Activision, Nielsen's new service for US advertisers

MUMBAI: Activision has announced that it will team up with Nielsen Entertainment to develop a new initiative. This will allow video game companies in the US to supply advertisers with audience measurement metrics to help them assess the impact of in-game ad exposure.


A company release informs that the new initiative will provide tools for advertisers to effectively measure everything from ad exposure to demographics to audience recall when it comes to video game use.

The two companies also released the results of a research survey Video Game Habits: A Comprehensive Examination of Gamer Demographics and Behavior in US Television Households. The study surveyed nearly 1000 young men and boys between the ages of eight and 34 from a nationally-representative sample of Nielsen TV households about their video game playing and television viewing habits. Survey interviews were conducted from 10-19 February 2004.

The study found that three-quarters of Nielsen TV households with a male between ages eight and 34 own a video game system. TV viewership among male gamers aged 18-34 appears to be slightly less than men aged 18-34 in general. Video gaming does not appear to be affecting TV viewership among the younger male gamers aged eight -17.

In-game ad recall is significant, with over one quarter of active gamers recalling ads from the last game they played. The perceptions of in-game advertising are quite positive, with heavy gamers having the most positive impressions. In-game advertising is persuasive, as one-third of respondents said that in-game ads help them decide which products to buy.

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said, "The video game industry is one of the fastest growing entertainment businesses. Video games will soon be as mainstream an advertising medium as television. Given the tremendous popularity of the medium, we wanted to take a leadership position in generating a standardised method to measure advertising metrics in video games.

"Additionally, the need for a metric to measure in-game advertising is particularly great as we are beginning to see older male gamers 18-34 defect from TV." The study also found that the average male gamer plays video games about five times per week and spends at least half an hour doing so each time he sits down to play. In fact, nearly half the subjects surveyed spend at least an hour each time.

The survey also revealed that older male gamers, aged 18-34, appear to be watching less television compared to 18-34 men in general. This group is already under-represented on television. On the other hand, gamers aged eight -17, appear to be watching as much television as 8-17 year old males in general. While younger and older gamers play games during the week with about equal frequency (5 times per week for younger gamers; 4.5 for older), older gamers appear to be playing video games for longer periods of time, both overall and during key dayparts. This suggests that there may be some movement toward more frequent gaming at the expense of TV among this segment.

Nearly as many males aged eight-34 said that they preferred playing video games (29 per cent) as those that preferred watching TV (33 per cent). This segment also prefers playing sports (48 per cent) and going to the movies (26 per cent) over video games (13 per cent).

The survey also found that 27 per cent of active male gamers noticed advertising in the last video game they played. Heavy (31 per cent) and older (35 per cent) gamers are the most likely to recall advertising. Heavy gamers are particularly enthusiastic about product integration with more than half (52%) liking games to contain real products. 70 per cent feel that real products make a game more genuine.

The California headquartered Activision develops, publishes and distributes interactive entertainment and leisure products. Activision maintains operations in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Australia, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

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