IGN Entertainment, a media, digital distribution, and game technology company, and a division of News Corporation, recently announced that it will incorporate FreeWheel's Revenue & Payments Management (RPM) system to bring together reporting across syndication channels Read more.
Bernard Ho, VP/GM of Video at IGN Entertainment, discussed the deal and its implications.
AdExchanger.com: How does FreeWheel help IGN address advertising?
BH: FreeWheel is our video ad server and one of the things that's unique about them is they have enabled syndication partners for us, most notably YouTube, 5min and Justin.tv. The fact that we can look at our inventory across all of these different platforms where our content lives gives us a huge advantage - by delivering value for our audience and tapping into these different pools of inventory.
So, where this sets us apart from our competitors is that we have a huge owned‑and‑operated audience, but we deliver our content to other sites as well.
In addition to the ad serving, we are in the beta program for FreeWheel's RPM product and seeing some value in using this new product to integrate all of the back‑end reporting systems. We won't have to go into 15 different reporting systems and calculate each one separately anymore.
Why is it important that IGN remains nimble, in terms of reaching its audience?
We actually believe that the audiences on the Internet don't move around that much. This is something we've learned over time. I'll give you the example of YouTube. We joined YouTube and launched our channel about four years ago. From there, we slowly started syndicating out content onto YouTube, because we were afraid of cannibalization.
But, our YouTube views grew tremendously at the same time as growth on our owned‑and‑operated sites.
So we opened the valve a little bit more, to the point where now, we're syndicating as much content as possible onto YouTube which has become much larger than our audience on our owned‑and‑operated sites. That's when a partner like FreeWheel becomes important - when we have viewership on a number of different platforms, which each have their own unique reporting. To be able to bring that all together under one system and rationalize the reporting, is valuable to us.
Where do you see YouTube in your plans strategically? YouTube appears to be the new broadcast outlet. What's your view?
There was news last month about them releasing a $100 million fund and launching a number of channels. I believe they're going to be the next big cable MSO, which is all going to be delivered online.
We're launching a new channel called Start on YouTube, and it's going to focus on bringing the world of gaming to the mainstream – this will be in addition to our existing YouTube channel, which has more than 1.6 million subscribers.
YouTube is looking into longer engagements now and IGN wants to help.We're going from an average of a four‑minute run time to a10‑minute run time per clip on the new channel.
How is it breaking out in terms of advertisers through IGN content? Are you seeing any trends there?
The majority of our buys are from brands, and we are definitely top of mind for the endemic as we have a valued position with the gaming companies. But we are able to appeal to direct response advertisers, too.
By John Ebbert