South Africa: Mass Market Reach With in-Game ADs

Technology & Convergence

In-game ad placement - the placing of ads alongside or within online games - is poised to break through into the mass consumer market in South Africa. One of the country's foremost online games suppliers, SkillPod Media, has inked a deal with Brabys Ad Sales.

In its 103 years of operation, Brabys has become Southern Africa's most comprehensive business directory, and has built a huge online ad sales presence on the back of this. SkillPod Media and Brabys Ad Sales have forged a strategic relationship, where the experienced and accomplished Brabys ad sales team will sell ad space on SkillPod Media games. These games appear on some of South Africa's busiest websites, including IOL, Ananzi and News24.

It's the perfect partnership to bring global in-game advertising to the mass online market in Southern Africa. The solution will give advertisers the opportunity to brand games with ads that appear before the game loads, and have strategically placed branding or product placement within the actual games.

Research indicates that most gamers aren't bothered by this form of advertising - partly because it brings an element of realism to the games. As a result, in-game ads promise better return on investment than traditional banner ads, as they are not actively ignored or disliked by players.

In-game advertising thus holds the potential to be a more effective method of reaching online consumers - particularly the elusive 18- to 34-year old male market, and female consumers, who make up more than half of all online game players. A recent report from Forrester Research indicates that in-game advertising is also the most successful way of reaching teenagers online.

The Yankee Group estimates that spending on in-game ads will reach $92 million in 2008. Longer term predictions put the total value of the in-game ad market at up to $1.8 billion by 2010 in the US alone.

The SkillPod Media/Brabys deal means that South African advertisers can now start to realise this potential. The in-game ads will be published across the SkillPod Media network of partner sites in South Africa, which will also benefit the publishing partners, as each of them shares in the revenue generated by the ad spend.

SkillPod Media's white label solution for casual games is proving to be a winner, with a mass of publishers using the solution in South Africa, New Zealand, India, UK, Ireland, Canada and the USA. The SkillPod Games application on Facebook was another step in the right direction, as social networking sites become an important element of all of our daily lives. It allows users to play games where it's most convenient for them - and means even more in-game advertising opportunities for businesses that are looking to penetrate the crucial social networking market.

Now, in a very interesting development, international telcos are looking at getting involved in the distribution and sale of gaming content to counter their revenue losses from users migrating to VoIP solutions.

SkillPod Media has also started migrating many of its popular games to Google Gadgets, allowing these fun games to be accessible to the mass global market. The company intends launching around 100 games on the Google Gadget platform.

SkillPod Media has added 6 new multiplayer games to its already massive selection of games, which includes 500 online games, 250 downloadable games and lots of other gaming content. SkillPod launched its multiplayer Pool game almost 2 years ago and this has proven to be unbelievably successful, with around 500,000 unique visitors playing in the region of 7 million games of pool a month.

(Biz-Community (Cape Town), 29 February 2008)