Meet the Biggest YouTuber Without A Channel

by Jessica Klein

Though you’ve likely never heard of Andrew Vallentine, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen his work on YouTube. This is because Vallentine works behind the camera, directing videos for popular YouTube creators from Meghan Camarena to Joey Graceffa.

At this point in his freelance directing career on YouTube, Vallentine has no trouble keeping busy with clients. Recently, he released two music videos for Trisha Pasytas, shortly followed by Joey Graceffa’s coming out music video, “Don’t Wait” (below), and Ricky Dillon’s “Stars,” which debuted the very next day.

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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.



NCsoft’s ‘Blade & Soul’ MMORPG Heads West

One of the most popular Asian MMORPGS is poised to make its way to the West. NCsoft has announced that Blade & Soul will launch in North America and Europe this winter. Blade & Soul is, according to the company, ” a game unlike any other, set in an Asian, mythological world where fast-paced combat collides with the visual beauty of a Far-East martial arts massively-multiplayer online universe.” Since its initial launch in Asia in mid-2012, Blade & Soul has attracted tens of millions of players across South Korea, China, Taiwan, and Japan, while emerging as one of the top MMORPGs in the world.

“Blade & Soul is one of the most anticipated online games by Western consumers,” commented John Burns, senior vice president of publishing at NCsoft West. “This is a tremendous opportunity to bring one of the most successful and fun online games in Asia to our Western audience this winter and we can’t wait to deliver this extraordinary and distinct gaming experience to millions of new players across North America and Europe.”

Omeed Dariani

The game focuses on a classic Wuxia story line, set in a fantastic Asian-inpspired world, in which players must fight to avenge the death of their fallen master. Wuxia, which literally means “martial hero”, is a broad genre of Chinese fiction concerning the adventures of martial artists in ancient China. The game is visually stunning, with impressive landscapes and an immensely customizable character creation engine.

NCsoft’s community director Omeed Dariani and producer Nicolas Courant spoke with [a]listdaily about the game, its business model, and how it is than an MMORPG has eSports potential.

NCsoft has many RPGs in its history. What’s special about Blade & Soul, and why bring it to the West?

Blade & Soul is a game that came out in 2012 in Korea. It’s tremendously successful and it’s been rolled out all through Asia. Each place it’s been more successful — when they launched in China, they had 1.5 million concurrent users on the day of launch. There’s a tremendous amount of demand to bring this over to the West.

There’s an 8,000 person petition to bring it to the West. There’s a fan site that has 65,000 people on it. I probably get four or five tweets a day from fans who say ‘Where’s Blade & Soul Please bring it!’ and ‘We need it!” The good news is that we’re doing that. We’re localizing it into three languages — French, German, and English —simultaneously. We’re planning to go into closed beta this fall, and then commercial launch in the winter.

Nicolas Courant

What’s the business model for Blade & Soul?

The game is an action MMO, and it’s completely free-to-play — we’re not going to gate any content. We’ll be talking about that more this summer. The most important piece is that it’s free to play from a content perspective. We don’t want to put anything behind gates, we don’t want this area to be restricted for you because you didn’t give us ten dollars. There’s a steady pipeline for content updates. Since this game has been in development in Korea, and it’s still being updated in Asia, we’ve chosen to bring you in halfway through the story. The perfect point for players — tons and tons of content. There’s six Acts available in Asia right now. We’re releasing the first three, then four five and six will be releasing on a steady cadence. People will feel like there’s tons of stuff to do, and we’ll eventually catch up with Asia.

You mentioned that this game has eSports potential. How does that work for an MMORPG?

There’s really high-level competitive play involved for this game. We already have world championships in Asia — they’ve done broadcasts in Korea. The difficulty level is about how difficult it is to master the class — there’s a lot of action/reaction, move/countermove, parrying and dodging. It’s real-time combat, and you have to be paying attention and aiming. In many ways it has a lot in common with a fighting game.

How does the PvP system work?

You can play the full game without doing PvP at all, but it’s a very fun and important part of the game. At the start of the game you pick a faction — we call them Red and Blue for right now — and you get a costume for that faction. As long I’m not wearing this costume, I can’t be attacked in PvP. However, if I want to, I put this costume on and anyone of the opposing faction who’s also wearing their costume can attack me. There are two forms of PvP. There is a one on one arena PvP where people are just registered in matchmaking and you get into the arena. Then there is open-world PvP, where there are special quests and storylines. It’s not part of the main story, but it’s a nice activity people can do.


Swipe Right To Rock: Tinder Adding Music

Even though it’s still in its infancy, Tinder, a dating application, has become quite popular in the mainstream culture, with users universally “swiping right” as they seek out their ideal mate. Now, the popular app wants to add a new dynamic to the service, something that could possibly improve its reach towards potential marketing partners.

The company has announced a new partnership with Interscope Records, and are now offering electronic music artist Zedd’s new album on the service, according to Adweek.

Users can find Zedd’s fake profile and “swipe right” if they show interest in the album, True Colors and then receive a link after paying $3.99 to download it – half the price of what it normally sells for on iTunes and other services.

While this doesn’t mark the first time that Tinder’s made a deal with music – it previously paired with pop singer Jason Derulo to create a profile for the app to increase audience interest in his YouTube videos. However, this does mark the first time that a product is being offered directly through the app – and that opens potential doors for more promotional team-ups.

So far, Tinder has attracted quite a few potential partners. Bud Light, a popular beer brand, has advertised its recent “Whatever, USA” campaign on the site, and other marketers, like 20th Century Fox and E! Entertainment Television, have been testing out similar services, although nothing has fully launched just yet.

It’s just a matter of how this advertising is implemented so users aren’t turned off. After all, Tinder has a huge number of loyal followers, all of whom are getting into the “swipe right” dating addiction. Granted, it’s bound to find a way to make sure that advertising is non-obtrusive, so that users can still get the most out of the service while brands are being spotted. Zedd’s fake profile is a smart way to go about that, and it’s a safe bet that some companies are already thinking of a similar approach.

For now, users can swipe and get ready to rock, if they wish.

‘Splatoon’ Gets Big Marketing Push From Nintendo

We have previously spoken about Splatoon, the latest game from Nintendo, discussing how it was an approachable shooter for all ages, complete with single player and multiplayer components. Now, Nintendo’s preparing to push this new IP on the same level as many of its popular titles, including Super Smash Bros. and Mario Kart 8, two of the Wii U’s bigger hits.

MCV UK reported on the promotional campaign earlier today, with Nintendo UK marketing manager Chandra Nail explaining that the company is very confident in this new franchise, which could be a big hit.

The game has already seen a number of promotions, including digital billboards, co-sponsorship with Cartoon Network programming, and a digital campaign that kicked off last month. TV ads have been popping up as well, and Nintendo recently hosted a special event in Santa Monica, where actor James Marsden (The D Train) and others participated in paint-splattering activities.

In addition, more activities are being planned through the summer, including promotional tour stops and a Splatoon-themed skate park opening in Corby sometime this year.

“We have a substantial campaign planned for Splatoon,” said Nair, talking with MCV. “To give you an idea of the scale, we’re matching Mario Kart 8 – that’s the potential we think Splatoon has.

“We have the utmost confidence in the potential of Splatoon. It gives retailers a fantastic art style that stands out in-store or on-screen and it also offers various up-sell opportunities with the accompanying Amiibo. It’s a really interesting game for us because it allows us to expand out to a group of people who may never have considered Wii U before.”

In addition to the game’s release, Nintendo is also planning a special Wii U bundle that includes the title, as well as various Amiibo releases that unlock bonus items within the game. They’re all due to arrive next week when the game releases on May 29.

From a personal point of view, Splatoon is a lot of fun – and a great shooter for kids that want to get all of the action, while relieving parents of the worry of bloodshed and carnage. The other thing that gets splattered here are the walls – and the floors and, well, everything else. Bring on the paint!

Check out Splatoon in action in the trailer below.

New [a]list Summit Speakers Focus On eSports & Millennials

We are pleased to announce three more top speakers for this year’s [a]list Video summit on Aug. 19 at the W Hollywood Hotel.

To set the stage for the day, we have confirmed DEFY Media‘s EVP of Marketing, Andy Tu, and SVP Branded Content, Zack Smith, to present key learnings from the 2015 Acumen Report: Constant Content and how it can be applied to creating and distributing branded video content to reach a millennial audience.

Their presentation will touch upon the phenomenon of YouTube celebrities and their role influencing youth’s content choices. The report shows that 63 percent of respondents said they were more likely to try a product endorsed by a YouTube star. For traditional media celebrities, that figure is 48 percent.

We are also pleased to announce the first presenter of three in a panel dedicated to eSports streaming and programming, to show where the best opportunities are for brands to get in front of this highly engaged audience.

Andy Swanson, VP of eSports at Twitch, is a 17-year veteran in the games industry and currently is working with brands looking to get involved with Twitch’s eSports and events team. Andy will be demystifying the complex but exploding world of eSports to help marketers understand and navigate the opportunities with leagues, teams and players.

Register for the 2015 [a]list Video summit now to secure your space…


‘Storied Myth’ Provides Augmented Reality For Kids

Making applications and games for children can be a tricky business, as some parents believe a few of these merely exist to sap money out of their bank accounts, through a free-to-play business model. Kabir Seth and Rubina Singh, however, have something different in mind.

PSFK recently reported on a new tablet game called Storied Myth, which takes a very different approach to children’s entertainment. It’s based around a storytelling platform sold as a subscription service, one that enables children of all ages to explore the magical world of Pangea, through a series of puzzles and clues that are mailed to them. In addition, chapters of the story can be explored, and they can partake in digital activities as well.

“Parents today are conflicted” about the convenience of “guiltily (using) tablets as babysitters,” according to co-founder Singh, and letting the amount of “screen time” increase over time.

“We believe that active screen time is not enough,” continued Singh. “To truly spark a child’s imagination and create an immersive world, great storytelling needs to be combined with tangible activities. Storied Myth was brought to life to address this problem.”

In addition to involving kids in an interactive world, Singh explained that the service also helps improve vital developmental areas around its activities, including growing a child’s motor skills, logical reasoning and imaginative capabilities.

Storied Myth centers around the Pendant of Gyges, which itself has been involved in mythic lore. In an effort to save the world of Pangea after the head of the East Pangea Youth Games disappears, eight heroes emerge to hunt down the pendant, solving imaginative puzzles along the way.

The digital adventure consists of 12 different chapters that make up the first story (a second is currently in the works), and provides a series of puzzles sent through a monthly mailed package within the app. To solve them, creative thinking must be used, so missing elements can be found and the quest can continue. Singh added that readers will also “use the physical puzzles and activities to unlock augmented reality content that advances the story and creates an all-encompassing adventure.”

Both Singh and Seth grew up as “avid readers” of adventure novels, including Harry Potter and The Hardy Boys, but “were (also) exposed to many mythology stories that focused on universal values, too, like humility, trust and integrity.” This helped shape the story’s motto, “Be Truthful, Gentle and Fearless.”

The story “(captures) a child’s sense of adventure and then creates a connection between the e-story and a corresponding adventure kit they get in the mail,” according to Singh.

Those interested in learning more about Storied Myth – and how it differs from the usual downloadable fare – can check out the official page.

Google Lets Users Buy Products Through YouTube

Google is always trying to think of new ways to boost the eCommerce side of its business, in the hopes of luring new advertising partners and gaining interest from an outside audience. Today, it found a new method when it comes to reaching out to that audience – its own video channel, YouTube.

Re/Code is reporting that Google will soon introduce the ability to purchase items directly through watching YouTube videos, through its effective TrueView advertising service. With it, users simply need to click on a “Buy” button that appears with a coordinating product, something that’s sure to allure a number of new advertisers.

Google is set to introduce the new service during an ads conference next week in San Francisco, headed by the senior vice president for ads and commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy.

The links will appear with ads within YouTube videos, although users will still have the option to occasionally skip over them if they just want to get to their content.

Those that do click on the ads, however, won’t be whisked away to another page. Instead, a small panel will appear on the side of the video, with a number of options when it comes to shopping. Once they find the product they want, consumers can simply click on the link and be taken to a coordinating site where they can purchase said item. This will apply to both desktop and mobile users across the board.

Google has indicated that this service does not mean that purchases can be made directly through the YouTube site – again, secondary links are provided to pages where they can be bought. But, this works for both the company and the advertiser, as they both benefit from a final purchase.

It’ll be interesting to see how this applies once it fully launches – and how well users will accept it depending on their video browsing needs – but Google feels it will be an effective method for selling products, while not interrupting the flow of the site itself. Time will tell, at this rate – but it’s certainly worth a try.

AppsFlyer CEO On Getting The Most From Ad Networks

A mobile ad measurement platform called AppsFlyer, which we reported on earlier this year, recently released a new TV attribution tool capable of measuring the effectiveness of TV advertising for mobile apps.

AppsFlyer is launching the AppsFlyer Gaming Ad Network Performance Index, which tracks just how well the top 25 of over 1,000 ad networks tracked by AppsFlyer perform for game companies. The report provides a detailed review of each network’s performance, and looks at the all-important retention metric for games.

While every mobile game company would love to succeed using only organic installs, the reality is that smart use of an ad budget can help any game do better. Some of the key findings from the report are as follows:

  • Video proves to be the best bet when it comes to user acquisition — showing not only the highest retention rate but also the ability to drive scale. Video networks have a 130 percent higher overall retention rate compared to other networks in the index; video also has a 10 percent and 17 percent better overall retention rate compared to social network and in-app networks, respectively
  • iOS dominates app retention, widening the gap with Android over time. iOS also has a 26 percent higher retention for video networks, 28 percent higher for in-app networks, and 47 percent higher in social networks
  • On average, the drop in retention across all networks between days one to seven is 56 percent, and 80 percent between days seven to 30
  • Based on the quality and quantity of installs able to be generated, Facebook is number one on both iOS and Android.-Programmatic ad network AppLovin is the best ad network based on overall one-day, seven-day and 30-day retention. Vungle, AdColony, Facebook, Applifier and Chartboost are also high in rank.

AppsFlyer was careful to note that not all networks perform equally well for all clients. “Many of our clients are seeing the best ROI working with other networks from among our 1,000+ integrated partners.” The report further noted that “There’s a great deal of variance among campaigns and apps/developers. Just as companies are different, games are different as well and so are their marketing teams. Top notch marketers who put in the effort that’s required manage to beat their numbers through constant measurement, targeting, retargeting and applying deeplinking solutions such as OneLink.”

The full report can be found at AppsFlyer. The report is the first to ever analyze retention performance for all of the top mobile ad networks, and it also breaks down performance data by product type to help developers really understand which types of ad networks produce the best quality results.

AppsFlyer’s study is not a casual one. According to the report, “It is the industry’s most comprehensive study of its kind to date, covering over 50 million paid installs of hundreds of gaming apps running campaigns on hundreds of AppsFlyer’s integrated network partners.” Whenever you have such a rich source of information, there’s plenty of room to draw insightful conclusions.

Oren Kaniel, CEO of AppsFlyer, spoke with [a]listdaily to provide some more insights into how ad networks are performing for gaming apps, and ways that mobile game developers can use this information to their advantage.

Oren Kaniel

Some of your clients report the best ROI from networks other than the top 25. What is it about those networks, or the apps, or the companies, that leads to such high performance?

Many of the networks outside of the Top 25 are smaller networks, where a handful of top-quality publishers can significantly raise the performance of the entire network. Or in some cases they’ve got a great product but they just haven’t been able to scale it — yet. Or maybe they’ve got great targeting capabilities and the advertisers have gotten savvy about which specific audiences work best for their apps, so they’ve really dialed in their targeting and are achieving high ROI that way. In any of these cases, although the volume may be low, they’re worth paying attention to because they can grow very quickly.

It’s important to remember that this is a global report, while each app is a world of its own, with its own unique goals and target audience. So it definitely makes sense that some apps report better ROI with networks that didn’t make our top 25. That’s why the more networks a measurement partner is integrated with, the greater the chances that every marketer can eventually pinpoint and measure the optimal marketing mix from his own app’s perspective.

Why do affiliate networks perform so well relative to incentivized networks, and improve that performance gap over time?

Affiliate networks, by their very nature, get their inventory from a variety of sources. This includes incentivized networks, but also other, higher-quality networks, so it makes sense that retention rates of affiliate networks would be higher than incentivized networks.

Nintendo has gone on record as saying they don’t want to depend on a very small number of very high-paying players for their mobile games, but instead get a small amount of money from a very large amount of players. Is there any precedent in the mobile game market for this type of monetization?

I think a lot of gaming companies and other types of app developers are starting to embrace this strategy. More and more consumers are getting increasingly comfortable with the freemium model — a report from App Annie said that freemium apps contributed almost half of Google Play downloads — and as they do, they are coming around to the fact that a dollar or two here and there is a price worth paying for premium content in the games and apps they love. As an app developer, if you are only monetizing 5% of your userbase, your revenue potential is very limited. But with the massive audiences of some of these games, if you can monetize 20 percent or 30 percent or more — even at small levels — then your revenue potential becomes massive.

What general advice can you offer app developers to get the best ROI from ad networks?

Test, test and test some more. We encourage our clients to keep a close eye on their marketing campaigns and to continually test new networks, new products, new creative and every other variable that plays into performance. When you see that something is working, invest more heavily in those networks or campaigns, and either tweak the underperforming campaigns or cut them out altogether. This process of optimization is exactly what our product was built to enable our clients to do.

Marriott Debuts Second Short Film, ‘French Kiss’

“When you delve deeper into the film, you discover the characters are taking you through a brilliant travel story as they navigate through the streets of the city through magical realism that can only happen in Paris,” said David Beebe, VP of Creative and Content Marketing at Marriott International, about their newest effort, French Kiss.

The short film takes viewers on a wild chase through the City of Lights for the main character’s laptop. On a business trip, he learns there’s more to life than work as he’s forced to enjoy the city’s charms.

French Kiss is now the content studio’s second short film, after Two Bellmen, which had featured another of Marriott’s hotels, the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE.

Endemol Beyond Launches in Singapore, Where YouTubers Happen to Thrive

by Jessica Klein

Endemol Beyond has gone even further beyond…into Singapore, where there happens to be a lot going on for digital video creators right now.

The launch of Endemol Beyond Asia marks the company’s first Asian hub. It will be led by Chirstopher Smith, who comes from working at Mindshare Singapore and will take on the role of head of digital and branded content. He will report to Fotini Paraskakis, the managing director for Endemol Shine Asia, and will also work closely with Georg Ramme, the managing director of Endemol Beyond’s international division.

Endemol Beyond Asia will largely serve to adapt Endemol’s global content to Asian markets (so far, the company has hubs in the US, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and more). This will include Michelle Phan’s recently launched lifestyle network Icon, which is now targeted to English-speaking countries, including the US and UK. The company’s new, Asian hub will also focus on branded content.

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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.