Could The Original Content ‘Bubble’ Burst This Year?

There’s a growing demand for original content from networks, particularly streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. While these offerings are winning awards and otherwise being praised, FX Networks CEO John Landgraf still believes that the “content bubble”could burst through overabundance.

Landgraf spoken on the subject before, coining the term “peak TV” as he discussed how there is “simply too much television” when it comes to viewing original programming.

Following a report that 209 scripted series aired in 2015, Landgraf corrected that number to 412 (via AdWeek). “Counting television series is like counting lemmings,” Landgraf said. “Hopefully they won’t all run off a cliff and plunge to their deaths in the ocean.”

That count will continue to rise in 2016, coming closer to that “peak TV” figure he discussed, which could lead to a drop-off soon after. “I think there’s a reasonable prospect there will be fewer in ’17 than there are in ’16. We’ll get to 450 shows, and then there will be a contraction down to 350 or something like that,” Landgraf expects. “There’s still going to be a lot of TV for the foreseeable future.”

While these programs offer plenty of unique content for viewers to tune in to, Landgraf believes that “from a business standpoint and increasingly from a consumer standpoint, it’s harder to launch shows. I think it’s harder for consumers to see good shows. There’s too much of everything in many ways. There’s not enough human attention to go around.” With that, “the U.S. television ecosystem is in a period of dynamic and rapid change.”

Landgraf believes that content could be surrounded by the economic bubble, and considering that original programming is crucial to marketers when it comes to getting the attention of audience, that’s a big thing to consider. “There’s something a little wonky, and if you really dug under the economics of every business making scripted television shows and every show itself, they wouldn’t all be profitable. There are more shows being made than can be sustained economically.”

Even though Netflix has seen a benefit in rising stock from its cavalcade of original shows, Landgraf noted that it “doesn’t make any significant profit” and that “something has got to give eventually in that regard.” (He also noted how the company went from producing no shows three years ago to 100 different shows this year.)

However, just because there’s a “bubble” quickly filling up doesn’t mean it’s about to burst, as some feel that it’s actually an advantage putting various pieces of content on the market. Nate Hayden, vice president of originals and branded content for AOL, recently posted a guest blog on The Wrap discussing its future potential. “Yes, there is a lot of video out there right now, muddying the waters, but out of that mud grow beautiful flowers — some of the best content we’ve ever seen. At the same time, it is inevitable that this content bubble will burst,” he explained.

He then broke down some ways for creators to “stay afloat” during this time, noting that risk plays a big factor when it comes to putting something new together. “These programs push real boundaries and tell the stories of the marginalized, under-represented groups. They breach tough topics and revel in ruffling feathers. Amazon’s Transparent pushes the envelope and has earned a dedicated viewer base and critical acclaim not just because of its timeliness and storytelling, but also for its fearless tackling of previously-untouched issues surrounding gender identity and society’s collective (mis)understandings of the transgendered community,” he said.

On the broadcast TV side, The CW’s underdog Jane the Virgin survived the muddy waters because it wasn’t afraid to bring a Spanish-speaking family of flawed women to prime time and tackle political issues like immigration reform. Audiences have reacted to this risk-taking very positively. If you want to survive a burst of the content bubble, consider the risks when it comes to whose stories you are telling, and how you are choosing to tell them.”

Digital programming also provides the opportunity “to take risks in how we distribute that content. It’s become obvious that digital has destroyed the concept of “primetime” or even set schedules in general. It means the consumer gets to choose when, where and how they interact with the content. It also means that we have to adapt, analyze and predict these patterns, and use that understanding to get creative with our windowing and scheduling strategies.” Certainly food for thought for not only creators, but how marketers put together campaigns to give this content the proper exposure it deserves.

Hayden concluded, “With so many options, it is astounding that we keep repeating ourselves. No one can watch all 400 of the scripted shows produced in 2015, but that doesn’t mean they were a waste and that we can’t learn from them. Quality will always win over quantity, but we also should celebrate the advances that we have made in scripted during this boom while being ready for the reckoning that looms. The bubble will inevitably burst, but in its aftermath the survivors will be those with the strongest content that will push us to evolve even further.”

Adding some fuel to the conversation, News Corp. co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch recently spoke with Variety on the subject, expressing, “It is a golden age, and there is a huge amount of choice,” he said. ”I think that as long as it is fragmented in straight delivery, where you have thousands of channels, whether it is linear broadcasting or over the top, whether it is Netflix or Hulu, or obviously on cable television, there is going to remain a demand for high-quality content. So I wouldn’t personally characterize that as a bubble at all. Consumers are demanding choice and that is going to continue for as long as we can see.”

For now, consumers are enjoying the variety of shows. It’s certainly a high point for original programming, even with “bubble” lining.

How Devoted Snapchat Users Work The App

Despite some hesitation at first, Snapchat has become an immense success for both brands and users alike. But to what extent are people actually using it? Nearly 9,000 Snaps are shared by users every second, while around 54 percent of the userbase take advantage of the app on a daily basis, according to stats from Newscred originally published on Social Times.

Marketers are already planning big things for Snapchat in time for Super Bowl coverage, with 30 percent reporting that they intend to use the platform for marketing campaigns surrounding the big game.

When it comes to engagement, however, not all users are taking advantage of intended features by marketers, as 23 percent state that they don’t engage in live stories on the app; 54 percent never look at content on the Discover page and 42 percent don’t use branded filters to any extent with their snaps. Also, 32 percent state that they use it around two to five times a week.

And while ads may look like a big draw for the service, that isn’t always the case. The report shows that 87 percent never buy things they see in Snapchat ads, while 11 percent only “rarely” buy. Only 2 percent “sometimes” make purchases.

As for celebrities, they aren’t as big a draw either, with 64 percent of those surveyed stating they don’t follow any celebrities on Snapchat, while 34 percent only follow “a few.”

The big features for the app appears to be sharing of personal content, and marketers may still be trying to find a way to to effectively tap into that.


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The Sundance Film Festival Showcases the Fantastic Future of Virtual Reality

It’s no secret that both Hollywood and independent film artists are fast embracing virtual reality technology, evidenced by movie tie-ins like The Mockingjay Experience, along with other brands looking for creative ways to us VR. Publications like The New York Times has taken advantage of the emerging technology by creating a set of documentary VR films, and it looks like the future is looking bright. June pre-orders for the Oculus Rift headset quickly sold out, despite the relatively high price point, while 5 million Google Cardboard units have shipped since June 2014.

However, the potential of virtual reality was probably showcased best at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, which is featuring 30 virtual reality exhibits. Among some of the most impressive being an experience based on the best-selling Leviathan trilogy, written by Scott Westerfeld. In this sci-fi experience, which pairs both virtual and augmented reality, users are invited to put on Oculus Rift headsets and step onto the Leviathan gondola, part of a gigantic genetically fabricated flying sperm whale, as it makes its way from London to Moscow. There’s no better way to understand the impossible than to be part of it.

Although it’s hard to top a giant flying whale, that hasn’t stopped others from experimenting with new experiences. Lucasfilm showed off the Holo-Cinema at Sundance, which lets fans step into the Star Wars universe to explore Jakku and check out a three-dimensional C3PO and BB-8. Eventually, this technology will allow users to have an Star Wars themed augmented reality experience from the comfort of their own homes.

John Gaeta, executive creative director of new media at the lab, said (via The Wall Street Journal) that the developing technology could be used to build “portals” that explore whole worlds or subplots of the Star Wars universe only hinted at in film. Gaeta also adds that he expects augmented-reality to become prevalent in three to five years and mainstream for all sizes of movies in five to ten years. Furthermore, the team isn’t is beholden to the Star Warsfranchise, and is developing experiences for other filmmakers.

Other New Frontiers exhibits at Sundance explore diverse topics that include the exploration of empathy and covering police violence. However, they all suggest that the immersive nature of virtual and augmented reality allow brands to engage with audiences at a deeper level. With a recent report from Goldman Sachs stating that virtual reality market could reach $80 billion by 2025, there’s a lot to be excited about.

To further take advantage of the momentum the technology is gathering, Samsung announced at the Sundance Film Festival that it will soon open its own virtual reality movie studio in New York City. Although little is known about the studio’s goals, it will no doubt be dedicated to creating experiences that help promote the Gear VR headset that launched last fall. Oculus VR, which partnered with Samsung to develop the Gear VR, announced a subsidiary named Oculus Story Studio at least year’s Sundance Film Festival, with the goal of creating more VR movies.

Those who can’t attend the Festival this year can still experience 13 of its VR films through theSundance Film Festival VR app using Google Cardboard or Gear VR. The app, in and of itself, is a testament to the potential reach of virtual reality and how brands can use it to engage with users on a new level.

FaceIt: Brands Should Start Treating ESports as a Separate Vertical

One of the fastest-growing competitive online gaming platforms continues to have one helluva month to begin 2016. FaceIt has secured a $15 million Series A funding, Niccolò Maisto, founder and CEO of the London-based eSports startup, told [a]listdaily.

Fresh from enjoying a partnership with Turner Sports and WME | IMG in which they hosted qualifying rounds for the Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Championship – specifically under the bright lights of the Consumer Electronics Show – the platform announced it’s received venture-capital funding from firms Anthos Capital, Index Ventures and United Ventures.

Maisto said the company will use the money to add game titles to the platform, build out the technology and expand operations with the opening of U.S. headquarters in Santa Monica, California.

“The key to FaceIt is the community and technology we’ve developed, and to keep supporting it with additional game integrations, features and the reliability that’s expected,” Maisto said. “We have benefits to players to make it easier for them to compete, and that speaks to the user experience we offer.”

FaceIt allows gamers to play in leagues for prizes through automated tournament management and matchmaking technology. Their software development kit allows game creators to integrate tournaments into their eSports titles. They previously received a $2 million seed funding last summer.

“With an extremely strong, passionate and driven team led by Niccolò, a rapidly growing community of players and tournament organizers, robust technology and deep relationships throughout the industry, FaceIt is well-positioned to be the definitive platform across competitive gaming,” said Alex Birns of the private equity firm Anthos Capital. “The eSports market is expected to undergo massive growth over the next several years, and FaceIt has the potential to shape how developers, players and brands participate in and experience the industry.”

Ben Holmes of Index Ventures says FaceIt has been successful in building partnerships with game publishers, media companies and other industry leaders. “The company is helping developers engage more deeply with their player base by offering an easy to integrate competitive layer into their games. FaceIt is emerging as a major player in the competitive gaming ecosystem.”

Niccolò Maisto joined [a]listdaily for an exclusive interview to discuss the growing eSports industry, and a FaceIt platform that boasts hundreds of tournament organizers and over 3.5 million users.

What were the opportunities, challenges and learning experiences with partnering with Turner at CES?

Having companies like Turner and WME | IMG that come from traditional industries and enter the eSports ecosystem is great. It’s going to help the growth. It validates our concept of having a mix of eSports capability and professionalism, which is something that eSports has been lacking because it’s very community driven. With our blend of people coming from eSports and traditional industries, that’s very much in our DNA.

How will big-name corporations enable and empower eSports moving forward? 

It’s something that helps a lot in order to get mainstream attention, and from brands. If you look at the industry in the last couple of years, it has grown a lot, but it came from a place where it was a cheap industry. There weren’t any financial resources to use. Today, it’s changed quite a bit. I think it’s mutually beneficial for the ecosystem as long as it’s done in a respectful way, because we have to remember that the community is the most important piece to the puzzle. It’s important for brands themselves. It’s a fast-growing target, and very hard to reach. It can not only open an additional acquisition and advertising channel, but they can also start targeting this demographic and vertical as a completely different one with its own special needs.


Why is it important to be connected to your community? 

Community is the key of eSports, and what differentiates it from traditional sports – eSports is something that was born by community. It’s about taking a game beyond the session, and making it part of a lifestyle, building social connections, interactions and friendships. That’s how eSports basically grows. If you look at if from a game publisher or developer point of view, this is extremely important because it’s something that increases retention. Additionally, it’s an acquisition channel for them. ESports events are easy ways to attract large user bases.

How would do you describe the FaceIt community?

We’re very much a global company. Europe and North America are our two main regions. Europe is slightly more dominant, but North America is the fastest growing. Our demographic is ages 16-to-32, it really depends on the game. I would describe it as a hard-to-access demographic because they tend to not watch TV. They spend their time either playing games, or watching streams or digital platforms.

How is FaceIt differentiating itself from other similar tournament platforms?

The first thing is the user experience we offer, and the scale we’re at. If we compare ourselves to competitive platforms, there is no one else that ever managed and engaged the user base at scale. We have over 3.5 million people visiting FaceIt every month and that’s because we’ve managed to create what I call our ‘secret sauce’ around how to engage and how to target the players, and how to make sure they spend time in the competitions. One way is by offering brands ‘branded competitions.’ Our case studies show there is a consistent, 30 percent-plus uplift in brand awareness. If you compare it to traditional advertising, this format is less intrusive; gamers are not blinded. We’ve previously done this with Red Bull, the movie John Wick and a few European betting companies.

How can traditional brands leverage eSports to reach their target audiences?

They don’t necessarily need to change their business model, or change their products. But they should start treating it as a separate vertical. There are not many ways to reach this audience, and it’s only beginning. We’re one of them. So is Twitch. Running coordinating campaigns between eSports events, advertising on streaming platforms and branded competitions, for example, could be a good way to target the audience.

Your background is in investment banking. What drew you into eSports? 

The first thing I needed to understand was that I needed to be humble enough to accept the fact that things were different. I was looking for someone that understood gaming better than myself. Co-founder Alessandro Avallone was introduced to me as a professional championship gamer. He’s been invaluable to the business since Day 1. … Getting in touch with the community is extremely important because it’s not that easy. For me, I went from dealing and advising on $1 billion deals to suddenly talking to a 16-year-old kid complaining about Internet connection.


How can investors capitalize on the eSports market?

It really depends on what you’re looking at, and what kind of investor you are. If you’re looking for technology, it’s really hard to find that in eSports. If you look at media, there are quite a few opportunities. Or the relevant teams that play themselves.

What kind of marketing and partnership opportunities does this afford for brands? 

Growth is definitely one opportunity. It’s an industry that’s went from being a niche to becoming a mainstream trend. Brands need to be properly positioned in order to know how to exploit it. But it’s not easy because it’s not a structured vertical. As this is happening, whoever jumps into the pool first is going to have the best opportunities.

The Up And Coming ESports Games of 2016

ESports is seeing a period of incredible growth, thanks to immensely popular games likeLeague of Legends, DOTA 2, and Counter-Strike. As the industry grows, so does the selection of games ready to step up and played as professional level competition.

Here up and coming games of 2016 that could expand eSports in new and unexpected ways.


Blizzard has practically become synonymous with eSports, given how StarCraft essentially started the industry back in the 90s. The company went on to make eSports history again when Heroes of the Storm became the first game to be televised as an eSport on ESPN 2. Even Hearthstone, Blizzard’s first effort at a collectible card game, became a popular eSport that brought mobile games onto the scene.

So, there’s a great deal of anticipation surrounding this year’s release of Overwatch, a competitive shooter that involves superpowered heroes and villains going head-to-head. The game’s cartoon aesthetic may help it stand out among existing eSports shooters, while its wide selection of characters and fast-paced gameplay make it ideal for competition.

Overwatch is currently in the closed beta phase, but fans got a taste of the game at last year’s Blizzcon, and the spectacular trailers have left them clamoring for more.


There was a lot of hope that last year’s Evolve would become an eSports hit for publisher 2K, considering how much fun the game is to watch, but the game never managed to grow into that potential. However, that means more opportunity for Battleborn to become an eSports hit this year.

Developed by Gearbox Software, famous for the Borderlands series, Battleborn is a team based shooter where players can select from a variety of characters, each with special abilities, to battle against one another. Its unique characters and plot is expected to draw in a large fan base, and that popularity could transform the game into an eSport.

Madden and FIFA

The debate over whether eSports are actually sports are bound to grow more confusing once the Madden and FIFA franchises enter the scene. Last fall, EA announced that it would form its own eSport league, similar to Activision Blizzard’s efforts. Among the first games up for the eSports treatment will be the best-selling Battlefield series, and the immensely popularMadden and FIFA sports games.

Eventually,’s traditional sports and eSports pages could grow to look strangely similar.


When Epic Games, creators of Unreal Tournament, announces development of a high action MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) game, then it’s time to sit up and take notice. InParagon, players choose from a variety of heroes with powers that can be enhanced using cards that are earned while playing.

Epic first revealed details about Paragon during the PlayStation Experience last December, accompanied by some stellar trailers that demonstrate the gorgeous power of the Unreal 4 Engine. If any game has the potential to reach Unreal levels of fame and popularity, Paragonwould be it.

Paladins: Champions of the Realm

Developed by Hi-Rez Studios, creators of the already successful eSport, Smite, Paladins could be some heavy competition to Paragon. The game, which is still in beta, involves teams of diverse characters with special abilities that are enhanced using collectible cards. Whether or not the game will grow as an eSport will largely depend on how popular the game is, and how well it balances between accessibility and challenge.


A little name dropping goes a long way when promoting LawBreakers, the debut game from legendary game designer Cliff Bleszinski (Cliffy B), who designed games like Gears of Warwhen working at Epic Games. His new video game company, Boss Key Productions, is hard at work on developing the mind-blowing, free-to-play sci-fi competitive shooter, LawBreakers, which will be published by Nexon.

Although little is known about the game outside some plot points, and how there’s gravity manipulation abilities, it’s already (by virtue of its pedigree) a game to keep an eye on.

Ark: Survival Evolved

Although the independently developed Ark: Survival Evolved is still in Early Access development, it already has high aspirations. Normally, no one would consider a sci-fi themed survival game, even one with tamable dinosaurs in it, a viable eSport. However, its developers want to change that perception by turning Ark into an eSport. In it, players will have to survive against the elements, hunger, wild creatures (including dinosaurs), special events like acid rain, in addition to each other.

It’s a tall order, but one that could change the way people think about survival games and eSports if successful.

Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare 2

Although EA will no doubt put Battlefield and its sports games at the forefront of its eSports efforts, there is always a chance things could take a turn for the weird. Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare is a competitive shooter based in a zany world where mobile and heavily armed plants compete against the technologically sophisticated forces of the undead.

Given the popularity of the Plants vs. Zombies brand, promotion from EA’s developing eSports division could turn the upcoming sequel into a highly competitive eSport that will entertain both players and viewers with its humor and challenging gameplay.

Superdata: Digital Game Sales Significantly Grew In 2015

While some gamers still prefer having physical game discs, but many have warmed up to digital purchases over the past year, according to the latest SuperData Research numbers, based on the top grossing digital games of 2015.

The report indicates that worldwide market for digital game purchases has increased eight percent over the previous year, reaching a total of $61 billion across PCs and consoles. “Following a stellar holiday season for the games industry, total sales reached a record high in 2015. Sales of digital console games showed the biggest jump and were up 34 percent, despite being one of the smaller categories at $4 billion annually. The largest category in terms of dollar sales was mobile, earning $25.8 billion and up double digits (10 percent) from the year before. Sales figures points toward a shift in the industry as more consumers have adopted digitally distributed games and free-to-play,” said SuperData CEO Joost van Dreunen. That said, the report did note that social games and subscription-based gaming saw a minor drop of just under one percent each.

Riot Games’ eSports-friendly League of Legends had no problem becoming the world’s highest-grossing digital game, making $1.6 billion over the year. Following close behind were the mobile hit Clash of Clans ($1.3 billion), the action-packed CrossFire ($1.1 billion) and Dungeon Fighter Online ($1.05 billion). The last two games thrive based upon markets in South Korea and China, despite not getting that much attention in the West.

As for the top publishers for 2015, Activision ruled the roost with $2.9 billion last year, led by the hit Call of Duty games. Supercell took an easy second place position with $1.64 billion, while mobile giant Tencent followed with $1.62 billion.

“Activision controlled six of the 30 top spots across platforms, including the titles that came under its ownership following the acquisition of King Digital late last year. Supercell takes the number two position overall with $1.6B in earnings across its titles in the top 10. And China’s titan Tencent follows as a close third, based on its dominance in the PC market with its wildly successful League of Legends, earning $1.6B, or roughly 7x more than its closest competitor,Dota 2 (Valve), which earned $238M in 2015. Despite claiming five of the top spots on console, Electronic Arts lacks a strong position in digital PC and mobile, earning it gross revenues of $798M,” said Van Dreunen.

The PC market actually thrived over mobile game releases for the year, as “the combined earnings of digital PC games for the top titles came in higher, totaling $6.3B in sales compared to $6.18B for mobile,” Van Dreunen pointed out. Overall, various PC games led to a grand total of earnings at $32 billion, just under the $25.1 billion generated through mobile games. “Three of the year’s top five digital PC games (Grand Theft Auto V, Fallout 4 and The Witcher 3) were released in 2015, indicating that PC gamers have made significant progress transitioning to purchasing games digitally.”

The top ten highest grossing games for console, PC and mobile for 2015 are:


  1. Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, Activision, $355
  2. FIFA 15, Electronic Arts, $332
  3. Grand Theft Auto V, Take-Two Interactive, $322
  4. Destiny, Activision, $291
  5. Call of Duty: Black Ops III, Activision, $224
  6. FIFA 16, Electronic Arts, $212
  7. Fallout 4, Bethesda Softworks, $108
  8. Star Wars Battlefront, Electronic Arts, $106
  9. Madden NFL 16, Electronic Arts, $76
  10. Madden NFL 15, Electronic Arts, $73


  1. League of Legends, Tencent/Riot Games, $1,628
  2. CrossFire, SmileGate, $1,110
  3. Dungeon Fighter Online, Neople, $1,052
  4. World of Warcraft, Activision, $814
  5. World of Tanks, Wargaming $446
  6. Lineage I, NCSOFT Corporation, $339
  7. Maplestory, Nexon, $253
  8. DOTA 2, Valve Corporation, $238
  9. Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valve Corporation, $221
  10. Grand Theft Auto V, Take-Two Interactive, $205


  1. Clash of Clans, Supercell, $1,345
  2. Game of War: Fire Age, Machine Zone, $799
  3. Puzzle & Dragons, Gungho Online Ent. Inc, $729
  4. Candy Crush Saga, King Digital, $682
  5. Monster Strike, Mixi, $674
  6. Candy Crush Soda Saga, King Digital, $518
  7. Fantasy Westward Journey, NetEase, $451
  8. Colopl Rune Story, COLOPL NI Inc, $356
  9. Disney Tsum Tsum, LINE Corp, $326
  10. Boom Beach, Supercell, $297

Buy Buttons Are On The Rise, But Who Wants Them?

The buy button – a convenient way to make purchases for items that look appealing to consumers, or gain access to certain goods without needing to visit a retail site. Marketers are looking for more ways to offer this buy button for people to use – but is it really as popular as it appears?

VentureBeat recently reported the findings of a study conducted by Campaigner, indicating that 36 percent of those polled see some form of increase in sales by utilizing buy button integration. While only 22 percent found a way to use them (in one form or another) last year, 60 percent stated that they were willing to find a way to utilize it in effective formats.

Those formats, based on the article, are highly used on a daily basis. “Email and Facebook were the first platforms to embrace buy buttons because they are the most content-based,” said E.J. McGowan, general manager for Campaigner. “Twitter is great for engaging with contacts, but it is difficult to showcase product offerings with a character limit.

“We believe buy buttons are still on the rise, and just because marketers are prioritizing certain platforms doesn’t mean they won’t leverage others down the line. We’re intrigued to see plans develop for Pinterest implementation and predict that (its) platform could be a huge opportunity for marketers in 2016.”

Email continues to be a strong point when it comes to marketing priorities for brands. Website optimization and personalization are also being considered, though not as highly. “Website optimization and personalization are definitely important components of a successful email marketing strategy, so we’re pleased to see that marketers are prioritizing them this year,” McGowan said. “However, not focusing on hyper-personalization could be a significant missed opportunity. Creating a highly personalized contact-brand relationship is becoming increasingly important, especially in the age of email overload.”

There are still difficulties ahead, though. “Hyper-personalization, like any personalization, is difficult,” McGowan said. “First, it’s challenging to ensure you have clean data across multiple fields (i.e. gender, purchase history, income, etc.). Then it’s really a two-step process: First you must gather and maintain the data, and then the email creator must be able to leverage that data in creative ways that will create a highly personalized message for the individual contacts.”

That said, returns can be plentiful if done the right way. “The ultimate results are worth the effort,” McGowan said. “Marketers should be careful not to overlook the value of hyper-personalization, beyond the standard ‘Hi, first name’ personalization tactics. Reinforced hyper-personalization efforts could truly make a positive impact.”

Meanwhile, GlobalWebIndex conducted its own findings on the popularity of buy buttons, with interesting results. The survey indicated that only a handful of consumers are finding them useful, with the lowest count from Facebook, around nine percent. Tumblr managed to double that in the top spot at 17 percent – but still quite low.

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As a result of these buy buttons, however, some retailers believe there is expected change by channel from them, with eCommerce sites rated the highest at 85 percent. Meanwhile, catalog/call center based revenue is the lowest, with 42 percent polled indicating there would be no change.

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Marketers Are Seeing ROI On Real-Time Marketing

Companies are seeing the return on investment for real-time marketing, employing it to primarily form customer relationships, promote events and as a complement to their existing content. A report from eMarketer explains how some companies are using real-time marketing. Companies have begun allocating more of their marketing budgets to as a result, citing numerous benefits.

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Here are a few examples of certain companies that use real-time marketing to their advantage:

Sega. The company’s star mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog, has gained quite a popular following on Twitter. Not only has he given “speedy” responses to fans, but he’s also interacted with companies. One recent tweet, featured below, has him chatting with the official Denny’s Twitter account, where it replies, “the pancakes, they gotta go fast.” Of course, video games featuring the zippy hero are also commonly mentioned on the account, but the ability to “play” along with other accounts is something fans can’t get enough of.

taco bell date 01 2014Taco Bell. While the fast food chain has made it clear that Taco Bell is an ideal place to go for a late night snack, it’s also expanded its social reach through connections with fans. One of the first brands to go all-in on Snapchat, the fast food company continues to find an audience of“crazy engaged” fans there.

Waffle House. The popular late night dining chain has made a splash for itself on Twitter as of late, interacting with fans and finding connections with popular events. For instance, with last night’s NFC Championship victory against the Cardinals, the Carolina Panthers found an unlikely connection with the chain – and it was quick to take note, as pointed out below.

DiGiorno Pizza. This delectable dish has made a name for itself on Twitter, first with tweets that tied in with the WWE account and its wrestling programming, and lately with more “let’s talk great about our product” tweets that really hit it off with fans.

Domino’s Pizza. This pizza chain also hit it off with fans on Twitter, with nearly a million followers in tow. However, along with making clever jokes in relation to new products it’s introduced, it’s also very topical, with several posts recently discussing the blizzard that blanketed the East Coast – and the pizza delivery masters that will stop at nothing to do their job. These kind of stories have been very supportive amongst fans, and earned the company a few new followers in the process.

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A recent study conducted by Econsultancy indicated that only about 17 percent respond in real time to voices of customers thoroughly, while 49 percent only do so partially. Meanwhile, 34 percent don’t follow the practice at all. Could there be a change in the future? Judging by the popularity of certain accounts on the social media front, it’s certainly worth a try.

At least, that’s what Sonic would probably say. Especially after pancakes.

Newzoo: ESports Revenue to Reach $463 Million in 2016

With more companies and sponsors investing in eSports than ever, it’s less a question of whether or not we’ll see the industry is set grow to greater heights in 2016, but how far. Newzoo sheds some light on the matter with a recently published a report that indicates how much it’s expected to expand.

Titled the 2016 Global eSports Market Report, it explains just how much the worldwide eSports market is set to achieve, up from the $325 million that was earned from competitions worldwide last year. This year, the number will pick up quite a bit, going up to $463 million – an estimated year-over-year growth of 43 percent.

The report is quite lengthy (80 pages), but here are some of the minor takeaways that are worth noting:

U.S. leads the way in eSports numbers

“In 2016, North America will strengthen its lead in terms of revenues with an anticipated $175 million generated through merchandise, event tickets, sponsorships, online advertising and media rights,” said eSports analyst Pieter van den Heuvel for Newzoo. “A significant part of these revenues flows back to the game publisher, but across all publishers, more money is invested into the eSports economy than is directly recouped by their eSports activities.

“China and Korea together will represent 23% of global eSports revenues, totaling $106 million in 2016. Audience-wise, the situation is different, with Asia contributing 44% of global eSports Enthusiasts. Growth in this region is, for a large part, fuelled by an explosive uptake in Southeast Asia”.

Peter Warman, CEO for Newzoo, also added, “2016 will be pivotal for eSports. The initial buzz will settle down and the way forward on several key factors, such as regulations, content rights and involvement of traditional media, will become clearer. The collapse of MLG was a reminder that this market still has a long road to maturity and we need to be realistic about the opportunities it provides. In that respect, it is in nobody’s interest that current market estimates differ so strongly. Luckily, when zooming in on the highest market estimates of more than $700 million, the difference is explainable by an in-depth look. This estimate only differs in the revenues generated in Asia  (Korea in particular), and by taking betting revenues into account. At Newzoo, we believe betting on eSports should not be mixed into direct eSports revenues as the money does not flow into the eSports economy. Similarly, sports betting is not reported in sports market reports.”

Newzoo Esports Report 2016 Revenue Growth V3

Many eSports events got lots of attention

112 major eSports events took place last year, generating $20.6 million ticket revenues. As for prize money that was given out, it estimates at $61 million – a 70 percent increase from the previous year.

eSports audience has expanded

226 million gamers tuned in to events last year, and devoted eSports enthusiasts rose to 115 million, a growth of 27.7 percent over the previous year.

131 million eSports enthusiasts, along with 125 million curious occasional viewers, are expected to tune in to everything from the Call of Duty World League to Valve’s annual DOTA 2 International.

Newzoo Esports Report 2016 Audience Growth V3

Global revenues are booming

The total amount of global revenue for eSports reached $325 million in 2015, with North America accounting for the most with $121 million. That’s a 67.4 percent growth over 2014’s numbers.

Advertising has reached a new peak online

Online advertising has managed to see the fastest increase in revenue, up 99.6 percent from the previous year.

Annual revenue for eSports enthusiasts is picking up

The average annual revenue for eSports enthusiast spending has reached $2.83 for 2015, and will grow even more to $3.53 this year. That’s lower than most traditional sports (basketball estimates $15 per fan per year), but keep in mind that they’ve been around longer than eSports.

Newzoo Esports Report 2016 Revenues per Enthusiast

There are plenty of big spenders

Despite the miniscule spending cost for eSports enthusiasts, they’re a loyal following, with a valuable demographic for each particular tournament. These fans are noted as having full time jobs with reasonable income, and indicate they’re willing to spend on digital media subscriptions, hardware and mobile content that relates to their favorite eSports activities.

How ‘Unravel’ Will Get You Wrapped Up

Unravel introduces players to Yarny, a three-inch figure made completely out of wire and yarn. In the context of the game, the yarn represents the thread of love that connects people together. Yarny must use it to make his way through a larger than life world and solve puzzles without diminishing himself too much.

EA is best known for high-adrenaline games like the Battlefield series, the recently releasedStar War Battlefront, and Need for Speed in addition to its sports games, but Unravel stands out using its own touching charm; created by a unique character and beautifully peaceful setting inspired by the real world.

Brian Austin, product marketing manager at EA, spoke to [a]listdaily about Unravel, and getting the world to love playing with Yarny when the game releases on Feb. 9 — just before Valentine’s Day.

Brian Austin 2In what ways does Unravel stand out from other puzzle games?

Unravel is unique in that our hero, Yarny, uses the combination of Yarny’s own device, yarn, and the logistics of the environments to navigate through the game. While the tools may be simple, they have the ability to accomplish complex puzzles.

The physics-based elements of the game allow Yarny to use momentum to swing from a tree branch or jump from a yarn bridge. There is another element, however, to traversing Unravel that makes it different than any other game of its kind – the element of Yarn economy. This gameplay strategy requires players to be mindful of how much yarn they have to work with in order to get Yarny safely through each level and keep Yarny from unraveling.

What is it about Yarny that makes him such an appealing character?

Yarny is tiny in size, but huge in heart. In spite of Yarny’s size, there is no obstacle too great that can’t be overcome through perseverance, ingenuity, and bravery. A positive force in a sometimes dark world, Yarny has a charm and kind-hearted spirit that evokes joy in its simplest form. Wonder, curiosity, and courage are infused into the fabric, or in this case yarn, of Yarny’s being and are fundamental to the essence of Unravel.

Is it difficult to convey a story of love and connection when the main character doesn’t speak?

So much of Unravel speaks to the audience, even with the absence of spoken words. The original score, composed by local Swedish musicians, sets an emotive soundtrack to Yarny’s adventure, capturing both heart-breaking and heart-warming moments alike. The rich environments, inspired by Scandinavia’s natural landscape, are more than just a setting, they’re part of the story. They transform players into a visually stunning world that celebrates the beauty in the ordinary and forms the physical foundation of Yarny’s adventure. The emotional foundation of Yarny’s adventure is deeply rooted in the character’s endearing and sincere nature. There is a powerful, unspoken bond to Yarny – a character that says nothing, and everything, all at the same time through an emotional and expressive journey.

How have you been promoting Unravel?

We first introduced Unravel at E3, presented by Coldwood Interactive’s Creative Director Martin Sahlin. Following E3, we brought Unravel to Gamescom where Martin gave attendees a first look at a level called, “The Sea.” Martin shared the inspiration behind Yarny’s story, the level and how that impacts the gameplay experience.

Since Unravel and Yarny have been introduced to the world, fans around the world have created their own Yarnys, sharing them across social channels. To keep fans connected and inspired by Unravel, Martin has given fans direction on how to create Yarny, just like he did, while camping on the coast Northern Sweden. Plus, Coldwood has released several development diaries over the past several months across Unravel’s digital footprint. These videos, narrated by Martin, invite fans into Coldwood to learn about the inspiration and story behind some of Unravel’s most fundamental elements.

What are some of the challenges in promoting a new game that’s not based on an existing IP?

The world of beloved and iconic characters is vast and hard to permeate. These characters carry a built-in affinity and perceived identity – admiration from the masses. With a new IP, there’s white space, a blank canvas to paint a picture of who a character is, who a character will become, and what that evolution means to those that play the game. It’s an opportunity to build a relationship, meaningful and new, with each person who connects with Yarny through Unravel.