Video games: as valuable for advertisers as a TV network?
I have long thought that video games are an excellent place to advertise. Who is more engaged than a video gamer, eyes riveted to the screen, jaw slightly slack, ears unable to hear anything but the sound of his or her gun blowing off rival heads?
Apparently Nielsen agrees. According to The Video Game Handbook, a study by Nielsen PreView, Americans used their video game consoles - Wii, Xbox, Playstation — for a total of 64 billion minutes in December. (The study did not include online games or computer-based games, which could add substantially to the total.)
While that usage may be mostly for video games, Nielsen also counted any time the video console was in use, including to watch Blu-Rays or to download movies via an online service. Still, that’s more time than they spent watching any network except the top four.
But Nielsen says this is not cause for alarm. Gamers ‘ use tends to peak at 7 p.m., while network primetime viewership peaks at 9 p.m. Both heavy and light gamers tended to watch 230 minutes of television per day.
No wonder 80% of the country has a weight problem and the economy melted down. Leave the house people! Buy something!
Nielsen goes on to recommend that advertisers use this dual addiction in their favor, folding ads in to both video games and TV programs.
“Gamers are a sophisticated media consumer, digesting media at a higher rate than the average consumer,” the report says. “When advertising on networks, understand this and complement your message across the media.”
The report also points out that “Xbox Live and PlayStation Network offer download options for many TV and cable shows, movies, Internet browsing (Wii & PS3), even Netflix (on Xbox 360). The game console continues to evolve as a hub for consuming various forms of media.” It’s a side note, but I think the popularity of game consoles are one reason that IPTV has failed to really take off. Consumers already can get an IPTV experience from their game consoles.
While I believe advertising on video games is a smart move, I wonder where all this advertising is going to come from. An adage of the media business is that the advertising pie never grows, it’s just redistributed. Video games now are just another competitor for the consumer’s eye.
Bob Garfield of Ad Age/On the Media fame on Monday posted an excerpt from his upcoming book, The Chaos Scenario. In that excerpt, he quotes Wenda Harris Millard, co-CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, who says: “Advertising simply cannot support all the media that’s out there.”
That sentence really struck me. It’s completely simple but absolutely true. The Internet offers a nearly limitless supply of advertising. Look at what Craig’s List has done to newspapers.
Still, some media will get more prized in this world of too much content, and I think video games are one of those. Hit TV shows — no matter where they air — are another. But at this point media companies also need to come up with other ways to support themselves besides advertising. I’d like to see Nielsen do a study on that.