At its first “upfront” event for advertisers in New York on Wednesday, YouTube multi-channel network Machinima touted the buying power and influence of the 13-to-34-year-old males who view, share and create the network’s highly watched video game content. “They’re avid consumers of movies, they’ve probably seen 15 or more over the last 90 days, they’re 50% more likely to go to movies than other young males and watch 15% more TV,” Kevin Doohan, Machinima’s exec VP of marketing, said during the presentation at 404 NYC.
That tendency to over-index also holds true for gamers’ interest in EDM, which led to an ad sales and content partnership with Ultra Records earlier this year that is just now being taken to the marketplace. On the back end, music videos from Ultra acts like Deadmau5, Calvin Harris, Steve Aoki and Kaskade will be monetized through ad sales. But on the front end, there’s potential for programming crossover — whether it’s a 2012 live-stream event featuring Deadmau5 playing “Minecraft” with Machinima users that was streamed over 1 million times to the use of music from Ultra acts like Wolfgang Gartner in original clips.
“We consider ourselves more of a media company than a record label,” says Dan Ghosh-Roy, Ultra’s head of digital strategy, development and operations. “We’ll be thinking about single releases not only through the normal channels like iTunes and Beatport but utilizing our outreach via Machinima and creating more tools to leverage their millions of users. It helps to think more creatively inside our building about not only the EDM fan but about this whole other world of consumers that may be digesting our content in a different manner.”
The partnership is designed to bring scale to advertisers looking to reach EDM and gaming fans alike, pairing the 30 to 50 million viewers who watch Ultra music content with the 210 million global unique viewers who watch content on Machinima and its 2,000 channel partners each month. Machinima ranked No. 6 on Comscore’s top 10 YouTube channels in March 2013, with 24.4 million unique viewers (excluding channel partners), over 438 million videos viewed and 61.2 minutes spent per user – the highest engagement of any channel in the ranking.
“Gaming is a real global phenomenon, and we love everything that has a core that came from somewhere but impacts on a global basis,” says Machinima CEO Allen DeBevoise. “A lot of these EDM artists can come from nowhere and start to get numbers – like gaming, there’s not a huge barrier to entry. YouTube’s a great place for them to drive significant numbers.”
Advertiser and traditional media interest in EDM is swiftly on the rise. Just last week, Vice and Recreation Worldwide debuted THUMP, a new YouTube channel built around dance music culture. Earlier this year, WPP, the world’s largest ad company, became an investor in Robert X. Sillerman’s SFX Entertainment, adding to an investment portfolio that already includes Vice. And next week, Microsoft will include a new Xbox Live app created with EDM content/ad network OneBeat in its Newfront presentation to advertisers in New York. Brands like Heineken, Absolut, Trident and Pepsi have included EDM artist partnerships, synch licenses and events in their recent advertising, with other marketers like Adidas, Armani Exchange, (RED) and PlayStation beginning to embrace the genre.
DeBevoise notes that Machinima’s ad sales team has grown from a one-person operation 18 months ago to a 50-person team today as Machinima’s client base grows beyond the expected video game publishers and movie studios to non-endemic categories like smartphones, auto, fast food and soft drinks. “The movie and gaming business has always been kind of focused on the fanboy males,” he says, “But now that shows like ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘The Big Bang Theory’ are No. 1 in prime-time on cable and broadcast TV, that’s really driving a lot of the new culture. EDM is a great example of that – it’s a phenomenon of young people that’s global and allows people to participate from listening to going to events and actually creating tracks.”