Tencent reported to consolidate 3 content business groups

Tencent is consolidating three content business groups to form one unit, as well as create a new unit for cloud and smart industries, according to multiple media reports including Reuters, Nikkei Asian Review and the Wall Street Journal.

The company will also further explore the integration of social, content and technology that is “more suitable” for future trends. Media reports stated that the gaming and social media firm is also looking to promote the upgrade from consumer internet to industrial internet. A technology committee will be formed to strengthen Tencent’s research and development, as well as promote collaboration and innovation.

WSJ reported that online media and mobile internet are among the content business groups that will be consolidated, while video games will continue to operate under the interactive entertainment group.

The move is seen as a bid to boost its cloud-based data offering services for corporate clients, an area which is dominated by Alibaba Group in China. The restructure also aims to improve Tencent’s content offering for various services such as WeChat, games and music.

Tencent’s spokesperson confirmed to Marketing that there will be no layoffs.

The company posted a revenue of RMB73,675 million for the second quarter of its financial year ended 30 June 2018 (Q2 2018), representing a 30% year-on-year increase. This was driven primarily by payment-related services, digital content subscriptions and sales, social and others advertising, and smartphone games.

Its online advertising business saw a 39% increase to RMB14,110 million Q2 2018. Social and others advertising revenues increased by 55% to RMB9,380 million, due to its mobile advertising network and Weixin and QQ KanDian. Media advertising revenues grew by 16% to RMB4,730 million. The growth mainly reflected greater contributions from Tencent Video as a result of its content portfolio and advertisers’ sponsorship campaigns.

Meanwhile, social networks revenue increased by 30% to RMB16,867 million, driven by higher contributions from digital content services such as video streaming subscriptions and live broadcast services.

Revenue from Tencent’s value-added services business increased by 14% to RMB42,069 million for Q2 2018. Online games revenue increased by 6% to RMB25,202 million, due to growth in revenues from smartphone games such as Honour of Kings and QQ Speed Mobile.

Source: marketing-interactive.com; 1 Oct 2018

Mastercard signs up as first global sponsor of League of Legends esport

Three-year deal is the first for the Riot Games title.

The League of Legends 2017 World Championship

The League of Legends 2017 World Championship

Mastercard has thrown its weight behind one of the largest esport titles in the world with a multi-year sponsorship of League of Legends.

The three-year deal represents the first global sponsorship for the Riot Games-owned League of Legends franchise.

Other big-name brand sponsors include Mercedes-Benz, Doritos, Acer, L’Oréal, Gillette and Adidas, but they are involved in League of Legends tournaments and teams at a regional level only.

The Mastercard agreement involves three of League of Legends’ annual global tournaments – the Mid-Season Invitational, the All-Star Event and the World Championship.

Mastercard and League of Legends have not disclosed how much the deal is worth. Huge sums are currently being poured into esports and it reportedly costs $10 million to buy a team franchise in the League of Legends Championship Series.

Mastercard chief marketing and communications officer Raja Rajamannar said: “Esports is a phenomenon that continues to grow in popularity, with fans that can rival those at any major sporting event in their enthusiasm and energy.”

The brand will act as payment services partner at League of Legends global esports events and the deal adds to Mastercard’s heavy investment in sports, including its Champions League sponsorship.

There are currently more than 860 professional players on 113 professional League of Legends esports teams competing across 14 leagues around the world.

League of Legends is the most-played PC game in the world, with more than 100 million monthly active players. As of March 2018, viewership of the regular League of Legends season averaged 90 million live hours each week.

Naz Aletaha, head of esports partnerships at Riot Games, said: “Mastercard is among the first of world-class brands to take such a big step into esports at the global level and we’re proud to have them support League of Legends esports events alongside their other premier sports and entertainment sponsorships.”

As part of the agreement, Mastercard will invite fans to events to take part in experiences as part of its “Priceless” marketing activity.

The first live event will take place at the World Championship later in the autumn in South Korea.

Source: campaignasia.com; 20 Sep 2018

Brands now get the power of gaming: Twitch co-founder

Kevin Lin says from gaming streams to esports, advertisers are finally giving the world’s largest entertainment genre the respect it deserves.

It’s taken a while but brands are now on board with the world of gaming, with the meteoric rise of esports being a critical catalyst, says Twitch co-founder and COO Kevin Lin.

Speaking to reporters at the All That Matters conference in Singapore, Lin said gaming is now being seen as “both a marketing tool and commercial opportunity” for numerous brands outside the industry and that esports has been “a great path for that”.

“We’re all about creators [at Twitch], but esports is a great amplifier of everything and its own industry now,” he says.

Founded in 2011, Twitch quickly established itself as the go-to streaming platform for the gaming community, which until then had been at best underserved and at worst ignored by the business and digital world.

“But now that you’ve got all these big investors from sports and music coming in, celebrities getting involved, that’s brought a lot of mainstream attention, which has been very positive,” Lin says. “Sponsors now get it more, there are more people evangelising, more people inventing other business models around it.”

For Lin, the equation is simple for advertisers, and it’s only surprising that it’s taken so long for many to understand the value of today’s gamers, who are a far cry from the stigmatised introverted shut-outs they have been portrayed as for so long.

“They don’t just play games 24 hours a day, they go to concerts, get on planes, stay in hotels, all the things millennials do,” he states wryly. “We have a very desirable, young millennial audience, that’s very present on the site—15 million people a day watch for two hours, probably one of the most engaged platforms on the internet.

“So that’s been a really good story to tell to advertisers and brands, and we’re continuing to innovate and re-invent solutions for them to reach our audience, whether that’s content activations, esports activations or products that really lean in to the culture of Twitch.”

Amazon bought Twitch in 2014 for US$970 million, a deal that helped shift the platform into the mainstream. However, Twitch has come under significant fire recently for the changes to its subscription Twitch Prime product. Rolled into the suite of Amazon Prime services, Twitch Prime users are now seeing advertising, unlike before, despite the fact they are paying a subscription. Those that want to go ad free must pay an additional subscription fee for new service Twitch Turbo.

Lin says plainly that the changes were largely made to expand Twitch’s variety of revenue sources. “It helps our creators and it helps us. I mean, we’re a business, we have to be able to make money. Kevin Lin

“Historically as we’ve surveyed our users, around subs particularly, the feedback has largely been the reason why they’re buying [is] around supporting streamers. So [ad revenue] felt like an ok thing to tease out. People understand that creators make money from that advertising, and Prime users are high-value viewers on the site. So it seemed like the right decision.”

Lin is quick to add that the changes are being closely monitored, as is user feedback. “We felt like it was a safe bet, but we’ll see. We listen to our users, we listen to our community, we shift our products around all the time, but it felt like the right thing to do.”

More broadly, for advertisers, Lin says the growing sophistication of streamers and esports athletes in their interactions with brands means the industry is at the start of a new and exciting period for advertisers to get deeper, more meaningful engagement with the gaming audience.

This stems, says Lin, from the fundamental difference between esports athletes and traditional athletes: proximity to fans. “Esports athletes develop a much tighter relationship with their fans. They’re much more accessible and approachable, and in fact they’re there talking to you, potentially playing games with you. You don’t really get that kind of access to athletes.

As brands start to learn about the space, and players start to engage with more brands, Lin believes there will be “unique ways” to reach the gaming audience that are more native to the format.

“Posting a picture on Instagram and getting paid to do that is great, and you might actually see decent results as an advertiser doing that, but there are many deeper ways to get involved as brands,” he says. “That’s just getting started.”

Source: campaignasia.com; 13 Sep 2018

Google launches game on Tencent’s Wechat as it eyes China market

Alphabet Inc’s Google has launched an artificial intelligence (AI) game on Tencent Holdings Ltd social media app WeChat, as the company continues to show tentative signs of re-entering China’s consumer market.

The U.S. technology firm has been experimenting with new inroads to the China, where the majority of its products including its internet search engine, email and app store are blocked by Chinese authorities over censorship concerns.

Last year, Google launched its ‘Google Translate’ app in China, and in May it added a file management app to several app stores run by local Chinese firms, a first for the company.

The latest product, Caihua Xiaoge, is a drawing game based on Google’s AI image recognition technology, and is a WeChat ‘mini app’, which works only within Tencent’s WeChat. Several foreign firms, including Starbucks Corp, have also launched mini apps.

Google in January announced a patent licensing deal with Tencent with the intention of collaborating further in the Chinese market. Last month, the U.S. firm also invested $550 million in JD.com Inc, China’s second most valuable e-commerce firm which also counts Tencent as an investor.

While it is unlikely Google will be able to open its global search engine in China, the firm is experimenting with less controversial projects in the market. In January it participated in a $120 million investment round by live-stream mobile game platform Chushou.

Source: reuters.com; 18 July 2018

Paytm, Alibaba’s AGTech Holdings launch new mobile gaming platform

Gamepind, the new gaming platform of Paytm and AGTech Holdings, will be available as a standalone app and in the Paytm app

Mobile payments company Paytm and Alibaba Group-owned AGTech Holdings Ltd have formed a joint venture to launch Gamepind, a gaming platform aimed at mobile users in India.

Gamepind will offer a host of popular social, casual and sports games with an exclusive rewards programme. The platform will be available as a standalone app and in the Paytm app, the company said in a statement on Monday.

In addition, the platform will offer cash coupons and products, which will serve as a marketing and promotional platform for merchants to engage with mobile shoppers and gamers.

The joint venture between Alibaba’s AGTech Holdings and Paytm was originally signed in July 2017. AGTech Media currently holds 45% in the joint venture, and Paytm owns the rest. At the time of signing of the agreement, Paytm’s parent company One97 invested $8.8 million in the venture for its 55% stake, and AGTech Holdings put in $7.2 million for its 45% stake.

“India’s young consumers are experimenting and discovering more entertainment options on the mobile. Gaming is therefore growing in the country and becoming big with mobile users. We are happy to partner with AGTech to build an incredible gaming destination. AGTech’s expertise and experience in global gaming market will help us accelerate our plans in gaming and bring exciting content to our users,” Vijay Shekhar Sharma, chief executive officer of Paytm, said in a statement.

“We are excited to partner with Paytm to localize this unique platform for its 300 million and growing registered customer base by combining Paytm’s local resources and our expertise in gaming and other user engagement activities. A member of Alibaba Group and Ant Financial Group, we have been active in looking for international expansion opportunities capitalizing on the vibrant ecosystems of Alibaba Group and Ant Financial Group,” John Sun, chairman of AGTech, said in the statement.

Source: livemint.com; 29 Jan 2018

3 Trends on YouTube That Prove Gaming Culture Isn’t So Niche

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, gaming is deeply ingrained in pop culture today: Game tunes are showing up in electronic music, workout classes are getting “gamified,” and Hollywood is rolling out the red carpet for movies about games like “Ready Player One.”

Gaming has gone mainstream—so much so that, according to gaming trends analyst Newzoo, it’s one of the most-watched content categories on YouTube today.1

This presents a big opportunity for brands, game-related or not. Gamers are a highly engaged and influential audience on YouTube. But what are they tuning into? What is gaming content all about?

You may think gaming content is niche, but it’s not that different from other content people are watching on YouTube—like competitive sports, how-to, and unboxing videos.

Click here for full article

Source: thinkwithgoogle.com; June 2017

Gamification marketing to overtake traditional media spend: Fashionbi

With the growth of entertainment on mobile and digital, brands are discovering that by creating marketing efforts with a game-like experience, they make a larger impact.

Italian fashion house Fendi and London’s Harrods department store recently worked together to create a memory game on mobile where users had to match photos of the brand’s handbags. Marketers are adopting more strategies such as this in an attempt to better connect with consumers, with market spend in this way likely to overtake traditional spend.

“The key takeaway is that market of online games is growing, more and more people are using there smartphones for the entertainment (aka gaming) and communication,” said Yana Bushmeleva, chief operating officer at Fashionbi, Milan. “People of all ages are involved in this activity, the case of Pokémons last year demonstrated how successful and global the gaming industry is.

“Important to remember that gamification marketing is not necessarily pure online experience, but can be an omni-experience combining online and offline environments,” she said.

Gamifying marketing

A report from Fashionbi is predicting that by 2019, digital media spend will reach between $7 and $8 billion with traditional media staying at $6 billion.

Video games and broadband are the fastest growing media spend categories, and will likely continue to be.

Marketers are dramatically shift to buying ad spend on digital, with products and services as opposed to traditional media.

With the popularity of Pokémon Go last summer, many brands such as LVMH beauty retailer Sephora opted to partner with the app to gamify their strategy and drive customer loyalty.

Retailers who implement a form of rewards and loyalty with a game-like experience are likely to see the most success.

Advertisers should consider partnering with popular game apps such as Pokémon Go

Footwear manufacturer Jimmy Choo also implemented a gamifying experience for the release of sneakers in London, and became one of the first marketers to do so.

Games and brands

The most effective game-like marketing strategies should be able to span offline and online in an omnichannel experience.

Scavenger hunts can be an extremely effective campaign for brands, with consumers of all demographics being interested in interacting with the brand. But the game can also drive in-store sales.

For instance, department store chain Bloomingdale’s generated excitement with an interactive shopping experience.

The retailer partnered with Museum Hack to create #BloomiesHack scavenger hunt shopping experiences at its flagship store on 59th Street in New York. The potential for prizes attracted new and aspirational customers, allowing Bloomingdale’s to initiate a positive lasting relationship with a new market segment.

However, standard mobile video games can also be a big benefit to brands in drawing attention and connecting to consumers and fans.

For instance, Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer brought its timekeeping capabilities to a new, digital arena to engage with the next generation of consumers.

Tag Heuer made its video game debut in the Gran Turismo Sport, becoming the auto racing franchise’s first watch partner. Providing depth to the partnership, Tag Heuer made an appearance within an in-game digital museum, giving the watchmaker the opportunity to educate racing fans on its history with the sport.

“The most surprising thing is that gamification marketing doesn’t mean cheap campaign for mass market brands, but it also could be a tactic for the premium and luxury industry,” Fashionbi’s Ms. Bushmeleva said. “Jimmy Choo was one of the first brands to propose a gamification campaign for the launch of new sneakers in London.”

Source: luxury.com; 21 Apr 2017