IAB PlayFronts: Scuti and Enthusiast Advance In-Game Commerce

By Upfronts/NewFronts Archives
Cover image for  article: IAB PlayFronts: Scuti and Enthusiast Advance In-Game Commerce

A pair of video game-centric organizations making presentations at last week's PlayFronts event in New York demonstrated two things in common. Both vendors discussed in public new tie-in relationships with individual TV series, and both foresee a major role with game hubs operating inside smart TV sets and devices.

The Big Message: Scuti, in the business of incorporating commerce opportunities within video games, such as in-game links to related merchandise for sale, or offering rewards to gamers based on how often they win, wants advertisers to keep these opportunities in mind when exploring their spending on the medium. What Scuti Chief Marketing and Chief Financial Officer Mark Fonzetti labeled "G-Commerce" can be "the most important new retail channel n 30 years," he said during his presentation. In time, interactive commerce TV will co-exist with or in some set-ups have G-Commerce features. "You know this has to be the next big thing," Fonzetti asserted. "This is a massive opportunity to reach an immersive audience."

Fan-based entertainment programmer Enthusiast Gaming, working with content on more than 700-plus YouTube channels, including NFL Tuesday Night Gaming, urged attendees to pay attention to what Samsung and LG are doing now with their respective game hubs, and look for all smart TV products to have them in time. "Cloud, non-console (TV video games) will be the future of gaming and democratize the medium," declared Enthusiast Senior Vice President Matt Goodman.

Hosts: Porgetti co-hosted Scuti's PlayFronts turn with Chief Executive Officer Nicolas Longano, while Goodman handled Enthusiast Gaming's portion.

What Worked: Both presentations gave deep details about their respective undertakings in understandable fashion, accompanied by a good mix of videos and game screens.

What Also Worked: Having executives available throughout the two days of PlayFronts, via discussion tables set up near the main auditorium (and just a few steps away from food served at lunch and networking breaks).

What Didn't Work: In Enthusiast Gaming's case, some perspective and statistics on how well NFL Tuesday Night Gaming did in viewership on YouTube.

Data Points: As a community, video game players have $6.5 billion in spending power, according to Fonzetti. A research study from Scuti claimed that 51 percent of players would shop for game-related goods at game sites if the capability were available. If a rewards program was available as well, the shopping crowd would bump beyond 80 percent.

News: Disney+ and Hulu were among the sponsors of NFL Tuesday Night Gaming, presented during the entire 2022-23 National Football League regular season. In addition, Nickelodeon teamed up with Enthusiast Gaming for several segments on its weekly NFL Slimetime series. For Nick, the relationship dovetailed well with its quest to build "the next generation of NFL fan. Our fans go from 1 to 101," a network official declared in an on-stage testimonial. Scuti's first TV connection will begin in May, when Prime Video launches Game Master, a 13-episode e-sports competition series hosted by Wil Wheaton. Described as "American Idol for the gamer generation," home viewers will be able to buy related merchandise during each episode. In addition, Scuti has conversed with Samsung about launching both commerce and rewards capabilities within its game hub through a play-in device and plans to make the same pitch to Amazon and other smart product makers.

Parting Words:

"It's all about discovery and rewards. Your brand is being associated with a better playing experience. We're gamifying the shopping experience." -- Scuti Chief Executive Officer Nicholas Longano

"We're out to be a missing link. We will work with any ad player." -- Mark Fonzetti, Scuti's Chief Marketing and Chief Financial Officer

"In-game advertising is happening and is ready to scale." -- Itamar Benedy, founder and Chief Executive Officer of Anzu, working with NBCUniversal on a number of in-game advertising and commerce projects over the last year

"Content is on the cusp of engaging in-game advertising. We're ready for maturity." -- Jonathan Meyers, NBCUniversal's Senior Vice President and General Manager, Partnerships, during Anzu's PlayFronts presentation

Read more of our 2023 PlayFronts coverage here.

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