Op-Ed: Mobile Games Boosted By TV Ads

Market intelligence firm App Annie has released a fascinating report on mobile game TV ad spend in Japan, which should be of great interest to game marketers around the world. The use of TV ads for game marketing has been growing in recent years, and mobile games have led the way. The appeal of the TV ad spend is that you can reach a broad array of customers in a variety of demographics, many of whom would never be likely to encounter an ad in a mobile app. Plus, with ads for mobile games during live sporting events, tracking the response to the ad is something that game publishers can easily do by looking for spikes in downloads during the time of the event.

In Japan, TV ads have been a powerful marketing tool for mobile games going back many years. Japan’s fascination with mobile games began well before the current smartphone era, when Japan had “feature phones” that could play some pretty nice games and acquired a devoted, high-monetizing audience. This enthusiasm for mobile gaming has transferred to smartphone games, and so has the use of TV ads.

Why is Japan of great interest to mobile game marketers? The answer to that is simple: Japan is where the big money is in mobile games. “During Q2 2016, the average revenue per user (ARPU) of the top 30 highest-grossing games in Japan far exceeded that of the top 30 games in the other major markets we analyzed,” App Annie’s report noted. The first conclusion drawn from those figures is that mobile games should launch in Japan when it makes sense, because there is a lot of money to be made. That’s not very likely, since Japanese prefer games made in Japan: “90 percent of 2015 mobile games revenue generated in Japan came from games published by Japanese companies,” App Annie noted.

The deeper insight is that mobile games in Japan may augur a potential future for mobile games in other countries. What if you could increase the ARPU of games in other markets to get near the levels in Japan? Massive revenue could be achieved even without obtaining the very largest audience. There’s some evidence that this is possible. Pokémon GO is getting some 10 percent of its users to spend money, an astonishing figure when the average is nearer one or two percent. Could more games be able to reach this sort of monetization?

Television advertising is an important tool for Japanese mobile games and an important part of the overall ad spend in Japan, accounting for some 30 percent of ad spend over the past ten years. App Annie looked at data from 2013 to 2016 in three large regions of Japan that represent the majority of the market. App Annie’s analysis showed that TV ad spend in Japan grew nearly 70 percent from 2013 to 2015, according to data from Video Research and Dentsu. While Japanese companies dominate the mobile game market in Japan, the data suggests that foreign companies are increasingly using TV ads to break into the market. “Foreign game companies’ ads went from representing less than 4 percent of the ad spend in Video Research’s data in 2013 to over 20 percent in 2015,” App Annie noted.

aa-japan-arpuIt’s not a surprise that mobile games in Japan are using TV ad campaigns when you look at the numbers: “On average, the first month of a mobile game TV campaign in Japan saw an increase in downloads and revenue of roughly 225 percent and 25 percent (respectively) from the previous month,” according to App Annie. While revenue isn’t impacted anywhere near as much as downloads are, the higher amount of downloads sets the stage for future revenue growth, as the monetization tends to occur after the user has been playing the game for some time.

Television ads for mobile games are important not just for user acquisition, but for re-engaging lapsed gamers. Since 2013, TV ads for mobile games in Japan have focused more on older games, showing that publishers are looking to use TV to lengthen engagement as well as attract new users and increase monetization. This can be seen in the data that shows the average age of games being advertised on TV in Japan has more than doubled since 2013. Some of the top games in Japan, like Puzzle & Dragons and Monster Strike, continue to be solid performers years after release. Keeping that up is achieved partly through heavy TV advertising.


One more important point that App Annie’s report makes concerns the role-playing game (RPG) category, which is the most important genre in Japan’s mobile games market. “In addition to having higher engagement in terms of sessions and time per user, RPGs also receive higher ARPU than other categories in Japan,” said the report. The importance of RPGs could also be seen in TV ad spend, where the median RPG had a 75 percent higher TV ad spend than the median non-RPG, which was also about the same ratio between the two types of games for revenue.aa-us-mobile-ad-spend

The importance of TV advertising for mobile games isn’t just in Japan—the US is seeing increasing TV ad spend for games, with mobile leading the pack. The total estimated spend for August was $27.2 million, according to a report by VentureBeat and iSpot.tv. Some 21 different brands ran 64 spots almost 13,000 times in August, the report noted.

Mobile games led the pack in US TV ad spending, with over 75 percent of the ad spend. The leader by far was Supercell, with 45.3 percent of the spend, followed by Machine Zone at 20.2 percent and King and Innogames at about 5 percent each. Activision jumped in with Skylanders ad spending that accounted for 10.2 percent of the total ad spend, but it can certainly be argued that a significant portion of that will mean added mobile game sales for Activision, since smartphone and tablet versions of Skylanders have the same functionality as the console games.

How Razer And Ouya Publishing Are Growing The Android Console Market

Although the Ouya Android gaming console is no more, the company was purchased by the technology company, Razer last year and was transformed into Ouya Publishing. Under the new brand, Ouya Publishing releases console quality games for Android-based consoles, including the Razer Forge TV, Amazon Fire TV and the Nvidia Shield devices.

Jared Yeager, Razer’s director of publishing

As Jared Yeager, director of publishing at Razer, told [a]listdaily, “Ouya Publishing was born out of last year’s acquisition of Ouya assets and related IP by Razer, which has repositioned Ouya—the most successful crowd-funded business of its day and pioneer of the first console for Android-based games—as a development and distribution arm supporting Android-based game makers and platforms. The ongoing mission of Ouya Publishing leaves it focused on improving all aspects of the Android entertainment space, advocating platform inclusivity and broad-based publishing with all available Android TV partners who value curated, unique, quality content.”

Ouya Publishing’s focus is on games “that can be enjoyed together with friends in front of a big screen,” according to Yeager. Previous releases include head-to-head games such as Mimic Arena and ChargeShot, while a port of the critically acclaimed Gurgamoth is expected to come out in early October.

That doesn’t mean that single player games are left out of the picture. “We want to support unique and engaging single-player experiences, so we are excited to announce that the indie hit from Bossa Studios, I Am Bread, will be coming to Android consoles later this year,” said Yeager.

Before the transition into Ouya Publishing, the company helped Numinous Games fund That Dragon, Cancer for release on Razer Forge TV and Steam—a personal game about a boy named Joel Green (the developer’s son) and his four-year battle against cancer. All proceeds from Razer’s Cortex storefront on Forge TV are donated to the Morgan Adams Foundation, which funds cancer research, and to Family House SF, which provides free housing to families visiting hospitals in San Francisco.

The company’s most recent release is a cooperative action game called Mercenary Kings, which initially came out for PC, Mac and PlayStation 4 in 2014. The game’s Android console release is almost identical to its PC/console counterpart except that it doesn’t support online gameplay, but it’s also half the price at $9.99.

“Developed by Tribute Games, Mercenary Kings is a frantic 2D action game where you are part of the most skilled team of warriors-for-hire on Earth,” said Yeager, describing the game. “When your comrades have fallen, and the fearsome forces of CLAW have seized an island-wide top secret Laboratory Base, you must do what it takes to stop them.”

Mercenary Kings features beautiful character animation by pixel artist and animator Paul Robertson and over 100 missions that can be played either solo or with up to 4-player same-screen co-op. Yeager explains that “it’s the ideal game for Razer Forge TV and the Android platform because it’s a classic living room arcade experience that’s best enjoyed on a couch with friends in front of a big screen TV. It’s easy to pick up and play like many beloved, old-school, side-scrolling run-and-gun games, but with much more content, gameplay innovations, and robust co-op play to keep friends engaged through multiple playthroughs.”

When asked why Mercenary Kings was being released for multiple Android console platforms instead of being exclusive to Forge TV, Yeager said: “Razer has always championed being inclusive instead of exclusive, as proven by OSVR’s initiative to bring VR gaming to everyone without platform boundaries. The same goes for Ouya Publishing under Razer for Android gaming and any new platforms we may publish games on as our catalogue grows. However, Razer Forge TV owners can look forward to special deals and giveaways for future game releases, along with bundles for independently released titles on the Cortex storefront.”

When asked about how Ouya was applying its past experience to the Razer Forge TV console, Yeager said that “the Ouya team went through all of the hardware and firmware update trials before joining the Razer team, and they were key in making the OTAs for the Razer storefront as polished and optimized as possible. The most visible evolution for players is the Ouya storefront itself, now known as Cortex on the Razer Forge TV. It’s a more streamlined experience that runs super smooth on the advanced hardware, and it’s just easier to navigate and find content within the storefront.”

Yeager also explained how the Android console platform continued to grow due to affordable hardware and growing processing power that allows more current generation games to release for it.

“We believe that, with the growing quality of controller-based games coming out of Ouya Publishing along with other developers, that we will change the perspective that some have that Android consoles just have mobile ports or simple games you only play with a remote,” said Yeager. “Android console distribution continues to reach a larger worldwide audience, with Razer Forge TV now being widely available in Europe outside of the original North America release.”

So how does promoting an Android console game compare to traditional consoles and PC? “There is less dedicated gaming press covering Android console gaming, so it’s important to have great relationships with our external platform partners at Google Play, Amazon and Nvidia for feature placement outside of our own ecosystem, along with social media promotion,” said Yeager. “They have provided valuable feedback on how to optimize games to be received best by their players and we are looking forward to running new promotions with them going into the holiday season.”

Why Starbucks Is Spending Millions In Marketing A Digital Content Series

Starbucks is looking to use its national platform and take a serious step toward making a social impact by stepping into the digital content creation sphere to strike a chord with its devoted cavalcade of consumers with “Upstanders,” an original series that aims to inspire positive change amidst cynicism in the United States.

“Upstanders” features ten stories told in written, video and podcast formats about “ordinary people doing extraordinary things to create positive change in their communities.” The underlying tone of the series (outlined below) is about compassionate and humane individuals who refuse to be bystanders.


The coffee chain will utilize multi-platform distribution channels for the series, including the company’s mobile app and their online and in-store digital network. A cup sleeve will also hit stores.

This is not Starbucks’ first attempt at caffeine and content. Earlier this year, they partnered with Spotify to reimagine its music offering.

The move to creating original content with “Upstanders” is a natural evolution of the coffee company’s strategy, and it creates future opportunities to expand on its engagement with consumers. Balancing citizenship, civility and consciousness with the bottom line is also a strong, evolutionary statement that for-profit institutions should consider in the future to satisfy shareholders.

“For the last couple of years, we’ve been asking: what is the role and responsibility of a public company?” Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said last week, per The Seattle Times. “For any consumer brand, especially a brick-and-mortar retailer like Starbucks, the rules of engagement, because of Amazon and mobile commerce, are really changing . . . We’re never going to become a media company. But we can extend the brand and the experience through media and original content.”

Last February, Starbucks hired former Washington Post senior editor Rajiv Chandrasekaran to spearhead productions that would play a positive and constructive role about American Issues. Chandrasekaran, Starbucks’ senior vice president of public affairs, served as an executive producer for “Upstanders” alongside Schultz.

Chandrasekaran joined [a]listdaily to detail why the coffee retailer launched their social change platform.

The “Upstanders” Stories

The Mosque Across the Street | Breaking the Prison Pipeline | Homes for Everyone | Scholarships for Every Student | The Kids Who Killed an Incinerator | The Hunger Hack | The Empathetic Police Academy | Employing the Full Spectrum | A Warrior’s Workout | Building Homes. Building Lives

Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Starbucks’ senior vice president of public affairs
Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Starbucks’ senior vice president of public affairs

Why was content creation in the form of an original series in “Upstanders” a prudent next step for Starbucks?

This is about thoughtful storytelling. I came over to Starbucks to create projects like ‘Upstanders’ and to use my journalistic background to develop storytelling initiatives, all in the public interest. The origin of this project was asking how Starbucks could shine a spotlight on ways we can all contribute to the betterment of our communities, and generate the feelings of hope and possibility that have always defined our country. The outcome was this content that is resonating with customers.

What went into selecting the stories for the series? As a journalist, what was the message you wanted to share on behalf of Starbucks?

The news and social media content tend to focus on the negative or the sensationalized, and we felt that we could use Starbucks’ scale to tell the stories of inspiring individuals that we know are taking place around the country. We found hundreds of stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in their communities to make their neighborhoods, cities and the country a better place. My job was to bring the stories to life in films, short stories and podcasts as a way to inspire us all to be better citizens, to show that everyone has the power to make a difference.

What was it like working with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz? What kind of vision did he bring into the new venture over the course of the collaboration?

Howard Schultz and I worked together before on the best-selling book, For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism and Sacrifice, so we understood the time and effort we’d need to put into curating this list of stories and telling them in a variety of ways across a variety of platforms to make it easy for people to find them. ‘Upstanders’ was a multi-team effort across Starbucks, all under Howard’s leadership and vision. He pushes Starbucks to think not only about the role and responsibility of a public, for-profit company but also our role and responsibility as citizens. He understood that Starbucks has the scale and the responsibility to do its part to bring people together.

Starbucks “Upstanders” cups sleeves

Schultz said that “Upstanders” isn’t to sell more coffee, but rather to inspire and unite Americans. What compelled the company to expand its perspective to a community-driven, societal approach?

Starbucks has always worked to address the biggest issues facing the communities we serve. We’re committed to making a positive impact—whether it’s providing access to higher education for our partners by covering full tuition through the College Achievement Plan, our work to hire Opportunity Youth and open stores in diverse communities, our commitment to hiring veterans and military spouses, or to use our scale and reach to shine a light on the ‘Upstanders’ in our communities, we want to help empower people to be innovators, leaders and contributors to better our communities.

How is spending millions on something that doesn’t sell coffee good marketing to further grow Starbucks’ brand equity?

We believe that successful companies cannot just be focused on money and the bottom line, they must also deliver meaning and value for their employees, their customers and their communities. That is the measure of a great and enduring brand. You’ll continue to see us find ways to address some of the biggest challenges that we face in our communities and as a country.


The stories will be available through various media partnerships and platforms, specifically with podcasts. Why is it crucial for brands to be diving into the podcast pool? How does that further lead to effective marketing?

There are billions of podcast downloads per year, especially for long-form storytelling, so there’s no denying that podcasts are a powerful platform for people to hear stories like these. Podcasts gave us another medium to tell these stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in an emotionally impactful way, to make people feel connected with these ‘Upstanders’ and hopefully inspired to find ways to take action in their communities.

With deals with the likes of Spotify, it seems that Starbucks wants to be the kings of coffee, and digital content. How is digital and social a key part of the Starbucks strategy?

We’re always looking for ways to enhance the emotional connection we have with our customers, whether it’s for a program like ‘Upstanders,’ or how we’re engaging in and outside of our stores. We’re proud of our work with companies like Spotify to offer both our partners and our customers access to great content on a regular basis, as well as our work with Panoply, Upworthy, Mic.com and other platforms to share these ‘Upstanders’ stories with their audiences.

What is the marketing and social media strategy you plan to execute with “Upstanders?”

It’s a multi-platform approach and a key part of our efforts to leverage the strength and trust in our brand to affect positive change in the communities we serve. The content will continue to promote ‘Upstanders’ across all channels, including retail (‘Upstanders’ cup sleeves in all US stores), social and digital (Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), as well as Starbucks’ leading mobile app. Digital partnerships and syndication with Upworthy, Mic.com, AOL, and NationSwell are also key to sharing this content with customers.

Why is it imperative for Fortune 500 brands to step outside of the box and be more experiential?

As I mentioned, we believe that it’s crucial that brands stand for more than just making money, that they are committed to delivering a great experience for their employees, customers and the communities they serve. This has always been a core belief of Starbucks and is at the heart of our mission which is ‘to inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.’

Follow Manouk Akopyan on Twitter @Manouk_Akopyan

This Startup Is Creating Apps And Gaming Experiences Built For Brands

Privately funded Los Angeles startup 1-800-N0TH1NG is a new media innovation lab founded by former BitTorrent content chief, Matt Mason. The company has been working on a number of apps and games, as well as a live video game competition designed for today’s livestreaming audience. Mason told [a]listdaily that his team is exploring how game mechanics can be applied to help people play, connect and create at scale.

Their first product, Bbble (pronounced ‘bubble’), launches today for iOS. Mason said the social video game separates itself from the many text-based trivia games on the market by allowing anyone to star as the host by snapping their own video questions. In today’s YouTube and Twitch landscape, Mason believes allowing players to star as next generation game show hosts will pave the way for new opportunities for brands. Over 300 people have already uploaded trivia content during the game’s beta period.

“As a company, we’re not developing anything we can’t monetize through in-app purchases or advertising,” said Mason. “There are some easy ways to monetize a lot of these apps, but I’m more interested in the harder way to monetize, which usually means better results for the brand.”

Mason said baking in sponsored trivia questions so people can actively engage with brands is one example that Bbble opens up. Conversations have started with brands about connecting with this new game’s audience, and Mason said prizing will be added in the near future.

“We thought a lot about that and how that’s going to be a good experience for the user and bring real engagement for the brand,” Mason said, discussing brand integration. “We try to think about the user experience first, and explore brand integrations from the beginning of everything we do. The days of just inserting ads into apps are numbered. We’ll put video ads in our apps where it’s appropriate, but we’re interested in doing things that haven’t been done before.”

Mason said his company will launch at least one new app, and possibly have two others out, by the end of this year. The company is also developing several apps for 2017.

Separate from its video game business, Mason is also exploring other ways to connect brands with gamers. His company launched a live action first-person shooter video game experiment called RoboKong on July 30, which allowed players to take control of a super soldier who is part man and part machine. Over 1,500 players signed up to participate and the four-hour game featured 18 contestants. The average playing time was five minutes, and the only player to beat the game was the very last participant.

“The thinking behind RoboKong was to look at people recreating video games and putting those funny videos up on YouTube or Reddit,” Mason said. “We wanted to see if we could do something like that and do it live and entertain fans.”

Using Twitch, YouTube Gaming, Facebook Live, Periscope and other live broadcast platforms, players were able to direct a character named RoboKong, played by a live actor, as he attempts to escape from a lab filled with rogue mutants. With little marketing, the live show attracted 700,000 views over four hours, generating 4 million brand impressions and more than 26,000 fan messages. The three most shared messages by fans on Twitch were: “LOL,” “lol” and “lul.”

“We knew it’d be a hit with the gaming audience, but it was also a hit with people who aren’t eSports fans or Twitch viewers,” Mason said. “Because it’s live action and a parody of video gaming, people who aren’t fans of games but who have been exposed to games found it funny. It felt more like a live sport in that you could watch along and have an opinion of what the player should do next. It’s very different than eSports, where it’s hard to anticipate what’s going to happen with Overwatch, Halo or Call of Duty when you have so much information coming at you at once. Games are designed for instantaneous response for the gamer, but if you’re not tuned into the rules of the game, it can be hard to follow.”

Now that the trial succeeded, Mason said the goal is to have a second RoboKong air in Q1. And there’s the potential to turn this into a series with eight to ten episodes in the future.

“We believe this is something we can build a sponsorship around and build out to be sustainable,” Mason said. “We’re attracting sports fans. It’s slower than a video game, but it just looks like a video game. We’re interested in pushing on that and expanding the franchise.”

SGN Games Rebrands As Jam City, Acquires ‘Peanuts’ License

SGN Games is gone and Jam City is here, as the mobile game company rebrands itself. The 500-person company with games include Cookie Jam, Panda Pop, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff and Marvel Avengers Academy also announced that it has acquired rights to comic strip Peanuts, which will be released as a mobile game later this year.

Josh Yguado, Jam City COO and president

Explaining his company’s rebrand on the company blog, Jam City co-founder and CEO Chris DeWolfe said that the new name, combined with its recently licensed Hollywood franchises, will help power his mobile gaming company to its next phase of growth. “It’s time to bring our brand in line with our games,” said DeWolfe. “We’re in the business of fun, and yet our old name was a corporate acronym that lacked the spirit of our products. With Jam City, we’re harnessing the success of our games—particularly, our Jam game franchise—to animate our studio’s identity.”

Co-founder, COO and president of Jam City Josh Yguado spoke exclusively with [a]listdaily about the rebranding, the Peanuts license, and the company’s plans for the future.

Why rebrand the company, and why now?

We’ve been talking about it for years, and we’re finally pulling the trigger and making it happen. We never loved the SGN name. I think we owe our success to the popularity of our games, not the three-letter corporate acronym that represented our company for so long. We’re certainly grateful for how far our name got us until now. We’re trying to harness the popularity of our core, most successful product, particularly the Jam game franchise, to power our corporate identity. Plus, we like to think of ourselves as a fun company. We thrive by bringing fun into people’s day, and we wanted our company name to reflect that and be memorable.

Was it difficult to choose the right name for the company?

It’s actually funny because we went through an informal process of talking about the idea of changing our name, and one of the very first names we came up with was Jam City. It just felt right. But then we thought, in order to be responsible we should go through a full process with consultants, an analysis of the market, and everything else. After about a year of deep diving and analysis we ultimately said forget it, let’s go with our gut and go with what feels authentic and right to us—and for us that was Jam City.

What impact does this rebrand have on your marketing efforts?

Honestly, I don’t think the brand change is going to change much at all. I think the brand itself reflects basically what we’ve already been doing. We’re going to be doubling down on our current strategy, which is carefully developing more games in-house, strategically partnering with entertainment franchises—like Peanuts that we just signed—that resonate worldwide. Really, there’s going to be no change in marketing. For us, it’s all about the games, not the corporate brand.

Will all new games, including ones by TinyCo, come out under the Jam City label, or do you envision having more than one label depending on the type of game?

That’s something we’re still working out. What’s most likely is that TinyCo games will be a combination brand that includes both Jam City and TinyCo. We’re proud of the brand and the reputation TinyCo has, and we don’t want to lose that. We’re also proud of Jam City and what that family of studios represents, so it’s important to us that’s also represented.

There are great data points in the market, like Activision Blizzard, where you can have a subsidiary that still has its own identity but is clearly part of the larger family.


Why did you acquire the Peanuts license? Are your rights limited to the comic strip?

We specifically licensed the comic strip and the music. For us, Peanuts and Snoopy are on a remarkably short list of globally recognized and beloved brand characters. It’s a timeless brand [that] appeals across all ages, [and] anyone from 6-to-60 can whistle the theme. We really think that having a brand that’s so beloved and so accessible, that weaving those characters into the experience will bring a whole new audience to the game.

What sort of games do you plan to build around the Peanuts license?

I think long term, this could be a set of games or a franchise for us. We are going to start with a puzzle style game. We think the accessibility, fun and playfulness of puzzles match well with the IP, but there could also be great builder, storyteller and arcade style games with the license as well.

Do you see Peanuts games bringing in a substantial new audience for Jam City?

Honestly, I think there’s such a huge fan base for Peanuts. I think our existing users will love it, but I think it’s going to introduce our games to a lot of people who maybe hadn’t had the opportunity to pick them up before. Maybe it’s an excuse to get acquainted with what we’re doing. There are so many fans of the Peanuts IP through the generations that this is a huge opportunity for us to expose our mechanics and gameplay to a much broader base of users.

The nice thing about this IP is it’s not the flavor of the month. Your grandmother, your father, your brother, your child and every generation enjoys Peanuts. They’ve done an amazing job building and protecting the IP over the years.

Jam City has had over 100 percent growth every year for the last five years. How long can you keep that up?

(Laughs) Honestly, we feel like it’s still early days for our company, and we’re thinking big. I think we’re a fraction of what we expect to be in the next three or four years. This is a long-term play for us. This is our first foray into big IPs, and you’re going to be hearing about some other great franchises over the next twelve months. This is just the start for Jam City.

FaceIt VP Discusses Asus Sponsorship Of ‘Overwatch’ ESports Tournament

The Overwatch Open’s first season, presented in partnership by the competitive gaming platform FaceIt and the eSports organization ELeague, will soon be reaching the epic finale, where winners will get a piece of a $300,000 prize pool. Both the North American and European regional finals are set to take place next week starting on September 25, with the Grand Finals broadcast live on TBS from the ELeague arena at Turner Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on September 30.

The event, which is the largest eSports competition for the game to date, is sponsored by Asus Republic of Gamers (ROG)—a leading brand of high-end PC gaming hardware. As the official sponsor, Asus will provide powerful PCs and gaming monitors for next week’s competitions.

“The Overwatch Open is a great way to showcase the full capabilities of ROG gaming technology with class leading products,” said Vivian Lien, chief marketing officer at Asus North America in a press release.

Vasos Roberts, FaceIT vice president of sales

FaceIt vice president of sales, Vasos Roberts, spoke to [a]listdaily about the significance of having Asus sponsor the Overwatch Open and how it began.

“Republic of Gamers have been a close supporter of ours for a long time, and were very excited when we came to them with the Overwatch Open project,” said Roberts. “ROG is one of the first gaming brands to support the community in this way, and since 2006, they have been a provider of epic gaming PCs and monitors, and have a great love of community-focused gaming titles. Because of this, ROG was a natural choice as a supporter of the thrilling action that Overwatch delivers to fans of eSports.”

Roberts also explained how ROG was the perfect fit for the Overwatch Open because the brand has high-performance products that are tailored for high-end gaming needs such as eSports. “Overwatch itself is new, bright, demanding and fast, so the gear players use needs to be able to deal with this level of high graphical demand, high frame rates and for long periods of time. Paired with the top-of-the-line ROG gaming monitors, our teams will be in safe hands.”

According to Roberts, Asus was attracted to the Overwatch Open because “Republic of Gamers understands the benefit and importance of promoting and supporting new, exciting projects such as the Overwatch Open. They have a close connection with the gaming community, running weekly cups on the FaceIt platform, and were very positive about being able to help a new burgeoning game such as Overwatch.”

Additionally, Asus already had a strong interest in Overwatch, and it was an easy decision for ROG to sponsor the tournament. “ROG has always had a good feel for which new games are going to be making the biggest splash,” said Roberts. “Overwatch is a sponsor’s dream in that respect, with bold, fun characters, killer gameplay and a gigantic established community.”

The hardware that will be showcased during the tournament includes the ROG G11CD desktop computer using Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 video cards for the matches themselves, the GL502VS gaming laptop, and the supercharged G752VS OC Edition gaming laptop.


When asked how the ROG equipment would be promoted, Roberts replied that “eSports is now mainstream, and we promote it in a similar way to any terrestrial television production. The Overwatch Open Grand Finals will be aired live on TBS on September 30, as well as on our Twitch channel during the group stages.”

In addition to integrating ROG’s products into the tournament, Roberts further explained that “we are also delivering a non-intrusive, impactful advertising program that features a number of interactive segments. For example, Republic of Gamers Play of the Game will use a custom high-quality overlay and bumpers, supplementing standard commercials during breaks in the game.

“Streaming through sites like Twitch also allows unique opportunities to interact directly with viewers. We run highly effective ‘in chat’ messages that can be clicked, as well as small fun competitions with our viewers. Because the Overwatch Open team has a strong connection with the community, we also provide high visibility through social media promotion with huge reach through Twitter and Reddit.”

51 Percent Of On-Demand Videos Are Now Viewed On Mobile

A little over half of on-demand videos are viewed on mobile devices, according to a quarterly report published by Ooyala. The figure (51 percent) is an impressive leap from just 15 percent in 2015 and a whopping 203 percent higher than the same period in 2014.

Ooyala’s study analyzed 3.5 billion daily video events from more than 220 million global viewers classified as “power users.” The habits outlined in Oolay’s Global Video Index for the second quarter analyzed the habits of users who visited an on-demand video provider at least seven days per month that made more frequent visits each day than an “average” customer.

Video-1125For the second quarter of 2016, iOS remains the most-used platform by video streamers. Specifically, iPad takes the lead at 65 percent for popularity, compared to 35 percent of views on Android tablets, but Ooyala notes that the gap is closing.

“We’re seeing Android claw back share as manufacturers push more Android tablets—especially lower-end consumer products—into the market,” the report states.

Surprise—more ads are still watched on TV and the computer

Despite the rise in mobile viewing, traditional TV provides the highest pre-roll ad completion rates for publishers were highest on smart TVs at 83 percent, followed by tablets at 81 percent. Consumers viewing content on a desktop computer reportedly completed 76 percent of pre-roll ads, and mobile phone users completed 74 percent.

These ads are being seen by more desktop users, as well. In the second quarter, the highest percentage of pre-roll impressions for publishers occurred on computers, at 50.4 percent with 31.8 percent of impressions on mobile phones and 17.7 percent on tablets.

According to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of US adults own mobile phones and 64 percent own a smartphone. For younger viewers, mobile is often their first and primary source of viewing content, and 85 percent of young adults own a smart phone, so the mobile age is expected to continue being ushered in with the next generation.

“Worldwide, the streaming industry is seeing phenomenal growth, both in the number of subscribers and in the number of services that are rolling out,” says Ooyala. “It’s a heady time to be a streamer.”

Jack Reacher Movie Will ‘Never Stop Punching’ With This Video Game Tie-In

On October 21, Tom Cruise returns to the big screen in Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. Everyone standing in Reacher’s way is pretty much cruisin’ for a bruisin’, so what better way to get psyched for the movie than by punching a bunch of dudes in their sorry faces? Absolutely nothing, apparently. Enter Jack Reacher: Never Stop Punching—an 8-bit game playable on iOS, Android and via browser on the movie’s official website.

The objective of this “endless runner” is simple—just do as the title implies. Jack Reacher: Never Stop Punching may not have a plot to speak of, and technically you can just jump over enemies without hurting anyone, but this marketing shows a delightful ability to parody its own source material. The film’s synopsis, however, is a tad more intricate: “Jack Reacher must uncover the truth behind a major government conspiracy in order to clear his name. On the run as a fugitive from the law, Reacher uncovers a potential secret from his past that could change his life forever.”

But fear not, there will be a lot of punching, too.

Adapting a film to video game form is nothing new, although they’re not always critically-acclaimed. Paramount’s choice to market Jack Reacher with a Flash game of this nature is far less costly than a console title, and it creates buzz around its franchise, particularly within the attractive gamer demographic. This is actually the second time that Paramount created a Jack Reacher game, although the last one had more detailed graphics and offered prizes, including the jacket worn on screen by Tom Cruise.

Gatorade created a similar, although not endless, 8-bit game promotion for Snapchat in August featuring tennis pro, Serena Williams. The 22-level game, Match Point celebrates Williams’ career and all the wins that led her to the 2016 US Open and her 22 Grand Slam singles titles. Both Match Point and Jack Reacher: Never Stop Punching are easy to pick up and master, making them accessible to gamers and non-gamers alike.

Facebook’s New Measuring Tools Focus On Human Involvement And Gives Ad Options For Retailers

With over half of marketers struggling to accurately measure return on investment, Facebook is answering the call with five new ways to accurately track ad effectiveness. The solution? Inserting more people into the equation.

“Measurement allows marketers to understand the effectiveness of their advertising,” Facebook said on its blog Wednesday. “But measurement across different devices, channels and platforms is tough without a consistent denominator. That denominator should be real people. When real people aren’t at the center of your digital measurement campaigns, up to 66 percent of digital conversion events can go unrecognized. People-based measurement tells a better story about how your ads are really performing.”

Those “people” will be members of Nielsen Catalina Solutions, offering consumer package goods (CPG) brands the ability to see the impact of Facebook and Instagram on in-store purchases. Nielson’s new, “robust sales lift measurement platform for the CPG industry” will offer insights and comparisons to the industry as a whole. For example, a recent study by Nielson revealed that 42 percent of Instagram users are more likely to spend money on music than general consumers.

Facebook AnalyticsFacebook is also integrating the Life API by Oracle Data Cloud to estimate how likely people are to buy a product if they haven’t seen an ad versus those who have. “Lift uses a traditional, scientific test vs control methodology,” Facebook explained. “The test group sees an ad, while the control group does not. The difference between the two groups is the lift in sales from the ads. Lift tests can only be performed when both groups have the same characteristics, and this can only be done reliably when the measurement is people-based.”

When a consumer sees a multitude of ads, it’s difficult to determine how many ads led to the actual purchase, and oftentimes the last ad clicked is given credit—accurately or not. Facebook hopes to combat this problem and accurately determine which ads lead to purchases through a partnership with Visual IQ and Neustar. This integration will analyze historical data from different channels leading up to the purchase.

For mobile developers, Facebook has enlisted the help of seven new mobile measurement partners (Adjust, Adways Inc., AppsFlyer, Apsalar, CyberZ, Kochava and Localytics) to determine what drives mobile app installs.

These announcements are strategically timed following Facebook’s foray into eCommerce, allowing users to make purchases directly from a Messenger conversation or in the case of movie tickets, a mobile advertisement. Facebook’s ad revenue grew by 63 percent in the second quarter of 2016, and these new analytics tools will no doubt contribute to further growth—if only because marketers will jump to try the new offerings for themselves.

Procter & Gamble Hire Global Media Director And Other Industry Moves

Here are some of the top personnel moves in marketing over the last week. Our congratulations to these people taking on new challenges!

Procter & Gamble Hire Gerry D’Angelo As Global Media Director

Gerry D’Angelo (pictured above, credit: Proctor & Gamble), who is currently Mondelez International’s top European executive, will soon be taking up the newly created role of global media director at Procter & Gamble. In this role, D’Angelo will oversee the world’s biggest media budget, as the multinational consumer goods company reported in the fiscal year ending June 2015 that it spent $7.2 billion on advertising.

“I look forward to partnering with world-class marketing professionals and agency partners to harness data and technology into game,” said D’Angelo in a statement.

Discovery Communications Names Kelly Kane As SVP

Discovery Communications named Kelly Kane senior vice president of partner marketing and national accounts. Kane is a 17-year veteran at Discovery Communications, and in her new role “will be responsible for the strategic oversight and distribution of the company’s portfolio of 13 US networks including flagship cand more,” according to the press release.

Green Man Gaming Appoints Murray Beckett As New EVP Of Marketing

Global video game e-commerce technology company, Green Man Gaming, announced the appointment of Murray Beckett as the company’s new executive vice president of marketing. Before joining Green Man Gaming, Murray held senior online marketing positions at companies such as Spencers, Marks, British Airways and Nike. “Murray’s global online e-commerce expertise with some of the most forward-thinking customer facing brands will allow us to accelerate Green Man Gaming’s Award-winning growth as a technology company, said Green Man Gaming CEO and founder, Paul Sulyok in the press release. “Murray is going to push Green Man Gaming’s marketing into overdrive for our publishing partners and global gamers.”

Bloomberg Promotes Michael Shane To Global Head Of Digital Innovation

Michael Shane, the former managing editor of Bloomberg Digital, will become of the global head of digital innovation at Bloomberg Digital. In this positon, Shane will collaborate with global teams, which cover editorial, product, engineering and sales, and strategize on opportunities to grow Bloomberg’s audience, engagement and revenue. Shane joined Bloomberg in 2014, and previously worked at Vox Media as director of operations for The Verge.

Pizza Hut Appoints Helen Vaid As Chief Customer Officer

Fast food chain Pizza Hut appointed Helen Vaid as the company’s first-ever chief customer officer, a newly created executive position that’s part of the company’s leadership team. Vaid will “oversee the transformation of the Pizza Hut in-restaurant and digital customer experience. Around the world, digital ordering represents the greatest growth opportunity for Pizza Hut, and the customer journey is paramount to that experience,” according to the press release. Additionally, Vaid will lead Pizza Hut’s international e-Commerce, technology and operations business.

Prior to Pizza Hut, Vaid served as vice president of digital store operations and experience at Wal-Mart. There, she was responsible for the growth, profitability and traffic growth for the retail giant’s online site.

Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.