Posts filed under ‘sports’

Why give FIFA 07 away for free in Korea

  James (MindShare regional, Singapore) writes: 

Eric Pfanner at IHT just wrote an excellent, well-researched article Internet pushes the concept of ‘free’ content, supported by advertising.

I recommend you to read the full article, which explores the overall trend towards giving content and other media and services away for free, and the huge burden companies are putting on advertising to provide the long-term business model. We see the same trend in (free) newspapers, music, mobile services and other areas. 

In Asia of course, where piracy is rampant, and consumers are far less willing to pay for content in general, this trend is likely to be accelerated. Here are the two Asian examples from the article:

“FIFA 07,” a video game for soccer fans, costs around €50 in
Europe. In South Korea, five million players have downloaded the online version free — yet Electronic Arts, the publisher, is cheering them on. Realizing that it was impossible to sell “FIFA Online” in a country where piracy is rampant, Electronic Arts started giving away the game last spring. Once the players were hooked, the company offered for sale ways to gain an edge on opponents; extending the career of a star player, for instance, costs less than $1. Since May, Electronic Arts has sold 700,000 of these enhancements.

Even in China, where piracy is widespread, EMI Music agreed this week to make its music available for a free, ad- supported service run by Baidu, the country’s largest search engine.

I’ve also pulled out some other juicy facts/examples from the article:

  • At least 28 million free newspapers are distributed every day around the world, 19 million of them in Europe, where the total has doubled over the past three years.
  • After several years of heavy promotion, digital sales made up only 10 percent of total music industry revenue in 2006
  • AOL, formerly a subscription service, has opened its Internet portals in the United States and Europe to all Internet users, free of charge, in the hope of appealing to more advertisers that way.
  • According to a survey of 130 media executives from around the world, conducted recently by Accenture, 31 percent forecast that subscription models would be the dominant business model in five years’ time, with 25 percent opting for so-called pay-per-play funding. But 37 percent said advertiser financing would be the predominant business model in five years’ time.
  • Worldwide, media spending by consumers and business users still handily outstrips advertising, by $944 billion to $385 billion, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers

January 19, 2007 at 5:36 pm 1 comment

IBM stages Australian Open in Second Life

James (MindShare regional team, Singapore) writes:

I just found this via Andrew (MindShare Melbourne) at his great blog Under the Rotunda  . Above is a rather crude demo video, but the plan is to recreate live matches. It seems quite ambitious. There’s a great write-up at The Age:

 IBM, which provides the IT services and technology backbone for Tennis Australia’s Grand Slam tournament, has built a three dimensional facsimile of the Melbourne Tennis Centre complex inside a virtual world called Second Life.

Over the duration of the two week tournament, data will be fed from games in the real Rod Laver Arena into the unreal one, nano seconds after happens.

The feed will come from game-tracking technologies such as the line-calling system HawkEye, PointTracker which plots shots and ball trajectories and Speed Serve which clocks the players’ serves.

Computers then crunch the numbers to recreate the positioning of the ball inside the virtual stadium. And avatars, 3-D characters representing the players, can simulate strokes made by Roger Federer or Alicia Molik – or whoever is playing at the time.

Interestingly, IBM has made it an exclusive experience:

The bad news is that tickets to the virtual centre court may be harder to come by than ones to the real thing. Mr Kasell says that, at least for the duration of the tournament, IBM is keeping this an invitation-only affair.

January 16, 2007 at 1:17 am 4 comments

In-game advertising fails to engage

gaze plot of a driving game

Mark (MindShare Shanghai) writes: I saw this story about new research into the  (lack of) effectiveness of in-game advertising and product placement. The key highlights of the story are:

  • The survey was conducted by a UK research agency called Bunnyfoot
  • 120 game players participated in the study, all aged 18 or above.
  • Players were assigned to a particular title spread across 8 sports. Titles included Gran Turismo 3, NBA Live and Project Gotham Racing 3.
  • The results demonstrated a significantly poor level of engagement with consumers and exposed an apparent weakness within games to efficiently capture consumer attention.
  • Highest scores were found with NBA Live and Smackdown Vs Raw; however, recall and recognition figures were surprisingly low; a pattern evident across all titles.
  • PGR3 elicited no consumer engagement at all, resulting in 0% on all scores.

It’s interesting to see what appears to be some properly conducted and robust research into the actual effects on gamers of media placement in the games.   That the engagement levels were very low doesn’t really surprise me.  Consider that for years we have been referring to different media environments as a variation on the themes of lean forward/lean back; expansive/reductive; different enjoyment/interest levels.   

It’s fairly safe to assume that most gamers will be highly involved and ‘lean forward’, but at the same time, they are interacting, which means their brain processing is focusing on how to escape the flesh eating alien that’s chasing them, how to get their virtual Ferrari past the virtual Porsche in front or how to tackle Cristiano Ronaldo as he runs towards their goal.  I doubt there is too much brain time or capacity left to actively notice (let alone engage with) periphery product placement.  I’m sure that simple brand and logo exposure must have some effect – one would imagine especially if it copies a real world situation (eg. Nike perimeter boards at the real Old Trafford and in the virtual game), but this article does suggest that in game exposure may not be quite so lucrative as some people (and vendors) claim it to be. From a planning point of view my advice is to try out the medium if you have the opportunity and believe it is right for your brand, the message and the target audience.  However, do a thorough evaluation beforehand to set benchmarks and push to do some evaluation, so you really understand the value of the contribution afterwards.

January 15, 2007 at 9:20 am 1 comment

Chelsea target 120 million Chinese internet users

James (MindShare regional team, Singapore) writes:

As a lifelong Manchester United fan, I really don’t like writing about the arch enemy – Chelsea (hence the choice of photo above after their tragic loss to Liverpool in last year’s Charity Shield).

But this BBC news item really did deserve a mention. Unlike previous club marketing strategies in China, Chelsea have decided to go directly online, with a Mandarin site and tie-up with

Instead of opening their own outlets, Chelsea – which are neck and neck with Manchester United in terms of popularity, according to market research surveys – will focus their efforts on the internet, grassroots support and cooperation with the national football association.

 Their new website partner, Sina, is the most powerful force in the Chinese internet, which has more than 120 million users. Sina will translate material from Chelsea’s English website and add comment from a local perspective in return for a share of revenues from advertising, sponsorship, online sales and membership subscriptions. Within a year, it is expected to turn in a profit.

It sounds like a smart business move. But surely Chinese fans won’t be fooled into supporting the bad guys, right J

January 10, 2007 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment

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