iPro Brings Real-Time Football Play Prediction Gaming to Mobile

The fantasy football industry has become a billion-dollar business, with companies like Draftkings and Fanduel taking a long-time casual game and turning it into an activity shared by millions using apps that let you easily assemble fantasy football teams and bet on the outcomes of your choices. Now, a new mobile gaming technology company, iPro, is taking the whole idea of skill-based competition based on real football games to the next level. Ipro is bringing the more than 40 million players of fantasy sports a new experience play-by-play sports prediction based on dynamic odds with its new app ringit!.

With ringit!, mobile players will be able to make predictions about touchdown or turnover, each and every play and it all happens in real time as NFL games take place. “Real-time, play-by-play predictions with dynamic odds have never been achieved before, but I’m just as excited about the flexibility of this platform,” explains Robert Melendres, founder & CEO of iPro. “Our platform is designed to offer social, fantasy and sports betting gameplay within a single app and with the ability to switch modes automatically based on the user’s location and the laws of that jurisdiction.”

The company has been awarded a patent on the technology, with several more in process. Players will be able to invite and make picks against their friends for fun using virtual chips, or play against the field for cash prizes (in most territories). iPro s exclusive, patented technology can give players more than 15,000 pick opportunities in every NFL game, each with dynamically changing odds based on the game status, team tendencies, players on the field and more.

Tom Goedde, chief marketing officer at iPro, spoke with [a]listdaily about the app and its marketing.

Who’s your target market for Ringit!

Ringit! is aimed at all sports fans and techies who love competition and the action of game day.

How will you market this app

We re marketing ringit! as a sports prediction platform, which is very different from traditional or daily fantasy sports products. Ringit! is built on exclusive, patented technology that enables players to compete alongside live sporting events, in real-time, making picks for each and every play, as odds dynamically change based on the game status, team tendencies, players on the field and more.  You’ve never seen anything like it and I can t wait to share it with the world.

Fantasy football is an enormous market. Do you think Ringit! will not only attract those fans but might supplant some of their fantasy football play time

We think fans of fantasy football are definitely going to be attracted to ringit!, because it offers something no-one else is delivering the opportunity to compete against friends or the field by predicting the next play, drive, or game as you watch live NFL football games, in real-time and where the experience constantly changes based on dynamic odds.  Now, fantasy sports fans have an enticing option where they don t have to wait for the end of the weekend or season to see if they won.

How complex are the legal issues involved with the various modes of gameplay, and how have you dealt with them especially as the laws are different from state to state How does this affect you you market Ringit!  

The laws are complex, and we’ve designed ringit! accordingly. Ringit! is a game of skill, and is therefore legal in nearly every state.  Players will be able to access different modes of play, including social mode, which is a game of skill and legal in every jurisdiction, as it does not award monetary prizes. Fantasy mode is also a game of skill, and legal in all but six states, and doesn’t violate federal rules, including UIGEA. In the future, we’ll also launch a sports betting mode, in territories where permitted, where players can place cash bets on picks.

Our products are designed to comply with all jurisdictional regulations. If you are in a region where gaming is legal, iPro will automatically sense that and turns on certain gaming features. For example, if you fly from Seattle where you can only play in social mode, and land in San Francisco, ringit! automatically senses it, and turns on your fantasy gameplay options.

How are you working with the NFL for this product

We aren’t affiliated directly with the NFL, but we have a relationship with the official stats provider for the NFL.

What’s the future hold for iPro and Ringit! and the technology that you have developed Are other sports a possibility, and what’s the global potential like for this technology

Our proprietary technology is certainly suited to expand to other sports categories, and is definitely in our plans. Right now, our focus is on pro football, but we can keep you posted on expansion news. Same goes for branching out to other markets. We re launching first in the US, Canada & the UK, and have plans to expand to other markets soon

Ad-Blocking Is Showing No Signs Of Slowing Down

While many companies thrive on using ads to get the message across to customers, not everyone is a fan of them. In fact, a large number of consumers have managed to utilize some form of ad-blocking service — and it’s becoming more of a common business practice than you might expect.

But now things could be getting a bit more heated in the ad-blocking market, according to a article from The New York Times. With the release of last week’s iOS 9 update from Apple, users can now temploy ad-blocking apps to keep most ads from appearing. With that, consumers have been ordering them in droves, with the likes of such programs as Peace, Purify and Crystal soaring to the top of Apple’s App Store sales chart in that time frame.

As a result, consumers feel that they’re getting a better web browsing experience, although some web publishers feel as if they’re being left out in the cold. The maker of the ad-blocking app Peace, Marco Arment, removed that app from the service and offered refunds, stating that although blocking ads can “benefit a ton of people in major ways, they also hurt some, including many who don’t deserve to be hit.”

The ethics of ad-blocking were already put into question with several successful desktop programs, as some believe that ads are what help the Internet with its circulation — even allowing some companies to make a healthy living as a result. With these limitations, companies won’t be able to benefit, mainly due to a more basic advertising model.

“When ad blockers became the most downloaded apps in the App Store, it forced publishers and advertisers to rethink the role that advertising plays on the web,” said David Carroll, an associate professor of media design for the Parsons School of Design.

Apple responded with the introduction of such software saying that it makes “for an improved mobile browsing experience,” according to The New YorkTimes.

Still, that’s a business practice that should have some companies concerned, as more and more consumers are taking part in ad blocking. Some 16 percent of those who use the Internet in the U.S., approximately 45 million people, already have an ad blocking service in place — that’s a 48 percent increase over the past year, according to Sean Blanchfield, operator of Irish ad block tracking service PageFair. The site indicates that ad blocking could easily cost publishers about $22 billion in revenue for this year alone.

John Gruber, a technology blogger for Daring Fireball, indicated on Twitter that “it’s wrong” if an ad blocker stops all kinds of advertising. “The ad network I’m a part of, the Deck, only serves ads that are fast to load and don’t track you,” he said. “In my opinion, they’re good-looking ads for high-quality products and services. Why block that ”

“This will be hard on small publishers,” said David Jacobs, chief executive of 29th Street Publishing, which helps publishers create apps. “There are definitely some small publishers out there that make 50 percent to 75 percent of their revenue from ads, and they have margins of about 10 percent.”

He did suggest, however, that “publishers will really need another way to make money” with more “good” ways to advertise, instead of “bad.” “I think that people have also underestimated how much has to change between the reader and publishers,” he explained.

Here are the general takeaways from the iOS 9 ad-blocking introduction…

First off, ad blocking is not a new practice. It’s been around for years, but is starting to build up reasonable steam not only on desktop PC’s, but also mobile.

Secondly, Apple isn’t trying to punish any particular companies with this policy. Its focus has always been on customer service, and giving owners of its iPhone and iPad models the best experience possible — and that includes managing ads so that it doesn’t interrupt said experience or, worse yet, “gum” up the hardware with unnecessary loading time.

Finally, this could be the wake-up call for marketers to make more effective ad campaigns, as companies now need to find a way to make advertising more receptive to consumers, rather than badgering them or, worse yet, making them concerned for security purposes.

And for those looking into further insight in ad-blocking, eMarketer has an outstanding report,indicating that, according to Q2 2015 data provided by GlobalWebIndex, 34 percent of those between the ages of 16 to 24 and 31 percent of those between 25 and 35 use ad-blocking services. The chart below shows just how widespread it really is.


ad block1ad block2


Instagram’s Powerful Mobile Game Ads

We’ve talked quite a bit in the past about Instagram’s new mobile advertising initiatives, but it also seems to be doing pretty well in the gaming department, despite the high costs that comes with them.

This report from Pocket Gamer indicates that various companies, including AppsFlyer and Apsalar, have joined in regarding analytic support for the site, alongside Kenshoo, which has indicated that some advertising numbers for games have arisen from the site, based on “a selection of games spanning the Social Casino, RPG, Strategy, Sports and Match 3 genres.”

These include a 2.32 average click-through rate (CTR), a $4.17 average cost per install (CPI), a $.36 average cost-per-click (CPC) and a $6.22 average cost-per-thousand impressions (CPM).

These are some interesting differences from numbers provided by Nanigans for gaming advertising on Facebook through the first quarter of 2015, which include a 0.65 percent average CTR, and $.80 CPC and a $5.17 CPM.

When it comes to visiting the site for mobile purposes, Chartboost provided these recent numbers, in terms of cost-per-install for the U.S.:

  • iOS Average: $2.23
  • iPad Average: $2.59
  • iPhone Average: $2.04
  • Amazon average: $1.78

As a result, Instagram has a larger number of users when it comes to click-through rates in general, although it could be costly to some publishers that aren’t expecting that kind of windfall in terms of popularity. Still, this is more good news for the Facebook-owned photo/video site, indicating that its advertising model is coming across better than expected.

Companies with larger budgets based on their mobile releases may find this to be music to their ears, as it’ll mean bigger business in the long run even if that means a bit of up-front costs getting into it.

Expect the advertising initiative and Instagram’s growing list of partners to continue well into the end of 2015, as well as 2016 and beyond.

Twitter Boosts TV Viewing

There has been a number of great marketing programs in the past where TV networks have teamed up with social channels to create buzz for new premieres and special programs (like SyFy’s Sharknado movies), to great effectiveness. Twitter takes a large part in this, and with the fall season premieres set to begin this week, they’re not likely to slow down anytime soon.

This report from Adweek indicates that both advertisers and users benefit from such campaigns, especially on Twitter, according to numbers compiled by the site in the TVxTwitter Playbook.

“The TV conversation on Twitter strongly influences mainstream media as well as consumer attitudes and behaviors,” said Twitter global media and agency research director Anjali Midha. “As the research in our TVxTwitter Playbook demonstrates, there are actionable strategies and tactics that can help both programming content and advertising work harder by tapping into the power of their audiences.”

The full infographic is below, but here are some effective takeaways from the results.

  • In the U.S. last year, there were one billion tweets about television.
  • 87 percent of tweets about TV come from mobile devices
  • 93 percent of Twitter users have a cable subscription in some form
  • 85 percent of active Twitter users tweet about TV mostly during prime-time hours.
  • With some form of hashtag integration, a TV show can gain a 20 percent increase in Tweets per minute. (One example of this: WWE’s programming, which makes heavy usage of hashtags during its shows.)
  • Shows like the Oscars and MTV Video Music Awards show an increase in attention on Twitter, compared to just talking about it on the Internet in general. (This is especially true with last night’s Emmys broadcast.)
  • Four out of five users active during prime-time hours have mentioned brands in their Tweets.
  • 99 percent of active Twitter users during these same hours were exposed to at least one brand-related Tweet.

Check out the full statistics in the infographic below.


Jaunt Raises Virtual Reality Funds From Disney, Others

Virtual reality is becoming one of the hottest markets to emerge over the next coming year, and Jaunt is ready to play its part, based on its most recent round of fundraising.

A report from Variety states that the start-up virtual reality team has managed to raise $65 million in Series C funding, with a good chunk of it coming straight from the Walt Disney Company. In addition, Evolution Media Partners and China Media Capital (CMC) have provided some money as well.

As a result, the company has reached over $100 million in funding to date the biggest yet for a virtual reality-based team.

With that, it’s stated that it will use the funding to increase production of its virtual reality units, as well as its state-of-the-art camera hardware and software production tools. It also intends to expand its teams based on both its Los Angeles studio and its home base, located in Palo Alto, California.

This gives the team an opportunity to make a big splash in the Hollywood market, especially with both Disney and Evolution Media Partners (backed by CAA partners Evolution Media Capital, TPG Growth and Participant Media) on board. Of course, there’s potential to reach in other markets as well, as previous investors like Highland Capital, Google Ventures and broadcast company Sky have helped raise $50 million previously.

Disney has already put its investment to good use, previously working alongside Jaunt with ABC News to help increase a production system based on news dispatches through virtual reality. This includes a Nightline report on preserving antiquities in Syria.

This round further illustrates our commitment and dedication to advancing the scope of cinematic VR — for filmmakers, storytellers and audiences alike, Jaunt CEO and co-founder Jens Christensen said regarding the funding. With the support of these world-class companies, we will explore new avenues, building on our leadership position to deliver amazing VR experiences using best-in-class tools, technology and creative teams.

Rick Hess, founder and co-managing partner of Evolution Media Partners, stated, Brands, artists and creatives are looking to reach and interact with their audiences in new innovative ways, and Jaunt s expertise provides a groundbreaking medium for exploring these new avenues.

There’s no word yet on when we’ll see Jaunt’s technology in action again, but it’s sure to be sooner rather than later.

Imgur: How Brands Can Go Viral Creatively

Social media are redefining marketing in interesting ways, and the recent events on Imgur the Internet’s largest image-sharing community are an excellent examples of this. Old Spice’s marketing stunt has been going viral on Imgur over the last few days, showing just how powerful native advertising can be when brands grasp the style, language and content that resonates with a community.

Here’s the rundown: Just three days ago, an Imgurian, heartbroken over a lost bottle of Old Spice Bearglove body wash, reached out to Old Spice through Imgur asking to replace the hygienic void in his life. The folks at Old Spice delivered .

TheWehrmachtDidNothingWrong: Dear @RealOldSpiceWeSwear I accidentally left my Bearglove body wash at a friends house I stayed at over the weekend. Can you send me one?

RealOldSpiceWeSwear: Absolutely not. But direct message us and we will send you a ridiculously large nearly full-sized jungle cat tax. For real. In real life.

So Old Spice sent me a giant tiger…

View the origins of the story here (see the comments section) and here’s the delivery and the unveiling of Old Spice’s amazing play on an Imgurian tradition the cat tax.

Steve Patrizi, VP of marketing & sales at Imgur, spoke with [a]listdaily about Imgur and its value to brand marketers.

How would you describe Imgur for marketers who are just hearing about the platform?

Imgur is home to the most ridiculously entertaining images on the Internet. Millions of people visit Imgur every day to enjoy and share hilarious, heartwarming, and helpful images from all around the world. The basic unit is a post, which includes a title, one or more images (animated or still), and descriptive text. Users vote up their favorite posts, which are then seen by millions of people every day.

Our marketing partners tell us there are 3 reasons they’re investing in Imgur:

  1. Reaching millennial males at scale. Imgur’s core demographic is young, tech-savvy and culture-influencing millennial males – particularly those into video games, movies, technology, apparel, and food. For a lot of marketers, these users are hard to find at scale, yet according to comScore, Imgur is home to the highest composition of millennial males found anywhere on the Internet.
  2. Crazy levels of engagement. It’s one thing to reach millennial males, it s another to reach them in places where they’re spending lots of time. 82 percent of Imgur users spend 3+ hours on Imgur per week, and 17 percent spend 10+ hours per week.
  3. A massive and engaging messaging canvas. The post is one of the most powerful messaging units available on the Internet. It can be used for short-form or long-form messaging, it can include still or hi-def animated images, and has proven to deliver impressive results: on average, users spend 25 seconds with a post (close to the gold-standard of tv spots!) and engagement rates are between two and four percent!

What’s the reach of Imgur, and what are the demographics that the platform hits?

Imgur reaches 150 million monthly active users globally, and according to comScore, has the highest concentration of millennial males on the Internet. 75 percent are under the age of 35 and nearly 60 percent are 24 and younger. Imgur’s audience is most interested in geek culture things like video games, movies, music, and, of course, food.

Is Old Spice unusual in how it’s using Imgur, or are other brands reaching out to customers in similar fashion? Can you give us some examples of other brands using Imgur?

Old Spice isn’t necessarily unusual in how they’re using Imgur, but they and our other partners are doing something really special that you just don’t see on the Internet as much as you should: they’re focused on delivering user value first and foremost and actually creating advertising that people enjoy. They know that if they get that part right, they’ll have an easier time hitting their own objectives.

For example, Old Spice invited Imgur users to help them pick the best scent of Imgur, but gave them some cool reaction GIFs to use as well. eBay has shared tons of great advice, like how to find a great father’s day gift to how manage your computer cables, and Starz shared some behind the scenes insights into their new show BluntTalk.

Here are some examples of awesome Promoted Posts be sure to check out the comments section to see the community feedback!


1. Father Day & Drones http://imgur.com/gallery/jDlpp

2. Tech Transformations http://imgur.com/gallery/gLNBX

3. Rare Toys http://imgur.com/gallery/AZDq7

4. Cable Management http://imgur.com/gallery/cV6HQ

5. eBay Charity

6. You’re Never Alone When you Have a Drone http://imgur.com/gallery/NWxQm

7. How to Build a Gaming Computer from Scratch http://imgur.com/gallery/HRY2I

8. Welcome our New 3D Printing Overlords http://imgur.com/gallery/iwUpQ

9. Community Love http://imgur.com/gallery/c6YbS

10. Camp High Tech http://imgur.com/account/favorites/wjZtr

Blunt Talk Starring Patrick Stewart

1. MRW http://imgur.com/gallery/GT4uJQa/

2. Who Doesn’t Need More Patrick Stewart in Their Lives http://imgur.com/gallery/Vm7p8

3. Patrick Stewart Wants to be Blunt with You http://imgur.com/gallery/QyCAM

4. Captain Picard & Mr. Data http://imgur.com/gallery/eCIa7

Old Spice

1. And So It Begins http://imgur.com/gallery/BcZMG/

2. Round 1: Battle of The Upvote Gifs http://imgur.com/gallery/osMV6

3. Round 2: Cat Taxapalooza: http://imgur.com/gallery/1jbnE

4. Round 3: Deal With It http://imgur.com/gallery/0noqU

Planetary Society with Bill Nye

1. Dear Citizens of Planet Earth http://imgur.com/gallery/oB8Lb

Just Cause 3

1. Play a Video Game, Win an Island http://imgur.com/gallery/49tkG

What’s the best way for brands to find and support conversations about themselves on Imgur?

The real opportunity on Imgur is to learn more about the authentic conversations that millennials are having about the things they really care about most. Then we can work together with brands to use those insights to develop programs and messaging that really connects with Imgur s millennial audience.

For example, eBay picked up on the fact that a lot of Imgur users were really interested in camping gear – so we worked with them to put together a post showcasing cool camping gadgets. Old Spice locked onto the idea that it s customary for Imgur users to include a cat tax in their posts, which led to the tiger delivery.


How Native Ads Can Deliver Great Results

Native advertising has become a hot area for marketers, especially those looking to get past ad blockers and the tendency of customers to skip past advertising the moment they notice it. Native ads have become an important revenue stream for many media outlets, and a powerful performer for advertisers when they are executed properly. The New York Times and Netflix, for instance, created a powerful native ad about women in America’s prison system. The piece was written in a raw, journalistic style, and provided plenty of data. It was thoughtful and intriguing, even though it was created to help promote Netflix’s series Orange Is The New Black.

BuzzFeed is a great example of a media site that’s embracing native ads to great success. Buzzfeed (as reported by Ad Age) has create a network of native ads that’s growing every day. Ads like this one from VISA begin playing as soon as it appears in a Facebook feed and challenges viewers with calls to action like “Can you guess the fake ”

Native advertising is also gaining ground in the games industry, though in a different way. NativeX is a company that specializes in native ads for mobile games, and CEO Robert Weber believes the company is serving an important role. “Many mobile game developers are getting far better results from native ads that give their players virtual rewards for real ad engagement. This is where rewarded multi-offer ads work well,” Weber pointed out in an article on The Next Web. “For instance, many game developers offer their players a choice of either watching a video ad or downloading an app in exchange for in-game currency (see image below). While these are native ads, they look and act nothing like Facebook news feed-type ads, or content that’s indistinguishable from the actual game — in fact, their whole purpose is to clearly offer more content in exchange for ad engagement.”

“Typical click through rates for these kinds of units are well over 10%, with completion rates of 50 percent,” Weber continued. “By contrast, a typical clickthrough rate for ads on a newspaper website are closer to 0.3 percent. These reward-based ads have kept a lot of great indie game developers from going bankrupt, and even brought them enough revenue to start creating more games.”

Weber spoke with [a]listdaily to provide more insights on native ads for games.

Robert Weber

How does native advertising in games differ from regular ads that might get shown alongside mobile games

Native ads in games are designed to better align with the game publisher’s targeted user experience, typically including game-specific content (visual, audio and ideally rewards tied to virtual currency).

Are native ads significantly more effective than regular ads, particularly for games Can you cite some examples

Yes. When you combine rewards for users with improved, native design, results are significantly better for publishers.

To get a sense of how effective value exchange ads are, see the MMA research where CTR rates for value exchange video on slide 11 versus other non-native video formats (http://mmaglobal.com/files/whitepapers/MMA_Video_Benchmarking_Study_FINAL_v4.pdf).

Our native value exchange video ads and native interstitial ads drive even further CTR increases. For example, see the Lara Croft: Relic Run case study here. Across our native value exchange video ad publishers, we typically see CTR rates in the 10 percent to 11 percent range, almost four times higher than what the MMA research reported for standard value exchange video.

One of the concerns about native advertising — across a variety of media — is that when native advertising looks too much like the usual content, it may devalue the content’s brand. For instance, that when a native ad appears in The New York Times, that may confuse or concern some readers. Do you think this is a valid concern Does it apply to native advertising in games

I do believe some of the sponsored content native ads typically found in news and social apps can get a bit confusing at times. With our native ads in games, we don’t believe there is any confusion. We think one evidence supporting this is Conversion Rates for our ads. We don’t just see higher CTR rates than standard ads, we often see Conversion Rates being higher too. If there was confusion with our native game ads causing accidental clicks, we believe we’d see lower conversion rates.

What’s the future look like for native advertising in games

We believe we are still in the early days of native ads for games. At NativeX, we are investing heavily in our ad innovation lab to create innovative new native ad formats for games that deliver game changing performance gains for game publishers. Typically the areas we are exploring are our use of visual, audio and user experience modifications to increase the effectiveness of in-game ads.

TotalBiscuit On Red Bull Battle Grounds, ‘StarCraft II’

Red Bull brings a close to its StarCraft II Archon Mode Face Off on Sept. 19 at The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD with some of the top pros teaming up to play Blizzard Entertainment’s new multiplayer eSports mode. John “TotalBiscuit” Bain will be on hand as a caster of the livestreamed event (www.redbullbattlegrounds.com). The YouTube personality and owner of StarCraft II team Axiom gaming talks about the role Archon could play in changing the landscape of eSports in this exclusive interview.

How has livestreaming impacted the growth of eSports?

On a basic level, livestreaming is why eSports can exist in its current form. It’s given a platform that didn’t exist previously. ESports really never would have existed without it. It’s very long-form and it’s not at all similar to how traditional sports events are broadcast because there’s an unpredictable game length and unpredictable tournament length. With eSports you need to dedicate an entire channel to one event. That doesn’t happen with broadcast TV. The more important point is that the eSports audience is very international. While you do get home crowd, every event features players from many different companies. Broadcast TV would not be suitable to reach this global fan base. With livestreaming you can connect with everyone simultaneously.

What are your thoughts on how Red Bull has connected with eSports fans?

Red Bull has taken an interesting angle because they do a lot of their own event programming. They’ve done a limited amount of sponsorship over the years. But not many brands go out of their way to create their own content. And Red Bull experiments with different ideas. A lot of StarCraft II events are similar because the format has been figured out over the years. The biggest exception to that is Red Bull’s events. The size of Red Bull’s events is massive. They’ve been innovating in that scene.

What role has Red Bull’s focus on StarCraft II had on keeping Blizzard’s game relevant?

It’s improtant to have high-profile companies like Red Bull promoting StarCraft II at a time when League of Legends, Dota 2, and Counter Strike: Global Offensive are pulling in more viewers. Team-based eSports are more popular. StarCraft II is still the biggest 1vs. 1 eSports game. Red Bull’s high quality content around StarCraft II is still enjoyable to watch. While the game’s growth period may have stopped, it’s still a viable platform and a good place to spend money — and also less expensive for sponsors and advertisers interested in getting involved in eSports.

What impact could team-based Archon have on StarCraft II as an eSport?

The Archon game plays and is presented in the same way as 1 vs. 1, except two players are controlling on one side. StarCraft II has had team formats from the start, but the game hasn’t been properly balanced and 1vs.1 was the priority. Archon mode is interesting is because it has the excitement of a team-based activity and you have a lot more going on on-screen, but you don’t have the balance problems. There’s the possibility based on how well this tournament goes, that we may see more people follow this. The prize pool may have to be bigger and you’ll have to fly in more players for events, but it’s probably the closest we’ll get to exciting team-based gameplay.

Why is 2 vs. 2 Archon mode best for eSports?

2 vs. 2 is the sweet spot because if you add more players it will run into balance problems. 5 vs. 5 would have 20 people because you have two players per base. It’d be insane to watch. A lot of it comes down to how easy is the eSport to watch for the viewer. As you increase the number of people playing, it gets difficult. StarCraft II is complicated enough in 1 vs. 1. Add more bases and it’s hard for spectators to keep up with the action.

What role do stadiums play in eSports today?

Stadiums provide a good venue for finals, but what I found interesting with The International — the biggest prize pool in eSports history — was at times the stadium looked empty. But you have to consider the lengths of these events. These are 12-hour days and sitting in stadium seating for that long isn’t comfortable or practical, so you have people go in and out. They’ll watch the team they want to watch. It’s very unique and interesting. There’s nothing like that in a traditional sports or concert event. It’s more like a music festival. You don’t stay there the entire time, you follow the events you want to. ESports events are completely scalable from LAN events to stadiums.

How important are big prize pools for growing eSports?

When you take $18 million and say this prize pool is more than The Masters and other big sports events, you get media attention because it’s hard to ignore something where that much money is given away. The model Valve is using is not a fluke. It’s unusual, but sustainable. And for the eSports scene it’s helpful because people can justify going pro in pursuit of a prize pool that big. It also just makes people pay attention to eSports because it has a huge audience and a lot of money going into it, regardless of how strange one might think professional video gaming is. You have to pay attention to it.

What’s the key to having a successful league today?

While $18 million for one event is great, it’s not the way leagues can operate. You need to create a sustainable circuit, rather than focus on one big event a year. A great team might not make it to The International because something may happen outside of your control. The way you make eSports sustainable is to have more events. You have the majors and other things leading up to The International. Valve and ESL work together. Riot and Blizzard working with leagues, as well. You can create a year-long ecosystem where teams are able to build points and earn prize money in a way that’s more reliable. Pros need reliable income.

Activision Debuts ‘Downton Abbey’ Mobile Game

When you hear that Activision has released a new game, you start to think about Call of Duty or Skylanders but Activision’s newest game is about as far away from those blockbusters as you could imagine. Still, Activision is going with a tried and true IP with an enormous audience for its latest mobile game the hit PBS series Downton Abbey, now appearing in the Apple App Store, Google Play, and the Amazon Appstore for the Kindle line.

The release of the Downton Abbey: Mysteries of the Manor mobile game coincides with the beginning of the show’s sixth (and final) season in the UK (though it won’t be aired in the USA until next year). The game is a free-to-play hidden-object game. In Mysteries of the Manor, you ll step into the role of a newly hired staff member who was brought in to investigate a mysterious burglary, the company said. An intruder has ransacked the abbey, putting the Crawley s family fortune in jeopardy. You ll need to search each room and assemble the evidence if you want to get to the bottom of this whodunit.”


Activision plans to release monthly content updates along with a special Christmas content pack, according to MCV.

Pinterest Hits 100 Million Users

Pinterest has been around for five years and it’s been obvious the site has attracted a lot of attention and users. Until now, though, the company has been shy about announcing user numbers, pointing people to third-party firms like comScore rather than announcing user numbers directly. Now, Pinterest is changing its tune, according to Quartz: “Today (Sept. 17), Pinterest announced that 100 million people use the service each month, with the number of users, or pinners, doubling in the last 18 months. International users, which also doubled in the last year, now make up 45 percent of its user base.”

That’s a rapid rate of growth when you look back at earlier estimates from third-parties like eMarketer, which earlier this year estimated that Pinterest had 47.1 million monthly users in the US, while comScore reported 75.8 million users in total.

The attraction of marketers to Pinterest is simply the 100 million users — it’s what those users are there for. Pinterest represents what people are interested in in the future, and particularly things they want to purchase. Pinterest has teamed up with fashion retailer Topshop to create a color palette tool based on saved pins. As VentureBeat reports,”Pinterest could further enhance its advertising efforts with promoted pins and its ads API by using user data derived from these third-party sites.” Ads on Pinterest blend seamlessly with the content — it’s more like native advertising than the way ads appear on other social media.

Since Pinterest added “buy” buttons to its mobile app in June, it’s clearly beginning to capitalize on its potential power as a shopping platform. A report in 2014 from Shopify showed (above) just how good Pinterest is at influencing purchases — Pinterest beat out Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube when it came to user spend. Marketers should definitely be looking more closely at Pinterest for a variety of reasons.