YouTube Debuts Music Service App

YouTube continues to add upgrades and options to its service. Earlier this year, it moved forward with its Gaming initiative, complete with dedicated channels and programming. Then there’s its new Red service, which launched a few weeks ago, featuring ad-free and original programming to entice users to become paid subscribers. Now, it’s ready to rock with the official launch of its music service.

The free YouTube Music app is now available for iOS and Android, which includes a 14-day trial access to its premium features, which can also also be had with a YouTube Red subscription.

After spending about a year in beta, the service is launching with over 50 million songs in both audio-only and video formats — 20 million of which consist of emerging artists, according to Sowmya Subramanian, an engineering director for YouTube. Considering that YouTube has become a common place for discovering for various artists (like violinist Lindsey Stirling), it makes sense that there’d be a lot of room for indie performers.

Rather than diversifying with a number of confusing playlists scattered across various artists, YouTube chose to keep it simple with a Daily 40, which breaks down the most important songs and music videos for the day.

“We want the Daily 40 to be the place you go to know what everyone else is watching and talking about and sharing,” said T. Jay Fowler, head of music products for YouTube. “If a song is blowing up on YouTube, this is where you’d find out about it.”

Musical discovery will also play a big part in the app, as there will be automatically generated stations for related songs, in case you’re in a particular mood or want to hear more from a specific artist. More importantly, it also has an offline and audio-only mode, which enables users to save on data while listening.

As with other services like Pandora and Spotify, there is an ad-laden version that comes at no charge, but paying the $9.99 for YouTube Red unlocks additional features, which is an added incentive to stay as a premium user once the 14-day trial period is over. Similarly, a YouTube Red subscription also improves Google Play Music experience, which is another free music app provided by Google. Essentially, a single subscription improves the experience for three different services.

That said, the competition among streaming music apps is fierce. Spotify and Pandora both have large audiences, and let’s not forget the YouTube music video channel and app, Vevo. Even Apple Music has also expanded its reach recently by releasing an app for Android devices. However, YouTube has the advantage of being one of the top sites where artists are seen and discovered.

What really matters now is how YouTube markets its service, pushes it to the public and appeals to those in an effort to draw in more subscribers for Red. More importantly, the Daily 40 needs to remain relevant, relying on diversifying tastes while, at the same time, introducing something dynamically new that will keep fans rockin’.

Considering YouTube’s popularity, that shouldn’t be a tough task. The chart below (via The Verge) shows that YouTube ranked highest for online music use in 2014. It even managed to outperform top music streaming services Pandora and Spotify by nearly two times.

Screen Shot 2015 11 12 at 12.11.01 PM

Why Vertical Video Should Be Taken Seriously

Despite some debate over how vertical videos don’t make the best use of TVs and monitors,it has still seen an increase in use. Snapchat is even pitching it as a viable format for advertising. There are plenty of reasons why vertical video usage is on the rise, and how it can become a worthwhile resource to marketers moving forward.

First up, a report from AdWeek suggests that, based on findings from the Digital Content NewFronts, vertical video is becoming a higher accepted medium on Snapchat. The site reports that the best-performing shows and ads are ones that are originally shot in a vertical format, are viewed nine times more frequently than horizontal ones, and are more often viewed to completion.

Medium has similar findings, stating that one of the reasons for this is that consumers hold their phones vertically 90 percent of the time anyway, not just due to Snapchat, but also other socially viable applications like Meerkat and Periscope. “This behavior is becoming even more normalized as more and more content is being shot natively in portrait mode,” says the article. “So rather than having to constantly switch between how we naturally hold our phones (vertically) to the way most media has traditionally been formatted (horizontally), users are now able to enjoy content the way they’ve secretly always wanted to — upright, up close and personal.”

Jon Steinberg, CEO at Daily Mail, stated, “The whole notion of turning your phone on its side to watch a video is awkward and a bit of a hassle.”

The report also estimates that over 700 million vertical photos and videos are shared on Snapchat a day  —data that is backed by Business Insider.

Clickz had its own say on the matter. Rob Norman, chief digital officer for GroupM, said: “In order to be successful, all media and all advertising has to have the most comfortable and organic experience. There is an inherent logic that in a portrait-style device, the content would be oriented in a portrait-style way. This comes to the very heart of the real meaning of native, so advertising has always worked best when it’s formatted and native to the device or medium in which it’s presented.”

AT&T is aware of the success of the format, adding the original program SnapperHero to the Snapchat lineup, and using a vertical format all the way through. “Visual elements that artfully play into the functionality of the platform will always perform best, which is why vertical video was an obvious choice for this project,” said Liz Nixon, director of emerging and social media marketing for AT&T Mobility. “Once we set off in that direction, we planned our shots, edges and storylines to depend on every pixel available to us on Snapchat in a way we wouldn’t have for a square or traditionally horizontal film.”

It’s a risk that paid off, with a 73 percent average completion rate for the episodes posted in the program. “When SnapperHero launched, Snapchat still required viewers to press the screen to keep videos playing, so we were impressed not only by the completion rate but also by the fact that so many viewers were willing to remain engaged throughout the episode to keep the story open,” said Nolan. “However, it’s difficult to say whether engagement can be directly attributed to the videos being vertical, but it certainly didn’t seem to have a negative impact.”

Speaking about the format, Norman added, “It’s not exactly the riddle of the sphinx, but what vertical video tells us in a macro sense is that, increasingly, there will be demand for assets that are native to the platforms they run on and the vendors who run on those platforms. This is how a physical format change that just amplifies the need for platform and vendor specific creative.”

DigiDay also commented on the matter, explaining that the time to take vertical video seriously has officially come. “That’s because vertical video delivers better results than standard video in environments where people tend to hold their devices upright,” the article reads. It also noted that having to turn your device to view a particular video comes across as “totally stupid,” when it should be more organic based on how someone holds their phone.

A number of advertisers, aside from AT&T, have managed to create effective vertical video assets for Snapchat, including Burger King with its wildly successful Chicken Fries, as well as brands like Macy’s and Spike.

Steinberg did admit that not everything works in the format, but it’s still successful. “I don’t know if I’d want to watch Avatar vertically. But I’m obsessed with Periscope, and I’ve watched Periscopes for 20 or 30 minutes and not had any problem.”

“It is easier and more comfortable to move the eyes horizontally than vertically, especially up,” said Dr. Eli Peli, a professor of ophthalmology for Harvard Medical School. “However, neither of these facts will have an impact on comfort or safety of using a vertical presentation on a smartphone. The visual field extent of a smartphone held at arm length is very small. The vertical extent of the field is much wider than this, as is the ability to move the eyes and scan vertically.”

Steinberg also added, “We need to be doing vertical video from an editorial standpoint as well. We’re just as responsible.”

ReelSEO has some vertical video statistics, with Meeker breaking down the types of content that people watch. As you can see from the chart below, people are spending several hours a day watching video on their mobile devices, even more than they were back in 2008. That means more opportunities to view vertical video.

ResizedImage600447 Chart

Vertical video advantages, summed up:

  • More comfortable viewing, since it can be easier to scan in vertical than horizontal
  • More supporting apps, like Snapchat and Periscope, are making more use of vertical video
  • More original programming being considered for the format

It’s probably going too far to say that vertical video will soon replace the standard horizontal format, since YouTube doesn’t have vertical viewing support yet, but it’s bound to keep growing in popularity as more people use mobile devices to watch video content.

Image source

What ESports Viewers Are Looking For

It is becoming increasingly clear that fans enjoy watching eSports as much as they enjoy traditional sports. eSports has taken off in a big way, with companies like Activision Blizzard expecting its audience to grow to 300 million viewers by 2017.

Research conducted by Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR) in July 2015 adds some additional insights on eSports viewers. The report, which analyzes viewership of multiplayer battle arena (MOBA) games like League of Legends, shooter games like Call of Duty, and fighting games like Street Fighter, found that the majority viewers (47 percent) spend around 1-4 hours a week watching eSports. Meanwhile, 20 percent spend less than an hour watching, which is roughly the same as those who watch 5-9 hours a month (19 percent).

Another big takeaway is how most viewers primarily watch to see highly skilled players at work. This is followed closely by how viewers are looking for ways to improve their own game. The least popular reasons for watching eSports include supporting a specific team or player.

[a]listdaily speaks to Patrick Walker, Vice President of Insights and Analytics at EEDAR, to discuss what a typical viewer might be like, and how to tap into eSports branding.


How would you describe the typical eSports viewer

The typical eSports viewer is a young adult male who is very passionate about the game they are viewing (and video games in general). However, it is important to remember that, as with any large population, there are many viewers who fall outside the typical demographic. There are also a large number of female and older eSports viewers. The common thread across these viewers is that they are very passionate about the game they are viewing and likely are hardcore players as well. Importantly for advertisers, eSports viewers are a high spending demographic with broad interests, but critically, are hard to reach through traditional advertising channels. eSports viewers are less likely to watch live traditional sports and regular broadcast cable than other people their age.

How engaged are eSports viewers relative to other mediums

eSports viewing engagement is not significantly different from other mediums when viewed through the lens of viewing time per week. The thing that differentiates eSports viewers from viewers in many other mediums is the broad range of engagement touchpoints. eSports is similar to traditional sports in that people can engage with the sport (i.e. game) as a professional, amateur, fantasy player, viewer, funder, etc.

However, because the sports are actually owned IP by the publishers, the full range of experiences are more tightly integrated through the eSports supply chain. So, for example, a player of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive can play in their own amateur league during the week, make in-game purchases that fund a major tournament, place a bet on a fantasy with in-game currency, and then view the tournament with the chance of getting in-game rewards for . This is a 360 degree level of engagement with incentivized participation at each level that is not seen in other mediums, including traditional sports.

How big is the eSports audience right now, and do you think it can grow beyond the core gaming community

More than 100 million people worldwide will view an eSport in 2015, so the global audience is already quite large. eSports and highly engaged (i.e. core) gaming are heavily correlated. A certain level of game knowledge is required to fully enjoy the strategy and teamwork on display when watching high-level players. The natural path for players to develop this game knowledge is to play the game as an amateur, especially because many of these games are Free-to-Play. eSports and core gaming will be heavily tied together for the near future, as eSports will have to become much more mainstream before new viewers are learning game mechanics through the viewing experience rather than through gameplay. However, the idea of “core” should be thought of as a spectrum rather than a black and white term, and there is no doubt that eSports is growing rapidly by broadening the appeal to game players of all skill levels.

Activision Blizzard’s Mike Sepso stated that eSports viewers “spend twice as much on peripherals, and 30 percent more on hardware and software than players that don’t watch.” For those viewers who are engaged gamers, to what can we attribute the influence of these purchases

It is possible that Mike Sepso is referencing a May study by EEDAR that found exactly this spend difference between viewers and non-viewers. One of the reasons that the eSports viewer is so valuable is that advertisers know that the viewer is likely to be heavily engaged in the game they are viewing. Unsurprisingly, EEDAR research on the peripheral market suggests that competitive players are willing to spend more on high-end peripherals. This is similar to the highly attractive audience who watches golf on television, as sports networks are able to command a premium for advertising because golf viewers are a high-spend audience that purchases a product endemic to the viewing experience.

The effect of non-endemic advertising (such as the Coca-Cola sponsorship of League of Legends) on consumer purchase is a much less obvious relationship. However, research has long shown that exposure to a brand through mediums like television has a powerful influence on purchase habits. The important research finding is that eSports players are young adults that have a broad range of interests and higher spending power than the general public. This makes eSports players a valuable demographic for mainstream advertisers, especially because young adults are getting harder and harder to reach through traditional advertising channels. We believe that advertisers realizing the broad appeal of the eSports gamer will be one of the major drivers in making eSports more mainstream.

What of your findings was most surprising to you

We were surprised at just how deeply eSports viewers are engaged in multiple ways with the product. We expected that eSports viewers play the product more and spend more on the product at a higher rate than non-viewers. But eSports viewers are participating in the product in many new ways. Almost a third of these viewers have bought in-game microtransactions related to eSports and over 20 percent have actually purchased an event ticket and attended a live show.

Lately, there’s been a lot of brand interest in the eSports space. Does the increased interest in eSports line up to you with the expectations that brands have of the eSports viewer or event attendee What should they know

Effective advertising starts with a good understanding of the consumer and a strategy for the fit between the product and the brand. The strategy for an endemic brand will be different than the strategy of a non-endemic one in terms of brand placement and messaging. Advertisers are still figuring out what strategies work best for different types of branding. For example, is it better to sponsor teams, players, or events At this point, consumer research is an important part of the strategy. For example, our research suggests that endemic sponsors are better off with brand placements that are closer to the talent, such as players and teams, while non-endemic sponsors get more bang from maximizing exposure regardless of the placement.

How ‘Red vs. Blue’ Is Hitting Television and Beyond

The Red vs. Blue episodic web show originally premiered on 2003, featuring graphics used from the game Halo combined with a irreverent sense of humor. Created by Rooster Teeth, the series quickly skyrocketed in popularity, leading to 13 seasons and five mini-series spin-offs, making it the longest running web series of all time.

With the recent release of Halo 5: Guardians, Red vs. Blue is as popular as ever, and the El Rey Network (founded by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez) has announced that all thirteen seasons will be turned into 95 half-hour television episodes. The Red vs. Blue TV show premiers on El Rey starting December 5th, with new episodes airing every weekend.

[a]listdaily talks to Rooster Teeth Founder and CEO Matt Hullum to discuss how Red vs. Blue got turned into an animated TV show and what the future might hold for the series.

What led up to this deal to broadcast Red vs. Blue on the El Rey Network

We’ve been friendly with Robert and Toublemaker Studios for quite a long time. In fact, some of the offices that are in our building in Stage 5 were actually old sets were actually old From Dusk Till Dawn TV show sets. So, we’re neighbors that occasionally help each other out, and we’ve been talking about the things we’ve been wanting to do for a while. In one of these conversations, we found out that Robert was a big fan of Red vs. Blue.

We’d always wanted to do something with Red vs. Blue and TV, and we’ve been brainstorming ways to use our episodes for TV viewing – a way that would make sense and everyone would really like. The series fits well with Robert and El Rey’s sense of humor, and the action fits well with the network.

Red vs. Blue is best known as a series of digital shorts. How do they translate into half hour shows

We talked about how we would bring Red vs. Blue to TV. The episodes were originally web episodes with lengths that are all over the map. But we wanted to do it, so we collaborated on a fun way to put the story together in a way that makes sense for a TV presentation. The small length episodes were together to form a full half-hour show. We’re really happy with how it turned out, and it gives you a new perspective on the show.

There were some places where things ended a little short, and we didn’t want to extend it in an awkward way, so we added additional material to flesh things out. So, fans will get a little extra along with a new presentation that feels more than just stitching stuff together.

How do you think the television show will help grow the Red vs. Blue audience

It’s interesting because we’ve been on the web for so long – this is our 13th year – and we’ve never really done much with traditional media. Now, doing several traditional media projects in a row. We have a Red vs. Blue book (Red vs. Blue: The Ultimate Fan Guide), published by Harper Collins. The TV show premieres on El Rey in December. Then in January, we have our movie, Lazer Team, coming out in theaters.

We’ve never really taken the time to present ourselves to audiences that are focused on traditional media, and have always lived in this internet space. So, I think we’ll find a lot of new audience, and we’re happy if they watch us on El Rey, in theaters, or through books, but we’d love it if they’d visit us on too, or download the app.

How have fans reacted to having the web series turned into a TV show

Really excited. There was a lot of, “Yes! About time!” I think that was the biggest takeaway I saw from the comments. I think that even fans who have seen the episodes a hundred times will enjoy watching them in this new format and get something slightly different out of it.

We’ve tried to make Red vs. Blue and some of our other shows available in a lot of different ways, with different viewing experiences. I think you get something a little different with each way it’s presented. I’m really hopeful that our fans will watch the show and feel something different about the characters or stories.

If the broadcast conversion is popular, will there be plans to create a dedicated longer form show

We would definitely be open to that. Right now, our focus is on our platforms and digital delivery, such as our new app, which came out earlier this year. It has a ton of great features, including exclusive content for paid subscribers. We do about 40 hours of content a week.

So, as long as it doesn’t take us away from doing what we know and love in the online space, then we would love to do more with El Rey or other traditional media channels. I guess we’ll see how these three months go. If they all do great, then we’ll start making sequels to all of them.

What would you say has been the key to Red vs. Blue‘s success

Red vs. Blue has gone through a ton of changes in terms of style and presentation. We’ve used in-game content, done a lot of original animation, and a lot of different characters over the years. But I think the one thing that’s remained consistent is how we’ve focused on top quality writing. We wanted each episode feel really fresh, with really strong dialogue, and fun characters.

I hope that’s what people take away from the show. That’s the kind of thing that not only stands the test of time, but also withstands changes in format and platforms. Good writing is good whether you’re watching on your smartphone, big screen TV, or movie theater.

Xbox One Launches Whimsical Campaign Starring Martin Starr

Martin Starr is a man with many roles in Hollywood namely as the resident grouchy, know-it-all computer programmer in HBO’s hit show Silicon Valley.

The jack-of-all-tech-trades actor, who also has star roles in Freaks and Geeks and Knocked Up, is now delving into the video game world as he, Microsoft and Ayzenberg have launched an integrated campaign to drive awareness to Xbox One s newest features. (Editor’s note: [a]listdaily is the media arm of the Ayzenberg Group.)

Through his brand of dry humor, the self-described profoundly underrated actor takes sole ownership for the innovations behind the platform’s redesign of the Xbox One Experience, Backward Compatibility and playing any Xbox game on a Windows 10 computer connected to WiFi. Earlier this week, Microsoft unveiled the first 104 Xbox One backward compatibility games, featuring such titles as the complete Gears of War catalog, Assassin s Creed IIFallout 3Borderlands and Castle Crashers.

In a series of spots, the 32-year-old stoic-faced star unapologetically takes credit for the advancements Microsoft was responsible for. Andy Mitchell, Ayzenberg s associate creative director who worked as the copywriter and editor for the collaboration, sought Starr because he’s from a different breed of prototypical pitchman.

“His characters are usually dry, intelligent and seem like they d much be gamers at heart,” Mitchell said. “He could communicate the latest and greatest innovations to come to Xbox but do so in his unique, humorous way. He has a gift with coming up with comedic gold on the spot.” 

The incredibly popular Backward Compatibility feature should be a welcome treat for fans this holiday season.

If this is a dream come true for you, Starr has two words for you:  You’re welcome.

Mike Sepso On Activision Blizzard’s ESports Division

Activision Blizzard surprised the market at the company’s annual BlizzCon convention at the Anaheim Convention Center last week by giving more detail around their grand plan for the new dedicated eSports division to be headed up by ex-ESPN CEO Steve Bornstein and Major League Gaming (MLG) founder Mike Sepso. 

[a]listdaily spoke Mike Sepso to talk about his views on the evolution of eSports since he co-founded Major League Gaming 13 years ago.

“The most important difference between now and then is that eSports is very much at the core of the game development process now,” said Sepso.

He also outlined the role for Activision Blizzard’s new eSports division in the ecosystem where he says “Everything is on the table,” working on developing eSports around games from other publishers and new innovative, non-disruptive advertising formats.

“As we start develop Activision Blizzard Media Network, part of what we’ll be doing is coming up with innovative ways of using that engagement as an advertising channel that is not disruptive to the experience.”

esports reach

‘Star Wars’ Fandom Awakens Everywhere

There’s no doubting how Star Wars is the biggest franchise this holiday season. The Force Awakens, which hits theaters on December 18th, is already looking to be a tremendous box office hit. On top of that, various promotions are taking advantage of fandom and excitement, and are ramping up during the final month before the film’s release.

Months after announcing various promotional partners for the film (including Covergirl, Max Factor and Subway), the Wall Street Journal has broken down just how deep marketing is getting for tie-ins with The Force Awakens. It’s a double-win for companies, as they can appeal to both new fans of the franchise and older ones that have grown up with previous films, with the last being 2005’s Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.

For promotion tied in with The Force Awakens, Disney moved up the timetable for products, which was normally six to eight weeks ahead of the film. It went a full 15 weeks beforehand, with figures, toys and other items related to it. “We could have gone even earlier,” said Josh Silverman, executive vice president of global licensing for Disney.

Force Friday, as the event was called, was a huge success for the company, but merely the beginning, as more waves of toys and other products are being planned. One will come in time with the movie’s launch, while another will follow sometime in 2016, potentially with its home release.

It’s a plan that Disney is taking through its paces, giving retailers the necessary time to stock inventory on popular toys and other items, according to Steph Wissink, managing director for Piper Jaffray. She believes retail sales of these items could easily top $1.5 billion upon the movie’s release.

Star Wars will likely be much bigger than (Disney’s hit animated film) Frozen,” she said. “With Star Wars, you have that adult collector who reaches far beyond the traditional toy demographic, which is generally up to age 10.”

Richard Barry, chief merchandising officer for Toys ‘R Us Inc., added “This is going to be a very significant business in the first half of next year as kids watch the movie multiple times when it is distributed digitally.”

This is a turn-around from the way The Phantom Menace was marketed in 1999, when animated character Jar Jar Binks was pushed heavily (much to the dismay of die-hard fans). However, Disney is still pushing forward with a new plan. Silverman stated, “We’re not looking at that, we’re looking forward to the new film and the new stories they’re telling.”

There are a number of products that are appealing to Star Wars fans this holiday season, including the following:

Sphero BB-8 Droid: Even though it retails for $149.99 and features a character we know little about, the Sphero BB-8 has been a massive hit in terms of sales, with many retailers selling out. “Demand has far exceeded anything we predicted,” said Ian Bernstein, company co-founder and chief technical officer.

Disney Infinity 3.0: Star Wars: Initially released back in August, Disney Infinity 3.0 successfully revamped its formula around the Star Wars universe, involving both classic characters from the original films and new favorites from shows like Star Wars: Rebels. Its popularity will pick back up this December, as it’s likely to push advertising for its new The Force Awakens playset and figurines, which will release on December 18th, the same date as the film.

Star Wars: Battlefront: For gamers who prefer a more “mature” side of Star Wars, the return of the Battlefront franchise, where teams face off against one another in multiplayer battles, should be a welcome sight. The beta, which ran last month on consoles and PC, was a huge success and drew in over 9.5 million players, making it the most popular video game beta in history. The game will also include a free Battle of Jakku downloadable content pack, which ties in with The Force Awakens. Additionally, Sony Computer Entertainment of America has made Battlefront a large part of its marketing, even releasing a TV commercial where an exec finds himself inspired by his more imaginative self, asked to hop aboard an X-Wing and defend against the Empire.

Hasbro Toys: As it’s done in the past with previously released toys tying in with the Star Wars universe, Hasbro has gone full throttle with its figure and toy line-up, with everything from the classic small figures (like the ones fans grew up with) to larger items, like a Millennium Falcon playset. It’s a double win, as it appeals to both collectors of the older toys and newcomers that want to start a collection all their own. Expect marketing to pick up dramatically closer to the film’s release, including in-store promotions, potential TV/online advertising and more.

Duracell: The popular battery brand has its own Star Wars promotion, mainly through a lucrative TV campaign that features kids battling in an epic Star Wars fashion with lightsabers and other toys, using the power of the battery to bring their toys to life. After all, The Force isn’t quite as impressive in real life without batteries.

The Star Wars marketing frenzy expands well beyond what’s listed here. Female beauty products from Max Factor and Cover Girl released limited edition make-up products. Smuggler’s Bounty, a subscription box service run by Funko, has a custom package that includes t-shirts, toy masks, voice changers, and other collectibles that fans won’t be able to get enough of. Some retailers even have devoted Star Wars sections in their store, such as Target, which stocks over 600 items ranging from action figures to pizza cutters.

Wal-Mart is also devoting a great deal of attention to Battlefront this coming weekend, giving shoppers the chance to play the game before its release, as well as offering a variety of products, including an exclusive Disney Infinity system bundle for PlayStation 4.

Indeed, the Force is strong with the new Star Wars push. The movie itself has a fantastic trailer, which has drawn millions of views since its debut.

The Force Awakens arrives in theaters December 18th.

Companies Seeing Double With Instagram and Facebook Ads

With Instagram continuing to find success with its ad campaigns, more companies are finding that advertising on both its site and its partner Facebook could “double flank” consumers in terms of outreach, according to AdWeek.

Instagram has stated that it’s working with 100 companies across the world to expanding its ad program, 41 of which are specifically picked to help bring in additional advertising business to the site. The general goal is to improve planning and buying processes, along with boosting consumer insights and faster content-creation tools.

With that, there seems some interest in advertising across both sites simultaneously, in the hope of picking up viewership by consumers. A number of companies already advertise on Facebook, including Adobe, Salesforce, 4C, Spredfast, Hootsuite and AdParlor, among others, so converting to a dual-site plan could make social campaigns a bit easier.

“We anticipate growth with the extended reach into Instagram leveraging Facebook’s powerful targeting options,” said Monica Lay, senior product marketing manager for Adobe. “Many are still in test and learn phase, particularly around direct response, so it’s hard to quantify and estimate at this early stage.”

Eric Stahl, senior vice president of produce marketing for Salesforce Marketing Cloud, added, “Advertising on either Instagram or Facebook should not be thought of as part of a silo’d social-media budget, but as a core component of the advertising budget, especially as customers spend more and more of their time on mobile devices.”

Aaron Goldman, chief marketing officer for 4C, also had something to say about the program’s potential. “Having a streamlined solution to adapt content from one platform to another will be essential for advertisers who will want to achieve the most value from their assets and manage campaigns at scale.”

Considering both sites get a lot of views, especially on the mobile front, a program like this would clearly make sense to the right partners. “It’s hard to say that democratizing access to Instagram ads to both developers and businesses will not grow ad spend,” said Zaz Floreani, senior director of business development for Spredfast.

Instagram has already noted that one in five minutes spent on mobile devices is spent on either site, so that certainly goes a long way in terms of getting eyes-on with an ad. “Instagram provides access to a very large, very engaged audience,” a spokesperson told AdWeek. “The fact that you can use the same rich Facebook targeting criteria on Instagram will make it massively effective for advertisers looking to get their products or services in front of exactly the right people at the right time.”

With that, the growth potential for such a plan is clearly staggering. “Brands and agencies are still exploring where Instagram fits into their overall marketing mix, but we can say nearly everyone we’ve spoken to is interested to give it a test drive and see how it works for their business,” said Paul Van Winssen, director of operations and client services for AdParlor.

Now it’s just a matter of seeing what companies are interested. With all eyes on Instagram and Facebook, the two pronged approach is sure to get a ton of views.

‘The Walking Dead’ Creator Scares PewDiePie On YouTube Red

PewDiePie is so popular on YouTube that it’s almost scary. Now, he’s ready to take some scares for himself in a new project for YouTube’s premium Red channel.

The project is called Scare PewDiePie, according to Forbes, and it is being produced by Skybound Entertainment, the company that was co-founded by Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman.

The show will involve “real life horror games” that will put the popular YouTube star through his paces as he attempts to “survive.” His reactions will be recorded by an attached camera for all the world to see. These episodes should compliment some of PewDiePie’s scream-filled Let’s Play videos on the free-to-view YouTube very nicely. However, the producers promise that this show will be “taking things to the next level” in terms of getting a rise out of the superstar.

The trailer for the show is below, and gives you an idea of what PewDiePie (real name Felix Kjellberg) will go through.

The show is expected to be a huge draw for YouTube’s Red service, considering how PewDiePie has over 40 million subscribers.

Speaking with The Verge, Kirkman’s producing partner at Skybound, David Alpert, spoke about the project. “To be reductionist, he’s become famous by playing video games and getting scared. So what if we make those games real ” he explains regarding the concept. He considers it a reality prank show like Punk’d, but with the host getting more effect out of it than innocent targets. “How freaked out, how creeped out, how scared can we make him It was our goal to turn a human being into a pile of quivering jelly for our amusement.”

The trick was to produce content that PewDiePie wouldn’t see coming, which isn’t easy, since he’s a producer on the show. With that, a second “shadow” production team was sent in to produce the scares on the project. “It’s like a play within a play, where he thinks, ‘Okay, that was the production meeting.’ Great. Now we have the (real) production meeting,” Alpert continued. “So the guy that Mr. Pie thought was the director wasn’t actually the director, and we only told him that at the very end of the shoot.”

“YouTube is an amazing platform because it s reached out, has hundreds of millions of views; it s insane what it s been able to achieve. But it hasn t been harnessed or directed the way that we think of Netflix or HBO or Hulu, which is almost a top-down, organized system of programming,” said Alpert. “PewDiePie wouldn t exist off of YouTube. His rise, and the rise of YouTubers in general, is part of the fact that the platform just let you do what you wanted to do. So I feel like trying to do something a little more top-down and organized is on one hand, sort of anathema to the YouTube ethos.”

Kirkman added, “Scare PewDiePie is something that I think is fairly unique. There’s certainly been shows before that are prank shows, but to build a narrative around a single person the way we have with Felix Mr. Pie, sorry. The way that we’re able to stick with him exclusively, it’s almost like the pranks kind of roll into each other from episode to episode in some pretty interesting and complicated ways, that I don’t know that we necessarily would have been able to do on television.”

Recently, Kjellberg spoke out about the launch of YouTube Red stating that YouTube Red emerged as a reaction to ad-blocking activities of YouTube’s viewers. Surveying his own audience, he found that 40 percent of his own viewers regularly use ad-blocking software and showed that this wasn’t just devastating for YouTube’s creators, but for YouTube itself as well.

“Using Adblock doesn’t mean you’re clever and above the system. YouTube Red exist(s) because using Adblock has actual consequences,” he said.

Capcom Opens Themed Cafe For ‘Synergistic Promotion’ Of Games

Capcom Café featuring a Monster Hunter themed menu will open Nov. 20 at the Aeon Lake Town shopping mall in Japan, the organization announced. The café will provide food, décor and other items based on the Monster Hunter world. Its menu will change regularly in conjunction with new releases and special game events.

The Monster Hunter games, where players fight giant creatures for fun and sport, have become best-sellers for Capcom, procuring millions in sales in both Japan and the United States. With that, Capcom has capitalized on its success with a number of promotions, including a recent one that saw a popular Goliath roller coaster at the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park turned into a Monster Hunter ride.

Capcom plans to develop an entertainment space that incorporates retail with food-and-drink services,” the organization announced. “Based on their core strategy of Single Content Multiple Usage, they aim to communicate the appeal of their rich library of popular IPs at the café and create a synergistic promotional effect for their games; at the same time, in addition to their existing fan base they hope to attract a breadth of customers, including female and family demographics.

This isn’t the first time that Capcom has launched a game-themed eatery, since it also has a Resident Evil restaurant. However, this shows the immense growth of the Monster Hunter brand, which continues to do strong business, even though the series so far been limited to Nintendo consoles, and has not yet debuted on the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

Though it’s unlikely we’ll see such locations in the U.S, there’s always the potential possibility. Video game-based locales have become more popular in the U.S., mainly in the form of “barcades” (a combination bar and arcade) like Button Mash, The 1up and 82. That could inspire a company like Capcom to one day open a themed restaurant stateside.

It’s also likely that the Cafe may change theme, depending on forthcoming game releases. “Moving forward, the game on which the theme is based will be updated every few months, bringing along with it a variety of displays, a new menu, limited edition goods, as well as new information,” the company said in a prepared statement.