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Gaming: Connected TV’s Hidden Champion

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April Tayson, Regional Vice President at Adjust, INSEA | 7 June 2021

Photo by @glenncarstenspeters on Unsplash

Connected TV (CTV), largely associated with streaming services, has become a game changer in the way people interact with television screens, and it is not hard to see why. When people buy an Apple TV or Roku box, a Samsung smart TV or an Amazon Fire TV stick, they usually do so to watch the content provided by services such as Netflix, Disney + and Hulu. 

Through each of these services and platforms, consumers can also download apps directly onto their television. The technology powering CTVs have allowed consumers to play games, watch shows, edit holiday footage, learn a new language, listen to Spotify, do yoga or take fitness classes. Indeed, how consumers interact with the television has changed, which signals the birth of a new and exciting advertising ecosystem. 

Growth in Gaming

The Adjust Mobile App Growth Report revealed that gaming is the world’s top-ranking vertical. Games have been showing a constant growth trend from 2020, leading to more investments in the industry. Innovative business models such as hyper-casual games designed to engage users with simplistic, satisfying mechanics, have contributed to gaming’s upward trend. Southeast Asia’s statistics suggest that well-placed apps can grow fast if they have the right geographic strategy. With Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam registering high growth scores, marketers have massive opportunities to reach an untapped audience.

According to a survey by GMO Research, the majority of gamers in Asia spend at least 30 minutes to 2 hours per week on games.   As online video gaming continues to rise in popularity, gaming in CTV opens additional channels to advertisers to reach a highly engaged audience.

Along with the growth of online gaming, there has been an increase in the amount of gaming content viewed on video game streaming platforms. In fact, YouTube Gaming describes 2020 as their biggest year ever as the streaming site achieved a milestone of 100 billion watch time hours and more than 40 million active gaming channels. In addition, major e-sports tournaments have also grown in popularity beyond just hardcore gamers. For instance, League of Legends Champions Korea 2020 clocked a total of 33 million watch hours

When it comes to popularity, most categories from Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku have managed to produce only a handful of apps that attract huge crowds. Next to video streaming, gaming is the only vertical for which a substantial number of apps has become so popular.  

Moreover, gaming applications appear to be more willing and receptive to advertising as a monetization model. In Asia, more than 1 billion people watch free or ad-supported streaming video. With the presence and popularity of gaming applications in CTVs, advertisers should take notice and leverage this advertising medium. Obviously, advertising in video streaming apps is a different game than in mobile apps. Consumption of video content is a laid-back experience, making people receptive to video advertisements. Playing games, on the other hand, is a highly engaging activity, which provides less fruitful context for video ads. However, engagement in CTV gaming apps presents opportunities for very clear call-to-action or product placement, while the size of the television screen still allows for high-quality advertising. 

Lastly, CTV has inherited huge chunks of the approach to advertising from traditional TV. This has to do with the fact that most video streaming services have a background in traditional television. With its heavy emphasis on branding, CTV ads are somewhat stuck in leaden buying processes and offers limited capabilities in terms of targeting and measurement. 

Gaming companies, by contrast, are very much used to selling their inventory programmatically, and work with targets way further down the sales funnel. They could therefore provide a very effective partner for advertisers eager to turn CTV into a performance channel. 

In general, it is easy to overlook the potential of gaming for connected TV, but they are certainly a force to be reckoned with in terms of numbers and popularity. Advertisers can make ample use of the many opportunities CTV gaming apps provide to engage consumers hungry for on-demand entertainment. 

This article is attributed to April Tayson, Regional Vice President at Adjust, INSEA. Find out more about Adjust here.

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