Advertising in video games


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Viacom Seeks Ads in Video Games

By Kenneth Li

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Viacom Inc., which has sold off parts of its video game business, is now taking another look at the potential for advertising in video games, a top executive said on Thursday.

Chief Financial Officer Richard Bressler told advertising executives that Viacom, which owns the CBS television network, MTV music channel and Paramount movie studios, was seeking ways to make money off the $10 billion U.S. video game industry.

"I think the jury is in, people are spending a lot of time in interactive," said Bressler at the Global Digital Summit, sponsored by OgilvyOne, the interactive marketing division of ad agency Ogilvy & Mather. "The interesting thing for us is to figure out if there's a market for advertising in video games."

Indeed, the video game industry has been eager to court advertisers. In April, Activision Inc struck an alliance with Nielsen Entertainment, a division of Dutch media group VNU, to provide advertisers with better information on the effectiveness of advertising in games.

Viacom Chairman Sumner Redstone has been making aggressive personal investments in games publisher Midway Games Inc.. This has fueled speculation Viacom planned to re-enter the industry after the global conglomerate tried to sell off parts of Simon & Schuster Interactive last September, saying it considered it nonessential.

Redstone, the octogenerian Viacom chairman who owns over 70 percent of Midway, purchased the stake directly and through his company National Amusements. The stake is not directly related to Viacom.

In a recent filing, Redstone said he has hired a financial advisor to pursue taking the company private in the event his stake reaches 80 percent.

Redstone's daughter Shari Redstone was elected vice chairman of Midway in June.

Last summer, a mysterious drop in young male viewers of prime time television was attributed in part to video games, leading some larger advertisers wondering how to reach a demographic distracted by other forms of entertainment.


I don't see why this is news, when it's already going on. Granted, it's nowhere near as bad as movies, but advertisements have been popping up in games for years. Frankly, the better idea is for music studios to place songs by their up-and-coming artists in games. Look at the Madden franchise, or THUG. Not only do they feature songs by big names, but also artists who usually break into the big time within one year.

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You know what? I like advertising in video games.

It really added a lot to Crazy Taxi when somebody asked you take them to The Gap, or Burger King, or Pizza Hut, etc.

How cool would it be in a GTA game to see billboards and flyers for actual products? A sports game with the signboards that are actually present in real life?

Hell, there already is a shitload (other than the aforementioned Crazy Taxi). ABCSports and ESPN have a ton of advertising in the Madden and ESPN 2k series.

It would be nice if it reduced to price of games, but let's be realistic. People have already shown a willingness to pay a $49.95 starting price for new games, so that's most likely what it will stay at.

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