3 Big Takeaways From Mary Meeker’s 2017 Internet Trends Report

Mary Meeker presented her annual internet report at Recode‘s Code Conference on Wednesday, providing insight into the trends that shape our industry today. This in-depth breakdown explores the evolution of marketing from technology to entertainment, social media to video games and everything in-between.

Highlights from the 355-page slide presentation include picture searches, the slowing of smartphone shipments worldwide and how Netflix rose from a rental service to earning 30 percent of home entertainment revenue in the US.

Digital Age, By Age

You’d think that teenagers would be spending the most time with digital media, but that statistic actually belongs to consumers aged 35-49, with an average of five hours and 19 minutes each day. US consumers 65 and older consume the most time with analog media, at an average of nine hours and nine minutes. Consumers aged 18-24 divide their time between analog and digital almost in half—four hours and 35 minutes for analog and four hours, 27 minutes for digital content.

Digital media consumption is on the rise, although analog media is still consuming the most time for US consumers. (Analog includes live/DVR/time-shifted TV, AM/FM radio, DVD/Blu-ray and game consoles.) In the fourth quarter of 2016, audiences spent an average of seven hours and 16 minutes consuming analog media, compared to four hours and 14 minutes digitally.

Gaming In China

Online gaming leaders like Tencent and Netease are driving mobile innovation and revenue in China, Meeker noted. China became the number one market for interactive game revenue in 2016 and is expected to increase its lead over the US in 2017. Online gaming monetization in the country far outpaces TV in terms of hourly revenue. Chinese consumers are increasingly willing to pay for entertainment, especially in terms of online gaming, livestreaming and video.

Ad Timing Is Everything

Ad inefficiency is increasingly exposed by data, but algorithms are helping marketers get their ads in the right place at the right time. Adwords is big business for Google—helping the company achieve $679 billion market capitalization as of February 2017. While Google Adwords is based on user-entered keywords, Snapchat is benefiting from user-uploaded images, launching the company to a $25 billion capitalization.

Pinterest, meanwhile, considers itself to be an image-based search engine and could change the way consumers discover products. Currently in beta, Pinterest Lens is integrated into the user’s camera so they can use it anywhere—a quick snap of something inspiring quickly identifies food, clothing, furniture and more then offers up recipes, design ideas or similar pins.

Bud Light Goes For Second Esports Activation On Initial Success

Bud Light continues to market to esports fans. The non-endemic brand has launched the 2017 Bud Light All-Star activation, which consists of 16 top North American esports players from Call of Duty, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone and Street Fighter V as nominees fans can vote for. Fans are able to choose one player from each of the four games, who will ultimately make up the Bud Light All-Stars roster that will be announced in late June.

Bud Light All-Stars has been revamped for its second year to focus more centrally on engaging esports fans digitally. Every Thursday, beginning June 29 and running through December, a different Bud Light All-Star will stream from Bud Light’s Twitch channel during the Bud Light Happy Hour and fans will get to watch unique content while also having a chance to win exclusive prizes. This marks a significant, two-month expansion in the program’s length this year. Additionally, a documentary-style film will be produced for each of the Bud Light All-Stars that will explore their journey to esports stardom.

Bud Light All-Stars will live primarily in the digital space, but Bud Light will continue to engage esports fans through live experiences as well. It will be introducing a trial program this year to work with bars and restaurants to deliver experiences tailored specifically to esports fans, and it recently expanded its relationship with DreamHack to feature a Bud Light Lounge at both DreamHack Austin and DreamHack Atlanta.

Nick Burt, manager of experiential marketing at Anheuser-Busch, explains how the company is targeting esports fans in this exclusive interview.

How did you go about targeting gamers of legal age to drink with the initial activation, and what are the typical demographics for these games you picked from all of esports?

We know from research that esports appeals to a wide and predominantly adult audience, with the average age of an esports fan being in their early 30s. Both this year and last year, through all of our live events and digital activations, Bud Light takes very seriously its responsibility to ensure only people of legal drinking age are able to interact directly with the brand. To that end, there are checkpoints both online and at each live event to ensure the participation is limited to adults of legal drinking age.

How did you choose these four esports from all of the games out there, including the top esports title League of Legends? Did the ages of fans impact which games you targeted?

When selecting esports games for this year’s Bud Light All-Stars, we looked at a number of factors. Ultimately, there were many great options out there, which really speaks to not only the growing breadth of esports, but also its depth. We selected the four titles that we did—Call of Duty, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Hearthstone, Street Fighter V—because they all had significant fan bases of individuals 21 years or older in North America, which as you can imagine is a big priority for us. Additionally, we felt that the communities and players of these four games lined-up really solidly with the Bud Light brand. We’re constantly learning as a brand about esports, its fans, and the games and communities that make it so vibrant a space, and we’re looking forward to engaging across these four games this year and learning even more.

As the first big beer/alcohol company into esports, was there any backlash from parents or anyone? Or is esports now on a level playing field as college sports and professional sports?

Bud Light was received positively overall when it entered esports last year, and we took every possible step to ensure that only fans of legal drinking age were able to interact with our brand, both through our online digital experiences as well as at live events.

Esports is already massive by any measure, and Bud Light has always been a brand that has been a friend of the fan regardless of the sport. Esports is no different, and Bud Light treats the accomplishments of esports players and the dedication, passion, and enthusiasm of their fans as seriously as those of any other professional sport.

What type of ROI did you receive, or if you can’t get into that, how did the first year’s activation impact the Bud Light brand among gamers?

There was an immediate and high level of enthusiasm from the esports community when we announced Bud Light All-Stars in April 2016, which we attribute to being the first-ever beer brand to have entered this space and our creation of a new, unique program.

Fan engagement throughout the 2016 program was incredibly strong, and we saw a positive effect on how Bud Light was perceived by esports fans. In terms of engagement, more than 3.6 million minutes were watched on the Bud Light Twitch Channel during the 2016 Bud Light All-Stars, with more than 1.7 million consumer views of the Bud Light All-Stars streams on that channel. Additionally, there were more than 433,000 YouTube views of the documentaries made about the Bud Light All-Stars

What did you learn from your inaugural All-Star activation that you’re applying to this year’s activation?

We recognized before we launched Bud Light All-Stars that even with all of our expertise in engaging fans across professional sports, as well as the valuable input received from our partners, we were still a new brand to the esports space and that there would be ample opportunities to learn and grow.

We cast a wide net in 2016 in terms of the amount of fans we sought to engage with by selecting All-Stars from across five very different games and genres. Bud Light has tightened its focus in 2017 through a fine-tuning of the number of games (we’re now focused on four) from which All-Stars are nominated and how content will be delivered to fans.

In 2017, there will be a pronounced focus on engaging esports fans digitally. We know that digital platforms are what esports fans engage with most and we’ve dialed up our digital executions this year to ensure we’re bringing Bud Light All-Stars to places where esports fans are already engaged. For example, every Thursday, beginning June 29 and running through December, a different Bud Light All-Star will stream from Bud Light’s Twitch channel during the Bud Light Happy Hour and fans will get to watch unique content while also having a chance to win exclusive prizes. This marks a significant, two-month expansion in the program’s length.

Our documentaries chronicling the lives and careers of our All-Stars last year were very received across the board, and we’re bringing them back again this year so that fans can get a behind-the-scenes look at the life of a Bud Light All-Star.

We also learned the importance of including in our program not only players 21 and over who are excited about it and Bud Light, but are also among the top North American players in their respective games.

Esports fans are digital and mobile consumers, how are you tying into that this year with the voting process?

Fans are able to vote for this year’s Bud Light All-Stars at budlightallstars.com, and the site is available to consumers via both desktop and mobile devices. It was very important that with consumers increasingly becoming mobile-centric that we built a streamlined, simple voting process that was equally accessible across mobile devices

What role have you seen social media play in communicating with esports fans directly from last year? And how will you tap into this for this year?

Social media is a critical way of communicating with fans of any sport, and even more so within esports. Bud Light recognized this when initially heading into the esports space in 2016 and launched a dedicated Twitter handle just for esports (@BudLightEsports), as well as a Twitch account in conjunction with the announcement of Bud Light All-Stars.

Looking ahead to this year’s program, this Twitter handle will be used to keep fans updated on multiple aspects of the program, and the Bud Light All-Stars will engage fans via Twitch streams weekly from the official Bud Light Twitch account. Our Bud Light All-Stars are also extremely active on their own social channels and they will also share news about the program with their friends and fans. We also maintain relationships with our All-Stars from last year who will also be active throughout this year’s program on social media.

What has Twitch opened up for the Bud Light brand as a new engagement tool for esports fans and gamers?

Twitch has been an incredible partner since Bud Light first began developing ideas for our entry into esports more than a year ago. It’s an incredible platform that truly shows the magnitude of popularity that esports has achieved, both from a professional player perspective as well as that of the fans. For us at Bud Light, focusing our efforts on Twitch this year is a testament to how strongly we believe in the ability of it to help connect us to the multitude of esports fans across genres in a way that we really could not do as effectively or efficiently any other way.

Our new campaign “Famous Among Friends” celebrates friendships and a platform like Twitch can truly make an esports player famous among not only their friends, but people around the world. We love the community aspect of friends coming together to play and watch esports on Twitch. This program and partnership are a natural extension of our overall campaign.

Once the winners have been chosen, will there be some type of live event?

Bud Light is very excited to announce the 2017 Bud Light All-Stars in late June, and we’ll have more information on how we’ll be announcing them in the coming weeks.

We’ve seen Buffalo Wild Wings bring ELeague into its chain. How is Bud Light working with bars and restaurants to connect with esports fans?

Bud Light will be introducing a trial program later this year to work with select bars and restaurants to deliver experiences tailored specifically to esports fans. Bud Light has been a leader in creating incredible experiences for fans of other professional sports—football, basketball, baseball, hockey, just to name a few—and its view is that esports fans deserve the same caliber of experiences.

What type of fan engagement have you seen through your DreamHack partnership as that brand expands across the US?

Bud Light has seen a strong connection built between fans and the brand through its presence at DreamHack events, beginning at 2016’s DreamHack Austin where the Bud Light Lounge was first introduced. The Bud Light Lounge, which returned to DreamHack this year in Austin and the upcoming stop in Atlanta, provides fans with a premium experience where they can enjoy a crisp, refreshing Bud Light while having an enhanced view of some of the biggest esports action. Fans have embraced the level of access that Bud Light provides through these lounges, which are free to enter for fans that are 21 and older

What similarities do you see between the current esports fanbase and those of college and professional sports?

Bud Light is the beer that friends, regardless of the sport they watch, reach for and enjoy together. We view esports fans in much the same way that we view fans of other professional sports: they are incredibly passionate about the games, teams, and players they follow, and both Twitch streams and competitions are viewing experiences where Bud Light plays a natural role as the beer that can be enjoyed with friends as they watch their favorite players play the games the love.

What opportunities do you see the rise of collegiate esports opening up for your brand?

Bud Light is focused solely on the professional esports space as part of its Bud Light All-Stars program. As a beer brand, we want to ensure that we’re only engaging with individuals 21 and older, and so the college esports space is not an area that we currently are active in.

What’s the message you want esports fans to connect with Bud Light?

Bud Light’s activities in esports are a natural extension of what the brand has long stood for in sports as well as its new “Famous Among Friends” campaign: we are the friends of the fan and we enhance their sports experiences. We know the esports community enjoys gaming together with friends and we’re committed to being respectful and staying true to everything that makes that community special already while supporting its continued growth.

Take-Two Taps New 2K Games President; Staples Names CMO

David Ismailer, who has been with Take-Two Interactive Software since 2002, has been promoted to president of 2K Games. Ismailer replaces former president Christoph Hartmann.

“Having been at 2K since day one, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside some of the most talented and committed professionals in our industry,” Ismailer said in a statement. “I am immensely proud of what we have achieved together. My goal is to enable and empower our teams further, and to provide them with the opportunity to build upon our rich history of creating innovative and engaging entertainment experiences for audiences around the world.”

Michelle Bottomley has been appointed CMO for Staples. Bottomley replaces Frank Bifulco, who had previously announced his intention to retire in 2017.

“Michelle brings tremendous breadth and balance in the marketing profession, and has a well-earned reputation as a leader of high-performing teams,” said Staples’ CEO and president Shira Goodman. “Her strong background in business-to-business marketing, including working closely with and leading sales teams, and deep expertise in digital marketing will be critical as we transform Staples to be a solutions provider for businesses.”

Brandon Rhoten has joined Papa John’s International as their new global CMO. Rhoten recently served as vice president of advertising, media and digital/social at Wendy’s International.

“Brandon was a key contributor in Wendy’s resurgence within the QSR Hamburger category, advancing their brand positioning, creative, media, digital marketing, and now renowned social media presence,” said Steve Ritchie, president and COO of Papa John’s. “He is a disruptor in the QSR industry, and we are excited for him to further enhance Papa John’s brand relevancy and quality positioning across our marketing channels globally.”

Mondelez International has hired Jonathan Halvorson as vice president of global media and digital. Halvorson previously was the director of global video strategy and operations at Twitter.

Brian Ames, a former growth director for Snap Inc., has left the company to serve as president of advertising for mobile game studio King.

Facebook has hired a pair of former CEOs. Nada Stirratt has been appointed as Facebook’s vice president of global marketing solutions for the US and Canada. Ty Ahmad-Taylor has been named vice president of product marketing.

Apple News, a mobile news aggregation app which the Cupertino-based company launched in the summer of 2015, is getting its first ever editor-in-chief in Lauren Kern, who left her position as executive editor of New York Magazine.

Joe Carney has been named senior vice president of sales and brand partnerships for The Player’s Tribune.

Live events VR platform Virtually Live announced the appointment of Markus Tellenbach as its new group CEO.

Former Condé Nast senior executive Holly Lang has joined iPic Entertainment as their new CMO.

Intel Corporation announced that its board of directors has promoted three corporate officers. Navin Shenoy was promoted from senior vice president to executive vice president. Gregory Bryant was promoted from corporate vice president to senior vice president. Sandra Rivera was promoted from corporate vice president to senior vice president.

Tidal CEO Jeff Toig has left the music subscription service founded by rapper Jay-Z. Toig is the company’s third chief executive to leave their post.

(Editor’s Note: This post will be updated daily until Friday, June 2. Have a new hire tip? Let us know at editorial@alistdaily.com.)

Job Vacancies 

Director, Digital Programs, Martech & Personalization Starbucks Seattle
Vice President, Marketing Wesgroup Vancouver, BC
Worldpay Atlanta, GA
Marketing Director Essendant Philadelphia, PA
Director of Marketing Office Solutions Company Vancouver, BC
Chief Marketing Officer Gibson Brands, Inc. Nashville, TN
Vice President of Marketing Feed the Children Oklahoma City, OK
Banana Republic San Francisco, CA

Make sure to check back for updates on our Jobs Page.

‘Tekken 7’ Is Ready To Fight Thanks To Hands-On Promotions

Tekken 7 releases globally for PC, PS4 and Xbox One this weekend, but from its reputation, you’d think it has been out for some time. Bandai Namco has spent a year cultivating a dedicated fan base through esports competitions and strategic partnerships—building awareness and hype ahead of the game’s debut.

Released for Japanese arcades in 2015, Tekken 7 had already gained a reputation overseas but the team at Bandai Namco had to find a way to bring stateside awareness. The answer was simple—let people play it. The publisher created the esports tournament King of Iron Fist, named after Tekken‘s in-game event that is pivotal to the story line.

Proving Grounds Preview

Bandai Namco took King of Iron Fist to 16 different US cities. In addition to Wizard World conventions, the game was also featured at bigger indie tournaments like Combo Breaker, Final Round, Evo and the Soul Calibur Regionals across North America. It was free for anyone to enter, and there was a $3,000 prize pool at each location.

“We’re just getting our feet wet in esports,” Mark Religioso, brand manager for Tekken 7 at Bandai Namco told AListDaily. “Our goal was to meet the right people and right partners for the post-launch esports activation. We’re looking at what other publishers are doing and seeing what fans like and don’t like about tours and applying that to [2017].”

Road To King Of Iron Fist, a documentary about the tournament premiered on Twitch on May 15, delving deeper into the origins, players and emotional roller coaster associated with an undertaking this size.

The competition is far from over, as Twitch and Bandai Namco have formed an exclusive partnership to create the Tekken World Tour—a six-month season with a total prize pool of over $200,000. As with King of Iron Fist, hometown tournaments remain at the heart of Tekken‘s game plan.

“With the Tekken World Tour, we are able to provide a concrete structure to the grassroots tournament scene—and a clear path for players to aspire to,” Twitch program manager Richard Thiher told AListDaily. “This will only help invigorate the existing Tekken community to train harder, as well as inspire new fans to join the scene.”

Mixing It Up

Tekken 7 pits father-against-son so the tagline is “The Best Fights Are Personal.” Bandai Namco teamed up with platinum-selling hip hop artist Kid Ink to write an original song for the game—an offer he eagerly agreed to, being a long-time fan.

In addition to the song and behind the scenes video, Kid Ink created his own Tekken 7 playlist on Spotify.

Friends In The Fight

WWE champion Alexa Bliss joined the team at Wizard World, where fans could try the game and enter for a chance to win a copy of their own. The wrestling partnership mirrors a similar theme earlier this year when Bandai Namco teamed up with Pro Wrestling Japan—adding costumes and moves for a crossover promotion.

Tekken 7 costumes are now available for purchase in Little Big Planet 3. Fans can dress Sack Boy or Sack Girl as Asuka Kazama, King, Jack-7, Alisa Bosconovitch, Yoshimitsu or Devil Jin.

New Game, End Of An Era

Tekken 7 represents the final chapter of the 20-year-long Mishima feud story line. Since the first game in 1994, Tekken has been about the conflict between various generations of the Mishima clan that usually ended badly—like being thrown off a cliff. To help players get up to speed on Kazuya and the Mishima conflict thus far, Bandai Namco released an 8-bit animated recap video.

The entire Tekken story has focused on revenge, so an end to the Mishima clan saga could open up the series to new themes. For now, though, fans can don their limited edition Tekken 7 sukajan jackets and get ready for battle.

AMD Promotes ‘Baahubali 2’ Movie With Epic Sized VR Experience

AMD is growing its presence in the movie industry, particularly with virtual reality promotions. Last year, it partnered with Alienware, Fox Innovation Lab and Practical Magic to promote the movie Assassin’s Creed with a five-minute virtual reality experience. This year, the computer hardware company is gradually launching its line of super-powerful Ryzen processors along with the Radeon 500 series of video cards, and it’s looking to show off their capabilities with some extreme projects. In comes a massive-sized movie from India called Baahubali 2: The Conclusion to fill that need.

Baahubali (which translates to “The One with Strong Arms”) is an epic Indian historical fiction film series written and directed by S. S. Rajamouli. As its title might indicate, Baahubali 2 is the long-awaited sequel to Baahubali: The Beginning. The movie premiered in late April and it has been breaking global box office records ever since, becoming one of the highest-grossing Indian films of all time, having brought in over $160 million US within ten days. It is almost sure to break even more records once it hits Chinese theaters later this year.

AMD helped to promote the film with a custom designed VR experience called The Sword of Baahubali, which bears little resemblance to the Assassin’s Creed VR Experience. Unlike Assassin’s Creed, which used live-action footage collected during the shooting of the movie, Baahubali uses all computer-generated graphics for its settings and characters. The elaborate experience, which was featured at events such as the Tribeca Film Festival ahead of the movie’s premiere, plays out similarly to a video game. The point-of-view switches to the first-person and users can then interact with their environments by choosing different paths or manipulating objects by gazing at them.

Daryl Sartain, director and worldwide head of virtual reality and displays at AMD’s Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), spoke with AListDaily about how AMD came to work on The Sword of Baahubali.

“AMD collaborated with ArkaMedia and the producer S. S. Rajamouli on the first Baahubali movie, then continued our engagement on this second movie,” said Sartain, explaining how the VR experience began. “As this second movie was being crafted, we discussed the opportunity to co-develop a VR experience around the same storyline. This VR experience was planned to launch with a lengthy experience across many cities in India.”

According to Sartain, AMD became involved with Baahubali because the epic scope of the movie required extreme processing power for its digital effects. “Modern movies leverage massive digital assets—rendered environments—and therefore the studios require equally massive CPU and GPU compute capability,” he said. “This is the domain in which AMD excels and is the reason for our initial collaboration.”

The experience was shown using an HTC Vive and was demoed at venues such as the Tribeca Film Festival, and Sartain said that it “received tremendous reactions to the realism and immersion,” fully demonstrating what AMD Ryzen processors and Radeon video cards are capable of.

When asked why AMD chose to use digital characters instead of live actors, as was with the Assassin’s Creed VR Experience, Sartain explained that “the final solution is a blend of both worlds. However, digital characters provide the ability to interact with the experience.” A separate representative told AListDaily that AMD worked with Rajamouli to create the experience, and his vision for the environments were so big and vast that it had to be created digitally.

Sartain said that AMD is currently in discussions with various venues around the world to bring The Sword of Baahubali onto the market. Furthermore, even though The Sword of Baahubali bears some similarities to a video game, Sartain doesn’t think VR entertainment should be compared directly with video games because “they have unique value propositions to consumers.” He then added that “movies are one of the largest entertainment sectors in the world today, and we believe that VR can provide an additional value to large portions of the movie industry.”

In discussing how AMD is using VR to promote its products, Sartain said that “VR is being evaluated in almost every business and entertainment sector today. Our goal is to ensure that the experiences or tools needed for this emerging industry are tuned and ready to provide the best performance possible on our hardware.”

As VR technology continues to grow, Sartain said that he hopes to see more investment in educational and “experiential” content. “Items that are of interest to a broad base of consumers,” he clarified. In the meantime, users can embark on epic adventures with Baahubali.