-based entertainment initiative in the Middle East. The interesting thing about that dialog is going to be the gamification of a lot that’s going to happen in that environment and to couple people to that experience remotely through gamifiable experiences. I think for a company like ours, we’re kind of the little engine that could. We’re the newest bigger player, if you will. But we’re not a slave to a 15-acre lot behind our studio where we have to produce x amount of films per year and x amount of television per year. We’re somewhat mercenary in how we go out and distribute and finance, oftentimes, with our partnerships. We’re the agnostic player — we’re very good at partnering with people. We partner with all of the traditional big media players out there. We see just a tremendous amount of opportunity in every area.

How do you see games going into the movie or television space? Will this become more commonplace?

I think you will start to see more and more of that activity. I think there’s a little bit of a prejudice and it’s unwarranted or unjustified… and perhaps there have been some bad adaptations of games in years past. We’re pursuing several IPs that originate on the game side of the fence, and hopefully will mature into successful vehicles. One of the positives there that you cannot argue with are the engagement metrics. We just haven’t seen that before, and mobile/tablet have really provided that opportunity. We’re very bullish on it, as are the other studios, and we hope we and they continue to take those shots on goal.

‘Assassin’s Creed’ Plots A Killer Return

Ubisoft has put a lot of reliance into its Assassin’s Creed franchise over the past few years, and it’s rewarded the company handsomely, with millions of units sold and new fans hopping on board with each new adventure. That said, it’s also been met with its fair share of criticism, especially last year’s Assassin’s Creed Unity, which launched with a number of noteworthy glitches that the company has since addressed.

However, that isn’t stopping the publisher from moving forward with the series, especially with a new entry that looks to be the most promising to date – Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. Ubisoft unveiled a first look at the game this morning through its YouTube site, revealing gameplay details and a new locale that is sure to appeal to long-time fans and newcomers alike.

Syndicate takes place in 1868 London, during the time of the Industrial Revolution. Players switch off between a pair of assassin siblings, Jacob and Evie Frye, as they set out to eliminate wealthy, murderous targets and liberate parts of London, with the help of their loyal street gang. Both characters will be able to utilize a number of new tools, including brass knuckles and a rope grapple, to get the job done.

More details on the game can be found in this Prima Games preview, including the ability to ride around in a horse carriage for extra mobility (and fighting edge) and exploring an even larger area than what was available in Unity last year. The game’s debut trailer is below.

The game’s virtual presentation has been a strong success for Ubisoft, with Syndicate getting heavy buzz on social media channels, although some still show skepticism following Unity’s performance. Regardless, the publisher should have another big hit on its hands when Syndicate launches on October 23rd for Xbox One and PlayStation 4 – right in the middle of the busy holiday sales season.

More information about the game – including details on its promotional push and forthcoming downloadable content – should be unveiled in the coming months, particularly during Ubisoft’s showcase at the Electronic Entertainment Expo next month.

One thing’s for sure – this Assassin means business.


Streaming Officially Overtakes Downloads In Music Industry

We’ve talked in the past about how streaming services are on the rise in the music industry, although not everyone is profiting from it due to the drop in digital downloads. That said, it’s a trend that isn’t likely to drop off anytime soon – if at all.

Re/code recently posted an article indicating the recent findings from a report by Warner Music Group. The report states that streaming music revenue has managed to pass revenue from paid downloads, marking the first time that the medium has done so for a major music label.

Services like Spotify, Pandora and YouTube have handily grown 33 percent for the second quarter, according to Warner. CEO Stephen Cooper explained the findings during a recent earnings call by the company, also pointing out that digital revenue has grown seven perfect overall. However, it’s not good news for all, as services like Apple’s iTunes have taken a hit when it comes to download sales, although a specific download figure wasn’t given during the call.

Music labels, in an effort to find more profitability, have been pushing for music services to ease back on the free tunes in favor of paid subscriptions.

“The rate of this growth has made it abundantly clear that, in years to come, streaming will be the way that most people enjoy music,” said Cooper. “We’ll continue to collaborate with our streaming partners to expand their business, and, more importantly, to ensure that copyright owners, artists and songwriters receive appropriate value for their work.”

Warner has made big profits from licensing music to services, as it’s proven with partnerships over the last year with Snapchat, Vessel and Interlude. Still, some players are being left out in the cold, especially with the reliance of digital album sales in favor of streaming.

In the midst of all this are the musicians, many of whom (like Taylor Swift) have been vocal about the poor revenues to the artists from streaming. Worse, the transparency of the streaming music business is limited — artists get checks with no clear idea of how exactly revenues were calculated.

More opportunities are still ahead, though. Apple is still actively looking into launching some form of paid music service sometime this year, and an announcement may come as soon as next month. Other competitors, like the troubled Tidal service launched by Jay-Z, are still lurking about. Don’t be surprised if streaming becomes more of the norm in the months ahead.

Club Nintendo Replacement Could Launch This Fall

Providing rewards for being loyal to a company is nothing new, as a lot of brands offer something to consumers who keep purchasing their products. For the longest time, Nintendo had one of the best programs in the video game business with its Club Nintendo program, not only offering exclusive items in exchange for points redeemed for purchased games, but also annual rewards for those who stuck around in the long haul, from full digital downloads to special items like calendars and soundtracks.

That program shut down earlier in the year, but it won’t be too long until Nintendo replaces it with an even bigger one, as Polygon reports that the company may introduce something as soon as this fall.

An “evolved” version of the loyalty program is in the works, according to details provided in the latest financial report from DeNA, which recently partnered up with Nintendo to include many of its popular characters in mobile games.

With the launch of the program, Nintendo is set to introduce an “integrated membership” that connects smart devices and Nintendo’s dedicated game systems together, both of which will use a common login ID. It’s similar to the Club Nintendo service, where purchases for Nintendo systems (including the Wii U and 3DS) were kept track of, and some rewards were given as a result. However, the finer terms haven’t been revealed just yet, in terms of what’s being offered or what details will be tracked.

The details shouldn’t be too far off, however. Nintendo of America has stated that it will provide details on what it’s planning to unveil at the Electronic Entertainment Expo tomorrow, including the possibility of a new Nintendo Direct special and more details on said loyalty program. Games will likely get a huge focus as well, including upcoming titles like Mario Maker, StarFox and Xenoblade Chronicles X. (Sadly, the company already confirmed that the new Legend of Zelda game will not be at the show, although it could still be featured on video.)

Considering Nintendo’s recent turn-around in profits and its huge promotional push for the upcoming ink shooter Splatoon, its program should have no problem keeping long-time fans and newcomers alike happy. We’ll know more soon enough.

KickStarter Goes Wild For ‘Castlevania’ Creator

Some video game projects have had no trouble finding a second life with the help of crowdfunding. Titles like Wasteland 2, the Double Fine Adventure (which would later become the critically acclaimed Broken Age) and Mighty No. 9 have been able to draw millions of dollars from supporters, allowing the projects to reach fruition. (In fact, some have fared even better than expected, with Mighty landing a publishing deal with Deep Silver, set to release this September.)

Add another success story to the pile. Koji Igarashi, a long-time producer of Konami’s Castlevania series, has launched a new KickStarter project of his own, Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night. The game resembles a spiritual successor to the 1997 game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, a title many consider the best entry in the series to date.

Like Symphony, Bloodstained would introduce an intricate art style, with the same side-scrolling gameplay that the Castlevania games were previously known for before taking a more sophisticated 3D route with the Lords of Shadow games for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It also promises to include a variety of role-playing elements, including the ability to use magical spells and attacks against enormous enemies.

Speaking with the adoring Castlevania public, Igarashi stated, “With your help, I hope to create a new game built on some of the classic gaming principles my works are known for. Thank you for your support – I look forward to leading you in my army of the night!”

What no one expected, however, is that Igarashi’s Bloodstained project would set a new record for a crowdfunded video game. Since its start yesterday, it’s already managed to raise around $1.5 million dollars, with 31 days left to go on the project. That’s triple the amount Igarashi was initially looking for to fund the game, and it handily covers many of its stretch goals, including casting voice actor David Hayter (Solid Snake from the Metal Gear Solid series).

It just goes to show that classic games are still big business these days. Mighty No. 9 shares many traits with Capcom’s Mega Man series, since it comes from the same producer, Keiji Inafune. And Double Fine had no problem appealing to the old “point-and-click” crowd with Broken Age, promising many rewards to those who backed the game.

Could this mean that we see even more classic projects emerge on the KickStarter scene We wouldn’t be surprised if they did. Games like ToeJam and Earl and the platforming adventure Yooka-Laylee have managed to draw successful budgets, with fans of older games looking forward to new adventures. And it’s a lot of those fans that will no doubt make Bloodstained a success in its development.

There’s no questioning Igarashi’s devotion to the project either. Polygon recently posted a piece that followed the producer for an entire day, prepping for his pitch for the Bloodstained project. That video can be found below.

Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night will publish for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC in March 2017.


Is The Verizon Deal Deja Vu For AOL?

by: Allen Weiner

How fitting that May 12th is the 90th birthday of Yankee great and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra. The man who coined the phrase, “It’s deja vu all over again” had the foresight to describe the $4-plus billion deal in which Verizon purchased AOL.

It’s amazing how 15 years goes so quickly, but it seems like just yesterday that AOL and Time Warner joined forces to take over the media world. Without beating a dead horse, it’s safe to say that was a bust. Will the Verizon-AOL deal fare any better

Aside from its deep pockets, Verizon brings with it a large mobile subscriber base that generated more than $23 billion in wireless revenue for Q4 2014. Verizon, as with all major telecoms, owns a very sophisticated billing and collection business that is able to handle a lot of transactions (and no doubt is underserved). AOL has Huffington Post, TechCrunch, Engadget, and a number of other news/information properties that pull in tens of millions of uniques each month. It also has a programmatic ad platform and, of great interest to Verizon, a very strong original video business.

Keep reading…

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.

Riot’s Whalen Rozelle Talks Brands And eSports

Riot Games held the League of Legends Mid-Season Invitational last week in Tallahassee, Florida, bringing the top six teams from around the world to compete for $175,000 in prizes. It’s also an opportunity to see these teams compete directly in the middle of the year, and perhaps preview some of the matchups that might be coming when the World Championship is held this fall. It’s also a great way to build fan interest, and to that end Coca-Cola worked in collaboration with Riot Games and Cinemark Theaters to show the finals of the Mid-Season Invitational at Cinemark Theaters in major cities across the United States, and thousands of fans bought tickets to see the experience on the big screen, in addition to the thousands of fans that packed the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center.

Whalen Rozell, director of eSports for Riot Games, spoke with [a]listdaily about the continuing rise in eSports, how the structure of the leagues is changing, and how brands are getting involved.

Riot has really taken eSports to the next level for the entire industry, and its evolution has been rapid. How do you evaluate Riot’s progress with eSports, and what’s next to accomplish?

We’ve had the advantage, as you noted, of being able to stand on the shoulders of those who’ve come before us. There’s not a ton of secret sauce to it. One of the things that’s really mattered is that we’ve had a ton of focus on it. We really have focused on making League of Legends a true spectator sport in every sense of the word. We’ve had the advantage of being able to look at these other sports and see what’s worked and what hasn’t worked, and try to adapt certain things to see if it will work for us.Â

A great example is our broadcasters; they stand up when they broadcast games, just like the broadcasters might in the NFL. We asked ourselves, “Why do we sit them down at a desk ” when immediately the camera’s off them they get out of their chair and stand up and cast. So why do we have the desk there The answer was, “Because there always was a desk.” It was like a talk show. We asked ourselves. “why do we need to hang on looking at these guys for ten or fifteen minutes at a time We could be show pro players, the fans, the venue. We do think there is still a ton to learn, whether it’s from traditional sports or even other eSports. The complementary experience, we have a lot more to do on that front. We haven’t taken advantage of the fact that we’re online and have instant information about the teams. We’re really only limited by our imagination and the size of our engineering team.

How has the process been in dealing with all the different leagues?

Sometimes it’s very easy, especially where we have alignment in where we want the sport to go. A great example has been this year in Korea, where OGN, KeSPA (the alliance of the teams participating), Riot Korea (which does a lot of strategic esports participation there), and then the central team in Los Angeles that helps tie everything together, we all had the same aligned vision. We want a stable sport with better quality of life for pro players, and more security and stability for everybody that’s in there.

That’s why we made the format shift from the tournament format that they’ve run for the last two and a half years to League of Legends Korea, which although it has the same name is now a league format which has the teams playing weekly. You have a big format shift, but even though that format shift would normally be very challenging working with partners, because we’re aligned, because we have such a strong partnership we’re able to make that work. Sometimes it’s challenging and there’s a lot of give and take. There is a local flavor to it, and what we don’t want — and what we don’t do — is have an authoritarian central team telling the leagues what to do.

The rise of League of Legends as a game and its rise as an eSport have both been rapid. Do you foresee a time when you’ll have more eSport fans than players of the game, and does that concern you?

We’re talking many, many years out, but it could well be that there may be more League of Legends eSports fans than players. What’s cool is when you play the game you love, and you share your love for watching the game with someone who might not play the game. We see stories of that all the time, of a guy pulling his girlfriend in to watch who gets attached to a team or a player but doesn’t play the game all that much. Likewise, if you take a break from playing the game you can still watch eSports. We think it’s one and the same, the League of Legends lifestyle. When you watch or play League of Legends it’s a relationship we have with the fan or player. We’re equally responsible for having a positive relationship on both sides. You never know when you’ll have more fans than players, but both keep going up. The game is doing very well and viewership is doing very well.

Many other game companies are either putting more effort into eSports or considering doing so. Is this a good thing from Riot’s perspective?

We’re really happy to see eSports succeed across different games. CS: GO has had a fabulous year — I think they had a million peak concurrent viewers at the recent IEM [Intel Extreme Masters]. It’s been great to see other games succeed, because a rising tide lifts all boats. There are advantages when eSports succeeds as a whole. More partners are willing to commit and invest their time and invest their money and raise the overall quality of the industry. I know there are fans of different games who love to throw rocks at each other, but ultimately the success of one eSport helps us all.

With the involvement of brands in League of Legends, are we someday going to see players looking like NASCAR drivers when they come out on stage, covered with sponsor logos?

I can tell you with certainty, at least in the LCS, we do not want to go down the NASCAR route. Certain teams have more sponsors than others, but from a league perspective we want to have a few deeply integrated, highly relevant partners who want to go all in on eSports as much as we do. Coca-Cola is a great example of that. We’ve really had the time to bring them along, and their team has been very proactive about trying to learn and understand this space. We want partners like those who really want to go the distance and really go all in on eSports. The hope is you’ll see more of them as we continue to talk with more companies and gauge interest. But you won’t see that many, because we won’t be NASCAR.

It’s not in the league’s interest to have a very broad reach on sponsors, because that also takes sponsorships away from the teams. We want success of the league, success of the teams, success of pro players to all go hand-in-hand. We don’t want to gobble up sponsorships. If there’s a company that wants a smaller activation, or just wants to test the waters, we’ll very often direct them to one of the teams or to multiple teams.

Nintendo Moves Forward On Smartphone Initiative

It was just under two months ago that Nintendo finally decided to enter the mobile gaming market, in a partnership with the team at DeNA that will bring several familiar faces to tablets and phones alike. But now comes the magic question – when will we be seeing Mario and company on these devices

Apparently not too long. Cult of Android has reported that Nintendo intends to deliver its first smartphone game by the end of this year, with four more “top quality” titles set to arrive by 2017, according to president Satoru Iwata.

The company is taking a slow but sure approach to adapting to the mobile market, a change of pace from developing games for its own handheld platforms, like the 3DS and the recently released New Nintendo 3DS, which has been selling reasonably well since debuting on the market.

“We aim to make each title a hit,” said Iwata while meeting with investors. “and because we want to thoroughly operate every one of them for a significant amount of time after their releases, this is not a small number at all and should demonstrate our serious commitment to the smart device business.”

Even with the strongest franchises in the world, a game on both the App Store and Google Play simply can’t find success “if consumers cannot appreciate the quality of a game.” (Nintendo probably learned this lesson years ago with its lacking educational Where’s Mario games.)

Don’t expect ports of popular titles from previous platforms, either. “If we were simply to port software that already has a track record on a dedicated game system, it would not match the play styles of smart devices,” said Iwata.

Even with its push onto the mobile market, Nintendo won’t be departing the console scene anytime soon. It intends to unveil a number of new titles for the Nintendo Wii U next month at E3 2015, and is hard at work on a new device called the NX, which likely won’t be shown off until sometime next year.

This appears to be the latest initiative put together by the company in its effort to turn around its profits, which we reported on last week. We certainly wish them nothing but success.