Will Dorling, UK director of brand sales at AdColony, discusses why it's time for advertisers to capitalise on the success of mobile gaming
What a difference a year makes: One year ago, Netflix was worried about WarnerMedia, Disney/Fox and Amazon taking away market share with their video streaming services. Now, in 2019, who is Netflix most worried about? None of these. No, Netflix claimed: “We compete with (and lose to) Fortnite, more than HBO.”
If that isn’t a sign of the times, I don’t know what is. A massive media company like Netflix – which, may I remind you, was the original disruptor of television – now worried not about others in its space (e.g., video streaming) but looking at the larger market to see who is competing for user attention. Because that’s really what this is about, isn’t it? Attention?
Netflix is a multi-billion-dollar company with 150m paid subscribers; it’s safe to say that they already have plenty of ‘attention’. However, when they observe that a company just two years old now has 250m players, it’s no wonder they see that as a threat.
But it’s not just about the numbers. Here’s why Netflix, and every other media company for that matter, is sitting up and taking notice of the mobile gaming space.
It’s easy to think that every time someone has a free moment they open up Instagram and start scrolling, but the fact is, for every one minute spent with social platforms, consumers spent two minutes across other apps. And those ‘other apps’ are predominantly games. According to On Device Mobile Gaming Research, nine out of 10 UK adults are playing mobile games, with an average session time of 5.3 minutes – the longest of any category. Some 66 per cent of gamers in the UK play every day, and those who play every day, typically play games 5 times or more per day. So, whether it’s a long session in a battle royale game or a short session with a hyper-casual game, there is something for everyone to explore in their ‘off’ minutes.
It’s also rare to find a TV or PC users who is 100 per cent focused on what is in front of them. Three-quarters of the UK population is using a smartphone while watching TV (93 per cent of under-25s) and ‘double screening’ is now the norm. When mobile users are playing games, however, their time is more focused than when they are in other channels – because if they don’t pay attention, they don’t win!
The mobile gaming market is at $70.3bn, growing more than 25 per cent year-over-year. Compare that to the global box office, which topped out at $41.7bn, growing just 2.6 per cent. Mobile games cannot be pigeonholed any longer, it is a true entertainment channel of scale, a competitor to the major broadcast & cable networks. Mobile gaming is where people are spending time, enjoying premium content – and advertisers should sit up and take notice of that, too.